This is a little story about my affairs with fluoride-free toothpaste – while it seemed like a great idea, there were a few caveats that I’ve learnt over the last year or so, and you may want to contemplate them too before switching over…
Switching to an ‘au naturel’ lifestyle may seem a little daunting at first, but once you get into finding alternatives in the realms of beauty, food, and fashion, routines usually fall into place. Researching products before purchase has become a key part of being a conscious consumer, but I unfortunately did fall into a few traps when trying to switch to a fluoride-free toothpaste.
You may firstly be wondering why fluoride is something to be moving away from. According to the British Dental Foundation, fluoride is a mineral that can be found in drinking water and foods, as well as toothpaste. In regards to dental health, fluoride can greatly help by strengthening tooth enamel as well as reducing the amount of acid produced by bacteria.
When sitting down to do research on the subject, I actually found it hard to find an unbiased factual account of fluoride’s general affects on the human body, other than the protection of teeth, or a number of claims that it affects the pineal gland in the brain and can lead to strange developments in the body. While I do not endorse either opinion on here, my main goal in life is to strike a happy balance between natural products and my health and wellbeing – and chemical-bound toothpaste just doesn’t quite cut it for me.
However, after now brushing without fluoridated toothpaste for a good while, I can say a few things – firstly, a lot of fluoride-free brands are not vegetarian or vegan. My first tube of Aloe Dent Toothpaste actually contained shellfish, something I was shocked to find out when nearing the end of the tube. Considering a lot of the conscious consumer market do reduce the amount of meat in their diet (whether it be for sustainability, cruelty, or health), it does seem a little nonsensical to keep this ingredient in the formula. Thankfully, Aloe Dent’s Whitening Fluoride-Free Toothpaste doesn’t contain shellfish, which is something I have now switched to, but it wasn’t a nice experience to start with.
Second, is the plain fact that no matter how you change your toothpaste, you will still be exposed to fluoride in one way or another. Here in the UK, it is artificially added to drinking water in the name of dental health. It’s a strange practice, as this is not a worldwide phenomenon – in fact, many European countries do not artificially fluoridate their water supplies, and show no real difference in terms of their population’s dental health. On top of this, many foods and drinks also have it added, meaning you will never truly eradicate it from your diet.
Third is the pure and simple fact that sometimes, fluoridated toothpaste can actually be a medicine. Before switching to fluoride-free toothpaste, my dentist actually prescribed me a higher dosage of fluoridated toothpaste from my usual shop-bought paste to help prevent cavities from increasing in size between my teeth. I’m all for a natural lifestyle, but to ignore the personalised advice of a medical professional seems pretty darn risky, and I in no way endorse it. Please make sure you talk to your dentist about the subject or at least find out whether your teeth can cope without fluoridated toothpaste.
Now, if you’ve come out of the other end of all my recommendations still wanting to hop on the fluoride-free train, you may want to take your time considering the alternatives available. I would strongly suggest starting off by changing to a mint-flavoured paste without fluoride, so you can ease into the more alternative methods – from Lush’s chalky toothy tabs, to propolis or fennel flavoured pastes, right down to pure bicarbonate of soda, there’s a lot out there, but they do seem to require a minty-fresh sacrifice on your part!