Healthy Body

What Dentists *Really* Want You To Know About Using Toothpaste Without Fluoride

Mary Grace Garis

Photo: Getty Images/Julia Gunther
Maybe now’s not the time to sound like a helicopter parent, but just because we’re in the midst of a pandemic doesn’t give you an excuse to skimp on your oral-care routine. If you neglect to brush your teeth, plaque can build up in less than 24 hours, causing superficial sensory problems like bad breath or discoloration, or long-term issues like gum disease. Suffice it to say, ensuring you’re stocked on toothpaste is important—but beyond having and using it, knowing which ingredients are in your tube is also necessary. So, what should you know about toothpaste without fluoride?

If you’ve ever been to the dentist (and, not to mom-out again, but I hope you have), you’ll recognize the name “fluoride” for being the stuff you swish for a healthy, happy mouth. In essence, fluoride is a tooth-fortifying property commonly found in many oral care products. “Fluoride is an ion that helps replace minerals in teeth,” says dentist Nammy Patel, DDS, of Green Dentistry. “Teeth are made with calcium and phosphate, and fluoride helps make your teeth stronger and more resistant to decay.”

Research has consistently shown that fluoride can reduce the risk of cavities in both children and adults. But dentist Brian Harris, DDS, points out it might not be the right choice for everyone. “Recent studies have suggested that fluoride is a human developmental neurotoxicant, which can affect the development of intelligence in children,” he says.

It’s also possible to have a fluoride allergy or intolerance. Dr. Harris says most common allergic reactions to fluoride are hives, dermatitis (which includes skin irritations like rashes), and stomatitis (inflammation of the oral tissues). “Some people can also experience gastrointestinal issues, but it’s not as common,” he says. “To verify an actual allergy, it is important to get properly tested.”

And if you do have a reason to use toothpaste without fluoride, Dr. Harris says you can still have a healthy oral-care routine by using low-abrasive, fluoride-free toothpaste. But you still need to, you know, do the work of brushing and flossing daily to prevent cavities.

“The action of brushing and flossing is absolutely the best way to prevent cavities by removing the bacteria and acids from the teeth that actually cause the cavities,” says Dr. Harris. “When you do see your dentist every six months, have them do a topical fluoride treatment only if you’re cavity prone, and assuming that there isn’t a fluoride allergy—everything in moderation.”

No matter the reason, though, if you’re in the market for toothpaste without fluoride, you certainly have options that can be included in a totally healthy oral-care routine. Below, find some of our (strangely delicious) favorites.

Looking for a toothpaste without fluoride? Try one of these 7 options

1. Bite Toothpaste Bits, $12

Photo: Bite

These adorable bite-sized toothpaste bits have a major sustainability factor: no disposable plastic tube! They’re also super-cute and simple to use. Just pop one in your mouth and you’ll be brush-ready. It’s worth noting that among Bite’s variety of flavors is a limited-edition “Champagne,” so feel free to grab that if you want to feel fancy.

Shop Now: Bite Toothpaste Bits, $12

2. Himalayan Pink Salt Toothpaste, $12

Photo: Rael

I have a deep fondness for Rael, a hygiene marketplace that ensures you get the best-of-the-best in skin care, menstrual products, and more. I’d be remiss not to give the brand snaps for its innovative toothpaste as well; it comes in two formulas—gel and liquid—is for your teeth, and, TBH, looks cute on on a shelf.

Shop Now: Himalayan Pink Salt Toothpaste, $12

3. Public Goods Toothpaste, $6

Photo: Public Goods

Public Goods’ minimalist tube doesn’t let fluoride, parabens, or phthalates come to the party. Instead, it very simply features a touch of peppermint essential oil for flavor, alongside an array of carefully selected natural ingredients. Give it a go if eccentric flavoring feels a little froufrou to you.

Shop Now: Public Goods Toothpaste, $6

4. LEBON Rhythm Is Love Toothpaste, $12

Photo: Materiae

Lebon just looks luxe and very artfully mixes Moroccan mint with a slew of tastes. Rhythm Is Love features ylang-ylang, making for an absolutely gourmet oral-care experience.

Shop Now: LEBON Rhythm Is Love Toothpaste, $12

5. Tom’s of Maine Fluoride-Free Whitening Toothpaste, Spearmint, $5

Photo: Thrive Market

Tom’s of Maine is a pretty common main squeeze when it comes to fluoride-free toothpaste. It’s been around for over 40 years, making it a legacy player in the pared-down oral-care game. It’s also easy find if you just need to stock up quick at your local drug store.

Shop Now: Tom’s of Maine Fluoride-Free Whitening Toothpaste, Spearmint, $5

6. Toothpaste Sampler Pack, $30

Photo: Natural Smile Products

Natural Smile Products produce (you guessed it!) all-natural, vegan, ethically created products, with a delightful selection of toothpastes. Arriving in adorable little containers, you can choose between four flavors: mint and charcoal, cinnamon and clove, vanilla and lavender, and ginger and turmeric. Or, don’t choose at all—the sampler allows you to stock up and suss out your favorite taste!

Shop Now: Toothpaste Sampler Pack, $30

7. Schmidt’s Jasmine + Spearmint Tooth + Mouth Paste, $6

Photo: Vitacost

Finally there’s Schmidt’s, a lovely vitamin-infused concoction that you can squeze onto your bristles. This jasmine and spearmint combo isn’t just an elegant mix; it also features a mini line of plant-powered toothpaste for kids.

Shop Now: Schmidt’s Jasmine + Spearmint Tooth + Mouth Paste, $6

Ultimately, the choice in what to look for in a toothpaste isn’t as simple as demonizing fluoride or saying you must use this or that. Try to figure out what works best for you, and know you have some delicious options to test out. And ,of course, if you’re not sure what makes most sense for you (or you’re feeling tooth sensitivity or any other pain when brushing), consult with a dentist, stat.

Have you checked out The Well+Good SHOP? Our editors sift through hundreds of products every week so that you don’t have to—and now, you can find their faves (from skin care to self care and beyond) in one carefully curated space. What’re you waiting for? Get shopping!

Our editors independently select these products. Making a purchase through our links may earn Well+Good a commission.

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