Nearly all adults in America and other developed countries learn about oral hygiene from a young age. The how’s and why’s of tooth brushing, as well as flossing, is ingrained into most children by their parents or guardians. Citizens grow up understanding the importance not only of brushing one’s teeth but also of using fluoride toothpaste.
Coloradowaterfluoridation.org notes that although fluoride is present in nearly all food and beverages, the amount isn’t enough to prevent tooth decay. Fluoride is used in toothpaste and added to drinking water to compensate.
The Rise of Fluoride-free Toothpaste
The trend of “natural” and fluoride-free toothpaste goes against what is thought in the U.S. It stems partly from the belief that fluoride may present serious health risks, especially for children. Some advocates against fluoride point out that younger children who use fluoride toothpaste are likely to swallow the large amounts of paste. This, they claim, increases their risks for dental fluorosis.
Moreover, the Internet makes it easier for the public to get a hold of unverified information about fluoride-free toothpaste. Some consumers may even mistakenly believe that regular brushing using fluoride-free toothpaste still reduces the risk of cavities.
Experts Weigh in on the Fluoride-Free Trend
The fluoride-free toothpaste trend concerns the majority of dental health professionals and experts, particularly as consumers ignore the significant body of scientific evidence supporting the benefits of toothpaste with fluoride.
They note that while fluoride-free alternatives can give a fresh feeling, this kind of toothpaste doesn’t provide the same level of protection against cavities and other oral health problems.
Back to Tooth Brushing Basics
Fluoride has long been proven effective against tooth decay. A recent study in the journal Gerodontology offers more concrete evidence in favor of fluoride toothpaste; it concluded that fluoride-free toothpaste fails to reduce dental caries.
Fluoride doesn’t only prevent cavities. It also helps reduce tooth sensitivity, lessens tartar build-up or gingivitis, and whitens teeth. The American Dental Association only recommends and awards its Seal of Acceptance to fluoride toothpaste.
Consulting your local dental health professional about dental trends is the best way to educate yourself on the ins and outs of a fad. Simply relying on unconfirmed online reports or reviews and following the latest trends may come at the expense of your oral health.