When it comes to your oral health, the toothpaste that you use matters. Toothpaste can help prevent cavities, whiten your teeth, improve your gum health, and more. With the rise of natural toothpastes, it’s natural for people to wonder how they compare to traditional toothpaste in regards to their oral health. Whether or not natural toothpastes are effective comes down to whether or not they have fluoride in them.
Fluoride has proven benefits for cavity prevention and is an essential part of your oral health. However, many natural toothpastes do not have fluoride. This impacts their efficacy in preventing cavities. Here is what you need to know about fluoride and natural toothpastes.
What Makes Toothpastes Effective At Preventing Cavities?
For the most effective toothpastes, you will want to look for the American Dental Association (ADA) Seal of Acceptance. In order for a toothpaste to earn this seal, it must have fluoride and be approved by the ADA Council on Scientific Affairs as meeting specific requirements for safety and efficacy.
This is because fluoride works to strengthen your enamel. Fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral found in water sources that is often referred to as nature’s cavity fighter. It helps to rebuild your tooth enamel and to prevent the tooth decay that can result in cavities. Fluoride also helps to prevent dental plaque, which leads to cavities and gum disease.
Can Fluoride-Free Natural Toothpastes Be Effective?
In general, dentists discourage the use of fluoride-free toothpastes. This is because of how much fluoride can help improve your oral health. It’s important to note that just because something is natural does not mean it is effective. Brushing your teeth with a natural toothpaste that does not contain fluoride won’t do much to prevent cavities because it lacks the cavity-fighting mineral.
Natural toothpastes can be effective for:
- Freshening your breath.
- Physically cleaning your teeth, even if they cannot strengthen them against cavities.
- Whitening your teeth.
- Targeting the bacteria in your mouth.
However, one of the main ways to prevent cavities is by using fluoride. You can brush your teeth twice a day, floss once a day, and go to your regular dental cleanings, taking all-around stellar care of your teeth, but if you do not use a toothpaste with fluoride in it, you’ll be more likely to suffer from tooth decay.
What About Natural Toothpastes With Fluoride?
If you’re someone looking into toothpastes with natural ingredients, you’re likely trying to avoid artificial chemicals and ingredients. You’ll be pleased to learn, then, that natural toothpastes can indeed be effective and approved by the ADA so long as they have fluoride in them. As fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral, it is not something that you should be worried about avoiding.
Some people worry about reports that fluoride can cause all sorts of different health concerns, such as nausea, diarrhea, and bone issues. These issues only occur with very high doses of fluoride that are far, far higher than you would accidentally ingest from toothpaste.
To put this in perspective, a toxic dose of fluoride is 32-64 mg per kg of your body weight. Toothpastes generally only have 0.75-1 mg of fluoride per strip that covers your brush, and you accidentally swallow a very small percentage of that.
What If You Need A Fluoride-Free Toothpaste?
Depending on your specific concerns, you may need a fluoride-free toothpaste, such as if you have a fluoride allergy. If this is the case, it’s best to consult with your dentist about your options. There is a difference between fluoride that is ingested and fluoride that is applied topically for your dental health. Your dentist will work with you to determine how best to help you avoid cavities.
Small children are at risk of fluorosis when they have too much fluoride. As such, parents and caregivers may believe that children need fluoride-free toothpastes. However, it is recommended that you use fluoride toothpaste with your children, but to use the recommended amount in order to keep them and their teeth safe. A smear will do until the age of 3, and then you can use a pea-sized amount.
Always ensure that you keep fluoride toothpastes out of reach of small children and that you educate them and supervise them so that they know how to use it safely. Your dentist is always happy to help if ever you have any concerns.
Should You Use Natural Toothpastes?
This depends on whether or not it has fluoride. If your natural toothpaste is fluoride-free, you’re putting your oral health at risk. However, natural toothpaste can be effective so long as it carries the ADA Seal of Acceptance.
Avenues Dentistry is here to help you care for your teeth. Contact us today to schedule your dental cleaning. If you have any questions about fluoride and your teeth, we’re more than happy to help.