If you go to my kid’s bathroom you will find SpongeBob Square pants Toothpaste. Why? Because the kid’s love the taste, and it’s SpongeBob! But just because the magical toothpaste gets my children to brush and keep their teeth healthy does it really mean the toothpaste itself is healthy? Truth is there is alarming concern these days when it comes to our toothpaste. If you are like most people the name brands Crest & Colgate are probably sitting in your bathroom. So what possibly could be wrong with the toothpaste that we have all grown up on and love? Have you ever read the label? Like the majority of consumers these days I simply buy what works ignoring the label. My assumption is it wouldn’t be available if it wasn’t safe. WRONG! Take a look at the label and you will find this:
Warning Keep out of reach of children under 6 yrs of age. If more than used for brushing is accidentally swallowed, get medical help or contact a Poison Control Center right away.
Isn’t it a little concerning that something we are putting in our mouths has a label with the words Poison Control Center? Yes warnings are part of everyday life, but still this is concerning when it comes to my kids. So since the ADA (American Dental Association) tells us this is good stuff than what could be the cause of this label? Well let’s take a closer look at the ingredients, specifically sodium fluoride. Fluoride as I brought to your attention in an earlier blog can be a good thing, in moderation. The problem is manufacturers have begun to use this waste by product in so many things that we are becoming over exposed to it. The result is leading to dangerous health issues, especially for our children.
So what is it about fluoride that makes it so dangerous? Again in small doses it has been proven to help prevent and reduce tooth decay promoting healthy teeth. In large doses side effects can include everything from fluorosis (decaying of the teeth) to death. Researchers are finding links between overexposure to fluoride and brain development (lower IQ’s) as well as links to skeletal fluorosis, osteoporosis and many other health effects including increased risk for cancer.
So what is over exposure? I thought that since I removed my son from the fluoride pill at school, quit using a fluoride rinse at home, and my water was on a private well not being treated that my children were safe from overexposure. Then I took a closer look at the food intake of my kid’s. Juice, Cereal, fruit, fluoride was in it all.
So how much fluoride is your child getting? Honestly it is hard to tell. What I can tell you is that too much is dangerous to their health. Personally I will be purchasing toothpaste without fluoride. For me to simply remove the fluoride in the areas I know they are getting it is the best way to make sure they are not being over exposed. Since my oldest son was already diagnosed with fluorosis I am aware that over exposure happens. In fact the 1Center for Disease Control has reported that up 48% US school children have dental fluorosis. This is the result of over exposure to fluoride!
Here is also an interesting note from an article I read
2Tony Lees, from Herefordshire, a dentist for 40 years, believes that fluoride should be banned from toothpastes and water. The marginal benefit it displays for teeth does not outweigh its general dangers, he says.
“In the scale of toxicity, fluorides fall between arsenic and lead,” he says. “Dental fluorosis is not just a cosmetic problem, but the visible sign of chronic fluoride poisoning, and children are more vulnerable than adults.”
I found this to be an insightful point in making my decision to pull fluoride from my toothpaste. In the end I found there was enough negative remarks and controversy on fluoride to choose to avoid it when possible without going nuts over it.
For those wanting to make a change, Tom’s of Maine offers a children’s strawberry toothpaste without fluoride and Burt’s Bees offers a Natural Toothpaste Multicare without fluoride.