How did a hazardous by-product of the fertilizer industry turn into a so-called health benefit?
It’s been called “the scam of the century” by Natural News and that might not be an exaggeration.
During the manufacturing of phosphate fertilizer, the fluosilicic acid must be removed and disposed of. It’s illegal to dump it in rivers, lakes, or the ocean. Not even a landfill is allowed. Storing it requires a specialized hazardous waste site. Of course, those cost a lot and come with countless regulations that must be adhered to.
But there’s a loophole in the law.
If the fluosilicic acid was sold as a “product” then after the transaction, it no longer falls under the EPA hazardous waste regulations. Because the buyer is now using this “product.”
Guess who that buyer is?
Municipal water districts.
With yours probably being one of them, at least if you live in the United States.
Elsewhere in the world, water fluoridation is a different story.
Even in comparable economies like Germany, you won’t find it fluoridated. In the United Kingdom it’s not either, except for fewer than 10% of the population who apparently got bamboozled into using it. For Japan, it’s less than 1%. In China and Israel, it’s banned. (1)
Why did China ban fluoride in water? They tried it for nearly two decades, but abruptly stopped adding it in 1983. The reason was because it increased dental fluorosis by a staggering 550%, while only a trivial decrease in cavities was observed. Suspected skeletal problems were another reason cited. (2)
You can read about the history of this scam in The Case Against Fluoride: How Hazardous Waste Ended Up In Our Drinking Water.
While there is evidence to suggest that fluoride may offer some benefit for teeth when used topically, such as in the form of a toothpaste, the effects of ingestion may outweigh the good.
And yes, when you brush your teeth, you inevitably consume small amounts. You may also absorb some through your gums and sublingually (under your tongue).
Researchers at Harvard University conducted a meta-analysis of 27 different epidemiological studies on fluoride levels in water and neurobehavioral development.
Basically, you can think of a meta-analysis as a pooling of results from different studies.
That’s what makes them so intriguing, because it’s not just cherry picking a single study. You’re looking at lots. In this case, 27 of them.
“…children in high-fluoride areas had significantly lower IQ scores than those who lived in low-fluoride areas.”
The weighted mean difference was 0.45, which approximately equals an IQ score that was 7 points lower on average! (3)
A side effect of stupidity from drinking fluoridated water? That might just be the tip of the iceberg…
In areas where the mineral in water is over 2 ppm (parts per million) there is over a 20% rate of of fluorosis, which may result in joint pain, back pain, and tingling of the nerves in the arms, legs, hands, feet, and fingers.
Worse yet, even though fluoride might increase bone mass, it is believed to decrease bone strength at the same time. So your bones may become more brittle, increasing the risk of fracture. (4)
Circling back to the alleged dental benefits, there is plenty of research to support the opposite – that it harms your teeth.
In the United States, where water has been fluoridated at an average of just 1 ppm, 40.6% of children ages 12 to 15 have dental fluorosis. That’s a stat directly from the government! It’s listed in the CDC’s report titled Prevalence and Severity of Dental Fluorosis in the United States. (5)
The side effects of too much fluoride range from opaque white patches on the enamel when mild, to yellow and brown pitted enamel when severe. In moderate to severe cases of fluorosis, these effects cause permanent damage to the teeth. Babies and children are particularly susceptible.
Ironically though, even though these affected teeth are degraded in other ways, they are more resistant to dental caries – cavities caused by bacteria.
That makes sense when you think about it, as the fluoride levels on the teeth are too toxic to even harbor the growth of bacteria! Imagine what that means for your safety.
Do you have to use fluoride toothpaste?
No. While the American Dental Association (ADA) and most governments continue to recommend it as the only version for cavity prevention, there is no mandate that toothpaste has to be manufactured with fluoride or that you must use it. Bestselling brands like Crest, Colgate, Sensodyne, and Aquawash all contain it, but there are alternative brands without this mineral.
Speaking of which, understand that fluoride is not an essential mineral to humans or animals. It serves no other purpose in the body. Despite this fact, finding products without it can be a challenge.
Is Tom’s toothpaste fluoride free?
Only some varieties don’t have it. This “natural” hygiene company was purchased by Colgate-Palmolive over a decade ago. Today the Tom’s of Maine website list 24 types and out of them, only 10 are fluoride free toothpastes. The problem is that most of their easiest to find varieties – like Whole Care and Simply White – contain this controversial mineral.
Even though Tom’s of Maine is sold almost everywhere – ranging from Walmart to Whole Foods and chain pharmacies like CVS and Walgreens – the situation you will discover is that not all locations carry the fluoride-free Antiplaque & Whitening flavor.
There are other ingredients you might want to avoid, too. If you want toothpaste without fluoride and sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS), then the list from Tom’s of Maine gets even smaller. Although many consumers are outraged about SLS usage, what may be even more concerning is the white coloring which used in almost every paste on the market, which is titanium dioxide. Even many natural toothpastes contain it.
Titanium dioxide doesn’t actually whiten your teeth, but rather it just makes the paste look bright and pretty when you squeeze it out of the tube. So there’s no health benefit it offers you and research suggests there may be hidden dangers from it. Is titanium dioxide safe? That’s another can of worms. Let’s just say that here at Superfoodly, we have chosen to avoid it.
Is fluoride free safe to use?
Very few dentists will recommend forgoing this mineral, but ultimately it’s the consumer’s choice. Contrary to what “experts” allege, it is safe to use fluoride free toothpaste. Might it increase rates of cavities? Possibly, but that’s also debatable. Many would argue too much fluorosis of the enamel is a greater risk, not to mention the other health concerns.
While this is by no means a scientific observation, it’s interesting to note that the one here at Superfoodly who has gone without fluoride products the longest – over 10 years – has had no new cavities during that time. Yet prior to that period, when brushing with Colgate Total, there were a couple cavities that got discovered during routine cleanings which had to be drilled and filled.
Best toothpaste brands without fluoride
Fortunately more options have come in the market in recent years as consumer demand increases for natural products. What follows are three excellent choices, each with varying price points and availability.
1. Tom’s of Maine Antiplaque and Whitening
After our complaints about them, why are we recommending this product?
Because this is the most widely available option, at least when it comes to the selection at brick and mortar stores. Plus, just because this company was bought by Colgate, that doesn’t mean they’re “bad” or that their products are garbage.
Obviously we’re not fans of every Tom’s toothpaste, but they do make plenty of good products with this being one of them.
The drawback of this Antiplaque & Whitening variety is that it contains sodium laurel sulfate. However on the flip side, it’s whitened with zinc oxide (zinc is an essential mineral) instead of the titanium dioxide which they use in almost all of their other varieties.
Tom’s of Maine does have an option without SLS and no fluoride, but the catch is that contains titanium dioxide (Botanically Bright).
In short, none are perfect, but this is one you have a chance of finding at Walmart and other major retailers. That’s why we are listing it first, because it’s the best paste that is readily available nationwide. In addition to major retailers, you can buy it on Amazon.
We have no complaints about their fluoride free mouthwash, other than perhaps they’re not huge bottles. For that reason we order the 6-pack to save money.
The paste has a good flavor that tastes like sweet peppermint. That comes from its use of peppermint oil and xylitol, a naturally derived sugar alcohol which has almost no glycemic impact and has actually been found to inhibit plaque production by disrupting the cell cycles of mutans streptococci bacteria in the the mouth. (6)
Though our favorites are actually reviewed next…
2. Auromere Foam Free Mint
We came across the brand at a natural products expo in Orange County, CA and therefore, had a chance to grill the company on how they make their products and source the ingredients. We were satisfied with all the answers.
They make a few different flavors, but we like their foam-free the best. It’s a sulfate-free toothpaste that’s vegan, non-GMO, and made using 23 different Ayurvedic herbal extracts. Although not organic, their products do contain some organic ingredients like neem.
The cleaning action comes from natural fine chalk and peelu, which is a fibrous plant that’s been called the “toothbrush tree” because in India and other parts of the world they have been “brushing” with ground peelu fibers long before the plastic toothbrush came into existence.
Although many of the 23 herbs influence the flavor, the taste primarily comes from essential oils of peppermint, spearmint, and cinnamon bark.
Other health benefits to consider are the high antioxidant values for many of these, such as clove, Indian licorice root, and pomegranate rind.
We haven’t seen for sale at major retailers, but you can get Auromere on Amazon.
3. Himalaya Whitening Toothpaste
Based in India, what’s really special about this company is that they control the supply chain, from the farming to the manufacturing and everything in-between. A certified organic fluoride free toothpaste is practically impossible to come by for an Ayurvedic product, given the wide range of niche herbs used. As such, their pastes are not ones that are organic. Though considering their complete control over everything, that should not concern you.
This is the best fluoride free toothpaste for whitening, as there are very few on the market. Unlike Tom’s of Maine’s Botanically Bright, Himalaya is free of sodium lauryl sulfate and there’s no carrageenan.
Being that it’s gluten free and vegan, everyone can use it. Other benefits include:
Fights bad breath – Thymol (from thyme essential oil) and menthol (from peppermint leaves) are two ingredients which have been found to have natural antibiotic like effects for species of bacteria that grow in the mouth and can cause bad breathe.
Anti-inflammatory – It contains bromelain, which is an enzyme found in pineapple that’s known for reducing inflammation. This might help with red and inflamed gums.
Potent antioxidants – Amla is the highest antioxidant berry and you will find it inside this paste. In addition, you will find bibhitaki (Terminalia bellirica) and haritaki (Terminalia chebula). Together, these 3 ingredients make up the ancient Ayurvedic recipe of triphala powder, which has an astonishingly high ORAC value of 706,250. That’s over 150x higher than what fresh blueberries measure at on an equal weight basis!
The label says this toothpaste is for adults and kids. However for babies and kids under the age of 2, it says “consult your dentist” before using. For children under 6 years of age, it says to only use a pea-sized amount with adult supervision.
Once again, Amazon is a place to find it. Try their Simply Mint for whitening or if you want a mint-free toothpaste, then their Simply Cinnamon is an option but it’s not labeled as being whitening.
These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.