Is flouride in toothpaste necessary or nonsense?

Is fluoride in your toothpaste bad for you or not? Proponents of fluoride toothpaste indicate that if you don't brush with fluoride you will get cavities. Opponents that this is not necessarily the case. And that fluoride is toxic. Something you would rather not get in your body. Now what is truth?

Cavities through ecological toothpaste?

Journalist Jasper van den Bovenkamp is angry with the ecological toothpaste industry can be read in an article in the NRC. [1] His five-year-old daughter turned out to have eight cavities in her baby teeth. According to the dentist, the culprit was the fact that she brushed with a toothpaste without fluoride. "Then such teeth deteriorate quickly. The enamel, the protective layer of the teeth, does not reach full strength and therefore cavities can multiply and deepen unhindered. '

In the same article, this dentist's opinion is again nuanced by dentist Karlijn Schoenmaekers: 'It is not said that a fluoride-free toothpaste immediately leads to an extreme number of cavities. Fluoride is definitely one of the basic ingredients of good oral care, but more is needed. Brush twice a day (two minutes), eat something a maximum of seven times a day and visit the dentist every six months. In principle, no holes are required.

Often people don't brush long enough, not in every corner and once instead of twice a day. Every time you eat something (except water, cucumber or tomato, among other things), your teeth are subjected to an acid attack on the enamel layer'. Sugars from food ferment, forming acids. That acid attack lasts about 30 minutes until after you eat something. Indicates Dagmar Else Slot, professor of prevention in oral care at the VUA.[3] You should not actually brush your teeth during that period, because you will affect your enamel layer. - brushing can just work into cavities -. After 30 minutes, the saliva in your mouth has been able to strengthen your enamel again. Schoenmaekers: 'Fluoride ensures that your enamel is hardened, so that you have less chance of cavities.'

A study by the University of Saarland doubts the latter. It concludes that the fluorine adhesion to the enamel due to brushing with fluoridated toothpaste is limited to a thickness of only six nanometers. The researchers doubt whether such extremely thin layers are able to prevent cavities. [8]

Eating moments and cavities

Every eating or drinking moment (except for foods such as water, tea, coffee - without sugar or milk - cucumber and tomato) causes an acid attack in your mouth. Those acids keep making small holes. Normally your saliva ensures that these holes are closed. With too many eating moments, your saliva cannot keep up with this.

The sugar revolution and cavities

Because we started to consume much more sugar after the Second World War, a huge cavities problem arose in a short time. Indicates dentist and board member of the Royal Dutch Society for the Promotion of Dentistry (KNMT) Richard Kohsiek in the NRC article mentioned above. This was the reason to enrich toothpaste with fluoride. As a result, the number of holes fell sharply.

I find this interesting. And actually the upside down world. Your body has a very good self-healing capacity. But if we always defy that ability, for example with less fine foods for our body, such as products with refined sugars, we ourselves undermine the self-healing ability. In our 'manufacturable' world we then make a solution: adding fluoride to toothpaste.

Try going without sugar for a week or month. You will be shocked how many products have added sugar. For example, did you know that ketchup consists of about 25% sugar?

No toothpaste needed

In Kohsiek's words: 'If you eat little sugar and brush your teeth perfectly, you don't even need toothpaste. You can just brush with water. If our teeth and molars were not against each other, then even that would not be necessary, our saliva would clean the teeth'.

In my opinion and from my experience, however, letting your children eat all or almost no sugar is an illusion. If they are small and not yet in primary school, this may still be possible. But as soon as they get a little older, the sugar temptations increase. With treats at school, at a party, a play party with a boyfriend or girlfriend. A child quickly feels 'different' if he or she is not allowed to participate in all of this/is presented with healthier alternatives. Which doesn't always boost self-confidence. Your child is not really concerned with his/her health at that age. And something sweet usually tastes good.

Stress and cavities

Stress reduces saliva secretion, so your tooth enamel is less well protected. [5]

Is fluoride toxic?

That's for sure. It is an industrial waste product. The toxicity between lead and arsenic can be read on the site of bluemcare [7] - an oral care company with more than 10 years of experience in the dental industry. That's why it's important not to swallow your toothpaste.

However, the question is how much fluoride you need to consume before it has a harmful effect on your health. That turns out to be a fair amount. According to Kohsiek, as an adult you have to squeeze eleven tubes of toothpaste down your throat to avoid the risk of an overdose that can knock you out and even die. For a 1-year-old child, eating 1 tube of (adult) toothpaste with fluoride is already life-threatening!

According to an EU directive from 2009, it is legally required to state on toothpaste for children up to and including the age of six: Do not use more toothpaste than the size of a pea for children aged six or younger. Make sure they swallow as little toothpaste as possible. Consult a doctor or dentist if your child uses fluoride in any other form .'

The stack effect

If you always get small amounts, the amount of fluoride in your body will accumulate, so that this can eventually become a large amount. With a potentially harmful effect on your health. The aorta, your brain, the pituitary gland and your bone tissue are places where fluoride settles, among other things.

Negative health effects of fluoride

Potential negative effects of chronic fluoride exposure include:

  • Hardening of collagen. This makes tissues in your body stiffer. And bones more brittle. [12]
  • Reduction of collagen in skin and lungs [11]
  • Possible disruption of thyroid function. [13] [14]
  • Possibly lower IQ children [9] .
  • Less effectiveness of essential minerals in your body, because they bond with fluoride.

Unhealthy drinking water with fluoride

In many countries, fluorine is added to drinking water because it is said to prevent cavities. However, neurosurgeon Dr. Russel Blaylock concludes in his book Health and Nutrition Secrets that the results of almost all studies conducted worldwide were neutral or negative. While there were several studies that show the toxicity and harmfulness of fluoride. [2] . The Netherlands no longer adds fluoride to drinking water. After water was fluoridated in the 1960s, many people suffered from stomach and intestines, stomatitis, migraines, visual disturbances, skin rashes and depression, which quickly disappeared when taking non-fluoridated water.

In the thirties of the twentieth century, many fluorine compounds were released as waste from the steel and aluminum industry. These ended up in the environment. This led to fish mortality, degeneration of bones in cows and complaints such as headaches, abdominal pain and general malaise in humans. It was also found that children who drank water from wells with a high fluorine content developed unsightly brown-colored teeth (in addition to having stronger enamel). [2]

In his book The Fluoride Deception, investigative journalist Chrystopher Bryson indicates that adding fluoride to drinking water was in fact a solution to the industry's costly waste problem. Research results were manipulated to demonstrate the effectiveness of fluoride on teeth. The fluoridation of drinking water was a fact, which earned a lot of money and solved the waste problem [6]

Brown teeth from fluoride?

The "ugly brown colored teeth" phrase above triggers me. Brown teeth due to fluoride use? I hadn't heard of it before. This phenomenon turns out to be called Fluorosis, the change in your tooth enamel due to an excessive dose of fluoride during tooth development. The website [4] says about this 'the most well-known form of this is white spots in the enamel. In severe cases of fluorosis, brown discolorations can occur on the enamel.'

Foods with fluoride

You don't just get fluoride through your toothpaste. In a number of countries also via drinking water. Black and green tea also contain fluoride. Tea leaves have an extreme ability to absorb fluoride. 34% of this can end up in your teacup [10]. If you want to harden your tooth enamel, drinking tea can also help with this. Researchers warn against drinking too much black or green tea per day. Up to three cups is fine.

Research shows that fluoride is also found in soft drinks. [10] [11] This does not counteract the enamel-disrupting effect of the sugars in soft drinks.


That fluoride helps to harden your enamel and thus prevent cavities certainly seems to be the case. But above all a solution for a Western luxury problem: the consumption of too many refined sugars. And relatively many eating moments in a day. Personally, I prefer to eat fewer meals and consume less sugar than a toothpaste with fluoride.

There is no doubt that fluoride is a toxic substance. The chance is quite small that you will ingest a toxic dose that will lead to acute complaints. In my opinion, the chance of a stacking effect of several times small fluoride doses in your body is high. With a possible negative impact on your health or that of a fetus in the abdomen.

I don't think it's a problem to use a toothpaste with fluoride from time to time. Provided that toothpaste does not contain all kinds of other less fine ingredients such as triclosan or microplastics. Triclosan is associated with hormone disruption. Microplastics are bad for the environment and aquatic life.

[1] NRC, Tuesday, June 14, 2022, C4-C5. . [2] [3] teeth-brushing/ [4] [5] articles/PMC4290324/ [6] [7] [7] Clin Toxicol Commer c Prod, 1984; 11:4, 112, 129, 138[8] [9] [10] [11]