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Monday, September 13, 2010

On the fence: toothpaste

Image via FranIlloa
This week I'm going to talk about things I'm on the fence about. I would love to hear your comments and suggestions. If you don't feel comfortable leaving a comment, feel free to email me privately at shannon at workingmomgoesgreen dot com.

I have recently spent too much time in the toothpaste aisle and I'm torn. You see, I made the switch to a natural toothpaste but everything I was finding contained sodium lauryl sulfate (it makes your beauty products foam) and carrageenan, both suspected carcinogens. Basically the difference was one toothpaste was fluoride-free and the other contained fluoride. I went with fluoride-free since we're trying to make better choices but really, is this a better choice?

I have read the effects of fluoride and this is where I'm on the fence ... is it really that bad? Yes, in large doses but I'm not ingesting it by the truckload and I have a real life fluoride/non-fluoride story in my own house.

I grew up in an area where fluoride was in our tap water. My husband didn't. My teeth are wonderful and I've hardly had any problems. My husband, on the other hand, has horrible teeth. Even our dentist pointed out when examining my teeth that he could tell that they were strong because of the tap water versus my husband's teeth.

All in all, the reality of it is the old toothpaste vs. the new toothpaste only have a one point difference in the Skin Deep EWG database. And the both toothpastes are manufactured by the same company. Can you see why I'm on the fence about this?

I would love to hear your opinions on this. Please feel free to share.


  1. I have also been on the fence about fluoride. We use fluoride toothpaste (probably by the brand you are referring to) regularly, but I have been known to "switch off" once in a while. In general I support the use of fluoride, and hey, there's always something that's going to kill us, right? Is it "greener" to not use fluoride? Not sure.

  2. In the end you have to make your own decision, but I can recommend the minty flavors of Tom's of Maine. I believe they're available in fluoride and not fluoride. Sorry about hubby's teeth. How about your adorable boy? Does he own a toothbrush yet?

  3. My son hates brushing prob cuz his teeth are still coming in. I try but most time, brushing ends in tears

  4. Science supports fluoride. I don't think you'll find a dentist out there that would recommend fluoride-free toothpaste.

    Talk to your health professionals: ask your pediatrician, ask your dentist, but don't ask Google. This is one of those issues where there's way too much misinformation out there.

  5. As the child of a dentist - I whole heartedly support flouride! I did pick up a Burt's Bees toothpaste that doesn't have SLS to use occassionally - when I've chomped by lip or cheek the SLS wrecks havoc on my mouth.

  6. I would go with the floride. As you said, you are not eating it. I had great teeth until a few years ago when I was taking a medication that gave me dry mouth and my protective saliva wasn't there and now I have cavity issues that will haunt me the rest of my life. Pain and expense. Go with what you know will protect you.

  7. I put flouride in the same place I put vaccines. People tend to get super emotional about it, and want to force on you their mostly uneducated opinions. If I listened to everything doctors and pediatricians said, I would have taken that epidural and stopped breastfeeding after 6 months. Instead, I did my own research and made my own decision.

    The thing about flouride in tap water~ it's not even that helpful, and it's down right harmful. Basically, it's just a way for powerful and wealthy industries to dispose of their toxic waste; created by lobbyists and spun in a way that the public would 'buy' it. Here is a quote from the flouride action network:

    "The main fluoride chemical added to water (hydrofluorosilicic acid) is an industrial by-product from the phosphate fertilizer industry. Unlike the fluoride used in toothpaste, hydrofluorosilicic acid is not pharmaceutical-grade quality. It is an unpurified, industrial-grade, corrosive acid which has been linked, in several recent studies, to increased levels of lead in children’s blood."

    Your husbands teeth could be bad for a number of reasons, to blame it just on lack of water supply flouridation is crazy. Genetics, anyone?

    I am not disputing that flouride could prevent cavaties. But in the book Natural Parenting, it talks about the lack of cavaties found in ancient child remains. They attribute this to exteneded breastfeeding and natural nutrition.

    Maybe if we kept that sucker out of our kids mouth, cooked from scratch instead of hitting that nasty drive through, and opted for water instead of iced tea~ we would see a huge decline in the incidence of cavaties.

    My humble opinion, don't believe everything you read on google, and don't believe everything your doctor, dentist and pediatrician tell you. Make your own decision.



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