We are starting to worry that more people are using toothpaste that doesn’t contain fluoride, leaving them at greater risk of cavities.
Most toothpastes already contain fluoride. History clearly shows fluoride is a cavity blocker, however the internet is full of claims from natural toothpaste marketers and alternative medicine advocates, that fluoride-free toothpaste also prevents cavities.
Based on up to date scientific evidence, dental authorities disagree with this claim.
"It's really important to debunk this idea that brushing your teeth stops decay. You need to have the fluoride," says Damien Walmsley, a scientific adviser to the British Dental Association and dentistry professor at the University of Birmingham.
That point was reinforced this month by an article in the dental journal Gerodontology that reviewed the scientific literature on cavities. Its primary conclusion is that, without fluoride, oral hygiene efforts have no impact on cavity rates.
The idea that just brushing teeth doesn't stop cavities has largely been accepted among individual researchers for decades, but not always by the public. Dentists generally recommend fluoride for cavity fighting, but even some of them continue to believe that the mechanics of wiping your teeth clean of plaque also reduces cavities. The review findings have clarified the need for fluoride.
"It violates certain principles we've been taught and that we teach and that we believe," said Richard Niederman, a dentist and professor at New York University. "What it says to me is that the toothbrush is just a delivery system."
The take home message from this latest scientific research is that brushing with a fluoride toothpaste is proven to be effective in the reduction and avoidance of tooth decay, and if your toothpast is non fluoride, you may as well brush with water only!