Ever curious to find out what your toothpaste tube contains? You might have failed to notice the warning disclaimer on it. Most of the toothpaste is not recommended for children below 6 years. Also, it mentions that in case of emergency due to excessive ingestion, you need to seek medical attention immediately.

So, what is it that makes your toothpaste harmful? It is primarily due to the presence of Fluoride. Fluoride is recommended for your teeth for its anti-cavity effect. However, the reality is that too much fluoride can lead to a condition named Fluorosis. Read on to understand if you stand to benefit from using a fluoride-free toothpaste.

Fluoride and its Benefits

Fluoride is an inorganic ion of Fluorine. In general, fluoride is well known for its cavity fighting properties and often found in several common toothpaste brands. It is also found in its ionic state in natural freshwater bodies. In India, most of the groundwater, especially in the rural areas tend to have higher amounts of Fluoride.

Why is Fluoride a Culprit Then?

There are two schools of thought when it comes to the role of Fluoride in the dental industry. Many believe that it prevents tooth decay. Firstly, it reduces the potency of bacteria’s acid reaction produced as a result of high sugar food. And, then it clings on to the tooth enamel to make it resistant to acid attacks thereby preventing cavities.

On the other hand, there are several studies that state just the opposite. They claim that Fluoride causes more trouble. Too much of anything is good for nothing and the same applies to Fluoride.


Here are some harmful effects of excessive fluoride intake:

  • Enamel softening making it prone to hypersensitivity
  • Discolored, scarred and brittle teeth
  • Causes toxicity, especially in children
  • Prolonged use affects the brain, skeletal and endocrine system
  • Leads to lower IQ levels and hampers the neurological development in children

In addition to the presence of fluoride in toothpaste, it is also abundantly available in groundwater in certain areas. In a lot of countries, there is also an attempt to fortify water with fluoride to improve oral hygiene.

But little do we know of its effectiveness. More than ingesting it in large quantities, probably a topical application can be of some use if any.

Fluoride in Toothpaste

A debate still remains as to how much fluoride is too much for it to uncover its disastrous effects. Some studies suggest 0.7 mg/L as the ideal concentration to be optimal for oral hygiene. But, do we really know how much concentration of fluoride is in your tap water or in your toothpaste?

Several commercial toothpastes today contain sodium fluoride if you look into the ingredients of your toothpaste tube. Even though fluoride may relate to dental improvement, it is the mineral calcium that gives teeth a boost. When combined with sodium, and applied topically, fluoride seldom delivers its value. The mineral calcium, when supplied in a source from natural food, is the most beneficial.

Other harmful substances in your toothpaste

In addition, all these toothpastes contain other chemicals like artificial colors that come from questionable sources. They also contain Sodium Laureth Sulphate that gives the toothpaste a foamy boost. The harms of sodium laureth sulfate or SLS as a toxic ingredient is a claim by the FDA. Another potential toxic ingredient to watch out for is Triclosan, an antibiotic.

Even if toothpaste is used topically and not ingested, it does enter your mouth every day. Therefore it’s recommended to read the ingredients of your toothpaste to understand the concentration of fluoride content and other toxins.

Healthy Solutions

A fluoride-free toothpaste lacks the toxin fluoride, but an absence of fluoride is not enough. Other Harmful ingredients could still be there. Don’t fall prey if there is a ‘natural’ or ‘organic’ term prefixed to your toothpaste.

Under the garb of fluoride-free toothpaste, most of them will impose a daily dose of harmful ingredients. Therefore, read the ingredients to be aware if your toothpaste is really natural and contains safe ingredients.

You can also try Ayurvedic oral hygiene practices like oil pulling. Apart from its detoxifying effect, it is also good for overall dental hygiene.