For some time now, the Internet has been spreading the claim that toothpastes containing fluoride are harmful. Opponents of fluoride warn that fluorides are especially toxic for children. Fluoride is a rat poison and pesticide. That is why toothpastes that do not contain fluoride are advertised strongly again and again.
Misunderstanding fuels fear
In fact, the fear of fluoride-containing toothpaste is based on a misunderstanding, as toxicologists say: many people confuse fluoride with fluorine. Fluorine is a very aggressive, poisonous gas, which is only liquid at minus 180 degrees, it eats through all materials. But fluorine gas is different from fluoride. Fluoride is the negatively charged ion, which together with sodium produces a relatively harmless salt. According to dentists, fluoride is safe in the form and dosage used to fight caries. A person weighing 60 kilograms would have to eat 20 tubes of toothpaste a day to reach an alarming threshold. If you use toothpaste properly and brush your teeth two or three times a day, there will be no negative effects.
Fluoride is the key to success in caries prevention
According to the experts, hardly any substance is as well studied as the fluoride in toothpaste. Just a few years ago, the renowned Cochrane Collaboration evaluated 71 high-quality clinical studies in a meta-analysis. With clear results: Fluorides strengthen the enamel and lead to a long-term reduction in caries and caries defects. Dentists see fluoride as the key to success in the prevention of tooth decay, as tooth decay has been declining worldwide since it became widely available in the form of toothpastes.
How fluoride works in toothpaste
Teeth consist of enamel as well as dentin and tooth cement. Enamel is the hardest substance in the human body. It consists mainly of calcium and phosphate. The teeth are surrounded by a biofilm (plaque). It contains numerous microorganisms. These bacteria, especially so-called lactobacilli and streptococci species, break down carbohydrates from food into acids. These acids damage the tooth because they remove calcium and phosphate from the enamel and soften it. Fluoride counteracts this. It improves the remineralization of teeth by helping to restore minerals to the dental grid. It hardens teeth and makes them more resistant to acids. The enamel gets an intact surface again. Fluoride also inhibits the growth of bacteria.
Hydroxyapatite instead of fluoride?
Karex, a new toothpaste, advertises that it also protects against caries – with hydroxyapatite instead of fluoride. Dentists doubt that this works. There are no studies that show that tooth decay is noticeably reduced when alternative active ingredients are used in toothpastes.
There is no evidence to support the following conspiracy theories, which currently revolve around fluoride in toothpaste and its effect on tooth decay:
- Industry or large groups would have conspired to keep consumers stupid.
- The pharmaceutical industry wants to keep consumers ill so that they can continue to sell their products.
- The metal industry has found a cheap way to dump its waste products, which are fluorides.
Consumer protectors can provide scientific studies against these allegations – and, conversely, demand evidence for their statements from the fluoride opponents. Moreover, fluorides are not waste products of the metal industry. The consumer protectors have found that strict fluoride opponents are sectarian. However, many fluoride doubters can be explained why certain comparisons and panic-mongering are not appropriate.
Dental hygiene and low sugar content decisive for caries prophylaxis
In addition to thorough dental hygiene with fluoride-containing toothpaste and regular check-ups at the dentist’s, limiting sugar absorption is the best way to prevent tooth decay. Dentists do not recommend fluoride tablets, as they are more effective in the body than on the teeth.
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