Friday, October 5, 2007

Better Toothpastes

While no one needs triclosan in toothpaste, per our Oct. 4th “Daily Tips,” what about fluoride? Should we brush with it, or not? Quick answer: Yes, children should use fluoridated toothpaste to help prevent cavities, says the American Dental Association, except for those younger than two years, who might swallow rather than spit it out.

Why the concern? Risks of too much fluoride exposure include skeletal fluorosis, or brittle bones, and dental fluorosis, or discoloration of teeth. And 67 percent of Americans are already swallowing fluoride in their tap water. Fluoride has been added to New York City drinking water since 1965. Los Angeles, Orange, San Diego and other Southern California counties, on the other hand, are scheduled to start fluoridation of public water supplies in November, despite opposition from the Environmental Working Group (EWG), which argues that children get enough protection in toothpaste, the form in which fluoride is most effective against cavities, and that adding fluoride to drinking water will expose up to 64,000 children to levels that exceed safety thresholds established by the Environmental Protection Agency and the National Association of Science.

Note: Most water filters, including Brita and Pur, do not remove fluoride.

Fluoride or not, unsavory and possibly unhealthy ingredients in conventional toothpastes can include triclosan, saccharine and other artificial sweeteners, phthalates, parabens, sodium lauryl sulfate and sodium hydroxide (lye).

GreenerPenny’s Better Toothpaste Picks

With Fluoride:

Tom’s Natural Anticavity Baking Soda toothpaste uses fluoride to fight cavities and peppermint oil for taste. Free of artificial sweeteners. $3.99 at, $2.99 on the shelf at Whole Foods.

Jason Power Smile All Natural Whitening CoQ10 Tooth Gel contains fluoride, but the flavors are all from plant essential oils (no phthalate-laced synthetic “fragrances”), $7.49 at

Without Fluoride:

A fresh find, Tate’s Natural Miracle Toothpaste, made in Ohio, is fluoride- and petrochemical-free, made of plant extracts such as peppermint, geranium and sage. Pricey but tasty at $14.95 for a 5-oz bottle,

More affordable, Jason Sea Fresh, Deep-Sea Spearmint and Power Smile All-Natural Whitening toothpastes are also fluoride-free, $5.69 at, $3.99 at Whole Foods; Kiss My Face AloeDyne Whitening Toothpaste, $5.99 at

Sick of Mint? Auromere Mint-free Herbal Toothpaste is flavored with cinnamon, rose apple and clove, $5.99 at

Plenty Picks:

In this month’s Plenty Magazine ( an editor seeking saccharine-free toothpastes preferred these 5 out of a test group of 12: Jason Power Smile with fluoride (above); Kiss My Face Triple Action Certified Organic Aloe Vera Toothpaste CoQ10 Tooth Gel, without, $6 (; The Natural Dentist Healthy Teeth & Gums Toothpaste, fluoride-free with Xylitol, $5.99 (; TheraNeem Herbal Neem Toothpaste, without, $7.49 (; and Weleda Salt Toothpaste,without, $4.99, or at Whole Foods.

More Info:

For the science on fluoride, and safety tips, see and

For an excellent overview of the current fluoride controversy in Southern California, see


greenbird said...

Tried the Tom's, like the un-sweet taste, and the baking soda really makes teeth feel clean. What about using fluoridated water in baby's bottle? Is this a case where I should buy bottled springwater?

Anonymous said...

You should definitely not use fluoridated water in your baby bottle. So use spring water, or better yet (because of the plastic bottle and the fact that we never know what is in the water, it's net regulated...), install a reverse osmosis system in your on your kitchen sink and use tap water free of fluoride and other nasty things....

Anonymous said...

Hi, I hope you will also have an article about the best water filter cos I'm still searching for the best one. I am tired of buying bottled water and the filter I am using does not filter everything like VOCS and MTBE...and I find most water filters made of plastic...just wondering if there will be an alternative materials aside from plastic.

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Anonymous said...

This is very interesting children should use fluoride to prevent cavities, according to the American Dental Association, I am very interested in Health Care and thanks for share this information very useful!!