Most toothpastes available in the market today promote fluoride that is supposed to prevent tooth decay. Sadly, majority of consumers fall for it. Fluoride is an industrial waste chemical that has been deceivingly and incorrectly called "fluoride". It is inorganic, very toxic, and more poisonous than lead. Even the U.S. FDA has now regarded fluoride in toothpaste as a potential toxic drug. One of the most common symptoms of excess fluoride is “dental fluorosis”. You will see chalky white patches on the teeth making your teeth “spotty”. Enamels can also become more porous with constant use of fluoridated toothpaste. Advanced cases will even show discoloration of the teeth or in severe
cases, pitting of the enamel. Swallowing half a tube of toothpaste can even kill a child !! The absorption of Fluoride is cancerous and will lead to increased hip fractures, osteoporosis, arthritis and even brain damage. Another harmful ingredient in toothpaste is sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) which is just a foam-building substance which is unnecessary. It is an industrial degreaser that may even be cancer-causing.
Hoax or Fact:
Mixture of hoax and facts.
The message claims that most toothpastes available today contain Fluoride which is supposed to prevent tooth decay, but is a dangerous chemical that can lead to several health issues in children and adults as well. The story is a mixture of hoax and facts however.
Fluoride is a chemical ion of the element fluorine and is found naturally in water, foods, soil, and several minerals like fluorite and fluorapatite. It can also be synthesized in laboratories where it may be added to drinking water or can also be used in a variety of chemical products like toothpastes. It is also available in other food items like meat, fish, eggs, and tea leaves, and when they are consumed, the fluoride enters our bloodstream and is eventually absorbed by our teeth and bones. Fluoride, in limited quantities, is important for eroded tooth enamel and damaged teeth as it helps in remineralization. It strengthens your teeth and prevents cavities. Adults need fluoride to protect their teeth against tooth decay, and children need fluoride to protect their permanent teeth as they are forming. There are scientific evidences to prove the same. Therefore, fluoride is considered to be safe and effective when used in proper amounts, but it is also a fact that excess intake of fluoride over extended period of time can have damaging effects.
Dental fluorosis is a discoloration of tooth enamel that can occur if a person is exposed to too much fluoride. Extended exposure to high fluoride levels can also lead to bone weakening, gastric problems, allergic reactions and skeletal fluorosis, symptoms being joint stiffness and pain. Even death can result if someone consumes too much fluoride, like when small children consume an entire tube of tooth paste. Symptoms of such incidents will include nausea, vomiting blood, diarrhea, stomach pain, salivation, watery eyes, general weakness, shallow breathing, tiredness, faintness and convulsions. The toxicity arises when fluoride anion combines with with the calcium ions in our blood to form insoluble calcium fluoride, resulting in hypocalcemia; since calcium is indispensable for the function of the nervous system, this condition can in fact be fatal.
It is a fact that few toothpastes in the past have been using fluoride in excess amounts, but most of the standard ones today only use permissible amounts of fluoride, which is not more than 1000ppm, for general usage. The U.S. FDA did not regard fluoride in toothpaste as a potential toxic drug as such, but has in fact imposed companies to lay down the warnings of possible dangers on toothpastes. The Colgate-Palmolive toothpaste, which is popularly claimed of this danger, of course manufactures fluoridated toothpaste, but only contains 1000ppm of fluoride, and also mentions safety instructions clearly on their package.
- Children under 6 years of age should have adult supervision and use only a pea sized amount.
- Do not swallow.
Colgate has also mentioned complete information about fluoride effect on teeth in their website. The controversy over using fluoride toothpaste actually rises from the available fluoride content in drinking water, claiming that the additional intake of fluoride from toothpaste is not required and can be damaging as well. It is a fact that communities add fluoride to drinking water, and it is also a fact that excess fluoride water has health risks like bone cancer, bone fractures, thyroid disorder, brain inflammation, sterility or reduced fertility, lowered IQ and mental functions and others. The standard for fluoride is 0.7 to 1.2 milligrams per liter of drinking water, so it is important to check with your community or municipal corporation that supplies you drinking water and confirm the safety standards.
Coming to sodium lauryl sulfate or SLS, yes, it is used in toothpastes, because it helps in thickening and makes it easier to spread the toothpaste across the teeth. But contrary to popular belief, there is no scientific evidence to prove that sodium lauryl sulfate, SLS causes cancer, but for occasional possible side effects like skin irritation. SLS is also a common ingredient in wide variety of cosmetics, detergents and other personal care products.
The conclusion is that toothpastes should be kept out of reach of children as they can easily swallow it, and make sure not to give them more than pea sized serving at a time. In case of adults, it is recommended to follow the advise of professional dentists and check for properly labeled toothpastes with safe levels of fluoride content. If you are in fluoride affected areas, and worried about its content, then you can use fluoride free toothpastes available in the market; like the ones listed here. A healthy alternative to these regular toothpastes is using Ayurvedic ones that are not only fluoride free, but also have various health benefits. Dabur Red and Vicco Vajradanti are couple of fluoride free Ayurvedic toothpastes.