General Dentistry |3 min read

Pros and Cons of Using Fluoride Toothpaste

Should you use fluoride toothpaste? Yes or no?

At Harmony Dental, we know that caring for your teeth is a team effort between regular cleanings and checkups, and how you care for your teeth at home.

How is your oral hygiene routine at home?

  • Do you floss daily?
  • Do you brush your teeth twice a day?
  • And last but not least: Do you use fluoride toothpaste? 

As your dentist in Beaverton, OR, we get asked a lot about the benefits of using fluoride toothpaste vs. fluoride-free toothpaste. We want to clarify any misconceptions and break down the pros and cons.

What is fluoride? And is it safe to use?

First, we must understand that fluoride is a naturally occurring chemical found in the earth. It is located in small amounts in air, water, and even some plants.

But be careful:

Just because it is a naturally occurring component of the environment does not mean it is good for us to ingest. If ingested, fluoride can be poisonous, especially in large quantities. This is why fluoride toothpaste containers have a warning to contact poison control if ingested.


Fluoride toothpaste is typically not recommended for children younger than six years old. If a child swallows fluoride toothpaste, they may develop fluorosis, which interferes with the development of tooth enamel and can cause white spots or streaks on the teeth.

Although, you should note: No type of toothpaste, fluoride or not, is meant to be swallowed. And you should always spit out fluoride toothpaste after brushing your teeth – no matter how good it tastes.

Now, the good news:

As a topical treatment, fluoride can provide great benefits to your teeth, like preventing tooth decay.

What are the benefits of fluoride?

Studies have shown that the benefits of fluoride are achieved only with topical application — not from ingestion. Exposure to fluoride (like that contained in toothpaste and city tap water) is the most effective cavity prevention treatment available today.

Toothpaste with fluoride is used to assist in good dental hygiene and overall oral wellness. Research has shown that fluoride can reduce plaque, remove tartar, and clean and protect teeth.

The presence of fluoride in your mouth can attract other minerals (such as calcium) to the area. Calcium is good for our bones and helps maintain our teeth with a strong, healthy structure.

Fluoride helps keep your teeth strong

Is non-fluoride toothpaste effective?

Non-fluorinated kinds of toothpaste use natural ingredients such as hydrated silica, cranberry extract, and xylitol to prevent the adhesion of bacteria to teeth and to remove plaque. A derivative of silicon dioxide, hydrated silica is a mild abrasive that works synergistically with calcium carbonate to remove plaque. Hydrated silica also gives a gel-like texture to the toothpaste and helps remove stains.

Fluoride-free toothpaste is very effective at cleaning your teeth but cannot strengthen your teeth like fluoride toothpaste.

How do I know if I need fluoride toothpaste?

As you read, each toothpaste, fluoride vs. fluoride-free, has its pros and cons. The single best way to find out if you need fluoride toothpaste is to ask your dental provider.

If you are looking for a dentist in the Beaverton, OR area, then contact us today! We can schedule you a free consultation with Dr. Bruno da Costa and determine if you would benefit from fluoride toothpaste.


Editor’s note: This post was originally published in April 2012 and has been completely revamped for comprehensiveness and timeliness.

10 comments on “Pros and Cons of Using Fluoride Toothpaste”
  1. Leo delaney

    I think your people should study a bit more and bring your outdated information up to date showing current facts from new studies.

  2. brendan

    Needs more cons of toothpaste with fluoride in it

    1. Clara

      I agree they have no cons

  3. Trina

    Sodium fluoride (added to our water supply, oral products ,prozac, and rat poison) IS NOT a naturally sourced mineral. Calcium fluoride is natural. What is being added is sodium fluoride which is nearly 100 times more dangerous than calcium fluoride! Sodium fluoride is found to be more toxic than lead. Perhaps we should add lead to the drinking supply (hey, it’s safer than sodium fluoride!.) Back in the day it was used to combat certain health issues. Kidding…no supposed health treatment should be added to the entire water supply especially when it’s a known poison; the reason behind it is deeper than oral health (which it clearly does not help with) when the majority of folks perpetuating this myth have had rotted out teeth/cavities.

    1. Kati

      One word: MONEY. That’s all that needs to be said.

  4. Noneya Business

    You’re wrong about fluoride being naturally occurring, fluorites are naturally occurring, fluoride is a byproduct from turning alumina to aluminium and was put into drinking water in concentration camps during WWII to keep the inmates docile and from basically having any free will. NO STUDY has ever shown ANY benefit from putting fluoride in toothpaste or drinking water. It’s to dumb the general population down and nothing else.

  5. Karan Joshi

    Hello, First of all, I read your article and your work is very impressive and so much useful for me. Keep it up and Thank you very much.:)

  6. Sabine Dohrn

    You are saying that the benefits of fluoride are only achieved through topical treatment NOT ingestion and then you continue by saying ¨Exposure to fluoride (like that contained in toothpaste and city tap water) is the most effective cavity prevention treatment available today¨

    Can you please explain how drinking fluoridated water is not ¨ingestion¨? Or are you saying that nobody should drink tap water and cook with it?

    This is a very confusing message apart from the apparent misinformation about the type of fluoride that is being used in water and toothpaste as several comments suggested.

  7. Allan Bassett

    My friend was a student of Alexander Fleming and she was extremely focussed and well informed about the hazards of sodium fluoride . In her later years, she retained her intelligence and remained very convincing about the hazards of many countries in adding sodium fluoride into our drinking water, Sadly although many intelligent and professional dentists and medics are aware of this hazard and detrimental effects on our health, they are hesitant to ‘go public’ for fear that their reputations can be harmed.

  8. DentalSave

    Unique information over here.
    You are completely right, Fluoride is viewed as the most effective cavity prevention treatment accessible.

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