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kids toothpaste usage

Is Fluoride Safe in Toothpaste?

Dr. Kate DDS

Alright, we have all been there. The dilemma of using fluoride toothpaste. Is it really safe to use?

Well, today I will debug the myths about this issue.

Our hypothesis is fluoride is safe to use in toothpaste. And we will use research study to back this up.

It’s very important that we look after our teeth as best we can, otherwise, we run the risk of suffering from all kinds of painful and perhaps embarrassing afflictions later in life. One of the most effective things we can do to look after our teeth is to brush them on a daily basis. One key ingredient in everyday toothpaste, however, is one which has been the topic of many a heated debate as of late, and that ingredient is fluoride. Some experts swear by it, yet others have raised concerns over its safety. This then begs the question as to whether or not fluoride is safe in toothpaste.

A Brief History of Fluoride in Toothpaste

You may be wondering how fluoride became such a key ingredient in toothpaste, well, wonder no more.

Fredrick Mckay

You see, back in 1901, Frederick McKay, a dental school graduate opened his very first dental practice in Colorado Springs. When he arrived, he noticed that the vast majority of people living there had brown stained teeth, which looked pretty bad. Surprisingly, however, despite looking rotten, these teeth were actually very strong and healthy and appeared to be resistant to decay.

Discovery of Fluoride

Dental Health

After years of research, McKay discovered that it was the unusually high levels of fluoride in the drinking water that was causing these brown stains. Fluoride is a natural mineral found in water, and McKay theorized that by cutting way back on the amount of fluoride, adding it to toothpaste could actually help strengthen teeth and prevent decay, without causing these awful brown stains.

Why is fluoride used in toothpaste?


As you can see from the above, the main reason why fluoride is such a prominent ingredient in toothpaste is due to the fact that it has been found to help strengthen tooth enamel and protect the teeth against rot and decay.

Fluoride Functionality

Different brands of toothpaste use different levels of fluoride, but the main reason it is used is to basically strengthen the teeth and prevent tooth decay.

What are the risks?

If then, fluoride helps prevent tooth decay, why have there been questions raised over its safety? Well, because there are concerns over consuming too much. The risks associated with fluoride include:

  • Brown and discolored teeth if too much is consumed
  • Increased risk of Alzheimer’s due to the fact that fluoride enhances brain absorption of Aluminium (a metal heavily linked with Alzheimer’s).
  • Calcification of the joints
  • Toxicity
Is fluoride toothpaste safe for kids?

So, as you can see from the above, fluoride does appear to be beneficial, yet at the same time, there are also risks. This begs the question as to whether or not fluoride toothpaste is safe for kids. Studies have found that fluoride toothpaste can prevent cavities and decay in children by as much as 40%.

Research Study

However, evidence, including a Harvard study, has found that ingesting too much fluoride can be dangerous for children as it can damage their cognitive function and abilities. However, these risks are only apparent when a child is ‘over-exposed’ to fluoride, I.E if they are ingesting lots of it in drinking water etc. The amounts used in toothpaste are so small that there are thought to be no real risks to a child’s development and cognitive abilities.

So, is fluoride safe in toothpaste?

It would appear as though fluoride is indeed safe in toothpaste, though obviously if an individual is ingesting higher than average amounts of fluoride, the more they are taking in the higher the risks. Drinking water should ideally be filtered, and nutritional labels should be read to be sure whether or not a product contains additional fluoride. In basic terms, however, as long as you aren’t taking in too much fluoride, the fluoride in your toothpaste will provide you with all of the benefits, and no real risks.
For more information, visit your nearby hygienist office.


    • Hi, Ioel,

      There are many different types of toothpaste of there. And they are for different purposes. So it really depends on your needs. You may have sensitive teeth and thus need a toothpaste that meets your need. So it really depends on the type of toothpaste and not all toothpaste has the same ingredients and work for all people. But Colgate or Fluoride toothpaste seems to be the most popular.

      Hope that helps

    • Hi Kegan,

      Yes, TOO MUCH fluoride will have negative side effects. Toothpaste has an optimal amount of fluoride in toothpaste for maximum advantage, with minimum side effects. Furthermore, children will have a different amount of fluoride in their toothpaste compared to adults.

      Hope that helps
      Vallen – Dental Surgeon at Nearby Dental

  • Hi, I use advanced white toothpaste from ARM & HAMMER, the label says the sodium fluoride is 0.24%, do you think its safe for daily use? thank you so much.