Experts warn about the new fluoride-free DIY toothpaste trend on TikTok

by | Sep 30, 2023

TikTok’s DIY toothpaste trend is not having a good reception at the dentist’s office. Dental professionals caution over the absence of one ingredient in these ‘natural’ toothpaste – fluoride. Flouride in the dental care world is the most important ingredient. A recent study that reviewed the scientific literature on cavities concluded that dental hygiene with no fluoride has no impact on cavity protection. If there’s anything to learn from TikTok’s raw water trend or drinking potato juice for strep throat, it is natural isn’t always healthy. So, why are dentists sounding alarm bells over the new DIY toothpaste trend? Let’s find out.

What is fluoride?

Fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral, primarily found in water in varying quantities, depending on where you live. It is also present in some foods, such as fish and tea. Fluoride prevents tooth decay, which is why it gets added to toothpaste and water supply. Flouride toothpaste is a major contributor to dental health. Flouride mouthwash and topical applications like fluoride varnishes are also available. Studies show children and young people in areas with higher fluoride concentrations are 57% to 63% less likely to be admitted to be admitted to hospital for tooth extraction.

Fluoride helps to strengthen tooth enamel. It can remineralise weakened enamel and make it more resistant to acid attacks from bacteria and sugar. This remineralisation process can help prevent tooth decay and cavities. In some areas where natural fluoride levels in drinking water are low, fluoride gets added as a public health measure to improve dental health. This process is known as fluoridation.

Social media’s influence on health

Social media is a powerful tool for sharing and accessing information. However, it is also a place that generates and disseminates misinformation. Pseudoscientific claims and unverified health advice proliferate on these platforms, often resulting in misguided decisions and behaviours. Myths surrounding fluoride have been around since its introduction into public health.

Some of these outlandish claims, which are scientifically untenable, include;

Myth –Fluoride is harmful to your health

Fact –No, when used in appropriate amounts, it is safe for all ages. Flouride helps prevent tooth decay and cavities. Science has proven its efficacy. 

Myth –Fluoride causes fluorosis (white spots on teeth)

Fact – Dental fluorosis is a cosmetic issue that can occur with excessive fluoride exposure during tooth development. However, fluoride levels in public water supplies in the UK and commercial toothpaste are carefully regulated to minimise this risk. Severe fluorosis is rare and typically associated with excessive fluoride ingestion in childhood.

Myth – Fluoride is added to water to control people’s minds 

Fact – These claims have no factual or scientific basis. Fluoridation of water is a public health measure aimed at preventing tooth decay. The World Health Organisation (WHO) and The British Dental Association (BDA) endorse this practice.

Myth- Fluoride is only for children

Fact – While fluoride is essential for developing teeth, it benefits individuals of all ages by strengthening enamel and preventing tooth decay. Adults can benefit from fluoride-containing dental products and treatments.

What is DIY fluoride-free toothpaste?

DIY toothpaste recipes typically involve mixing ingredients not commonly found in commercial toothpaste. These toothpaste recipes contain baking soda, coconut oil, activated charcoal, essential oils, lemon juice, vinegar, and hydrogen peroxide. Lemon juice and vinegar are acidic and can erode tooth enamel, while hydrogen peroxide can damage soft tissue if used improperly. Baking soda can also weaken enamel due to its abrasiveness.

The risks of using fluoride-free toothpaste 

Decades of evidence-based science has proven fluoride is safe, but some still doubt it. Flouride-free toothpaste undoubtedly increases the risk of cavities. Your teeth may be more susceptible to demineralisation. Fluoride also aids in the remineralisation of weakened enamel. 

Fluoride-free toothpaste lacks this capability and will not effectively repair weakened enamel. They do not provide the same level of protection against acid attacks from bacteria and acidic foods and drinks. As a result, your teeth may be more vulnerable to damage. 

Some DIY toothpaste recipes include abrasive substances like baking soda or activated charcoal. While these ingredients can remove surface stains, they may also be abrasive on tooth enamel if used excessively, potentially leading to tooth sensitivity and enamel wear.

Expert dental care in Canary Wharf and Nine Elms 

Prevention of tooth decay is integral to good oral health. Regular dental exams, hygienist services, and brushing teeth with fluoride toothpaste can preserve your pearly whites for longer in optimal condition. Modern dental care and in-house specialists at Mouth clinics offer cutting-edge dentistry and multi-disciplinary expertise. You can receive oral surgery, endodontics, periodontics, paediatric dentistry, and emergency dental services under one roof. More than 50 local clinics trust our South Quay clinic for referrals, and our Nine Elms clinic is the only one in the area with an attached Teaching suite. We also have digital dentistry and on-site printing facilities. Our in-clinic shop offers specialist dental care products. How can Mouth improve your dental health?