Of late, fluoride and xylitol have been the centre of many conversations around optimal dental hygiene. What is safe, what isn’t – and do we need either of these ingredients at all?
For the longest time we’ve been told that fluoride is the key to developing strong teeth. But is it?
What exactly is fluoride?
“Fluoride” is a generic term used to describe a chemical compound containing the element fluorine, as well as one or more additional elements. In its pure state, fluorine is a yellowish gas that is extremely corrosive and poisonous. It is known to be the most reactive of all the elements in the Periodic Table. Because of this, fluorine exists in nature only in combination with at least one other element, for example fluorine + calcium = calcium fluoride; fluorine + sodium + aluminum = sodium aluminum fluoride. (Source)
Is fluoride necessary?
No, it isn’t. We don’t need fluoride to prevent tooth decay, nor do we develop tooth decay because we are deficient in fluoride. It is well established that fluoride has no nutritional value to the human body.
Is fluoride dangerous to our health?
The danger that fluoride presents is most obviously supported by the warning printed on every box and tube of fluoridated toothpaste: “If more than used for brushing is accidentally swallowed, obtain medical help or contact a Poison Control Centre right away”.
Should we be concerned?
The risk of fluoride to our health is something that everyone needs to understand. Even though fluoride may reduce tooth decay in some people when applied topically, it is toxic to the rest of the body, and is likely to create health problems, especially when ingested.
Can we avoid this potentially harmful substance and find a healthier way to prevent tooth decay?
Let’s consider Xylitol:
If you know your natural sugars, you will be familiar with xylitol. But surely adding a sugar to a toothpaste seems disastrously counter-intuitive! Here’s the reason dentists are now recommending xylitol instead of fluoride in toothpaste:
What is xylitol?
Xylitol is a sugar alcohol that has a crystalline, granular structure with a sweetness comparable to sugar. A natural sweetener with a myriad health benefits, xylitol is found in many fruits and vegetables and is also produced by the human body. (Source)
Where is it sourced?
Xylitol is generally sourced from corncobs or birch trees. Needing less space to grow and having a relatively short harvest time, xylitol from corn is more environmentally friendly and cost-effective than that made from birch trees, making it a more popular choice.
How does it help in toothpaste?
One of the greatest benefits of xylitol is how it interacts with bacteria. The cavity-causing bacteria that live in the mouth feed on fermentable sugars and produce lactic acid. This lactic acid is what eventually causes cavities as it eats through the enamel surfaces of our teeth. Xylitol is a non-fermentable sugar alcohol, which means the cariogenic bacteria cannot process it and produce lactic acid. Xylitol also has a unique anti-adhesive quality, which prohibits bacteria from adhering to cell tissue. This assists in maintaining the natural pH of the mouth, allowing teeth to be re-mineralized, which helps prevent cavities from forming in the first place.
How is Xylitol toothpaste more beneficial than fluoride toothpaste?
Xylitol stops cavity-causing germs from infecting the teeth. It creates a protective layer on the teeth that prevents the bacteria in plaque from attaching to the enamel. Using the right amount of xylitol helps prevent tooth damage before it begins. Naturally produced in small amounts in the body, xylitol is safe for children and adults.
Considering all the detrimental effects of fluoride, Pure Beginnings have developed three proudly fluoride-free toothpastes. Our delicious Berry, Vanilla Mint and Fresh Mint toothpastes all contain xylitol and are safe to swallow. With antibacterial properties, the toothpastes provide tooth and gum protection as well as freshening the breath naturally.
All our toothpastes are vegan, contain certified organic ingredients and have been carefully formulated using no colourants.
Pure Beginnings believes that using natural alternatives are a better, safer and more effective choice for you and your family.