Experts Question Benefits of Fluoride-free Toothpaste

Dental health experts worry that more people are using toothpaste that skips the most important ingredient – fluoride – and leaves them at a greater risk of cavities.

“It’s really important to debunk this idea that brushing your teeth stops decay. You need to have the fluoride,” said Damien Walmsley, a scientific adviser to the British Dental Association and dentistry professor at the University of Birmingham.

That view was underscored this week by an article in the dental journal Gerodontology that reviewed the scientific literature on cavities. Its primary conclusion is that, without fluoride, oral hygiene efforts have “no impact” on cavity rates.

Jeff Davis, the CEO of Sheffield Pharmaceuticals that sells toothpaste with and without fluoride, said it’s “pretty established” that fluoride is what helps reduce cavities. But he said some people worry about the harmful effect of too much fluoride and so choose fluoride-free toothpaste.

Even without fluoride, dentists say there’s some value in brushing. Philippe Hujoel, the dentist and University of Washington professor who led the dental review, said oral hygiene without fluoride might produce real cavity-fighting effects too small to detect in a study, or adults might conceivably benefit where the children in the studies did not.

Read more at Nexstar Broadcasting