Ask the Dentist who also Co-Founded a Holistic Oral Care Company
The newest member of the Dr. Brite team, Carolyn Bianco, sat down with our very own co-founder Pooneh Ramezani, DDS to chat about fluoride. Is fluoride safe, or toxic? Should you ever use it and what to use instead? Won’t kids get cavities if if they don’t brush using a toothpaste with fluoride? Won’t women get gingivitis if they don’t use oral care with fluoride? These are some of the questions we discussed.
About the products experts sharing in this article:
- Dr. Pooneh Ramezani, DDS, owner of several licensed dentist offices throughout California, a practicing dentist of over 20 years (yep, she started at age 5:), CEO and co-founder of Dr. Brite
- Dr. Paris Sabo, COO and co-founder of Dr. Brite, recent winner of the Tory Burch Foundation Pitch Competition and awarded a fellowship
- Carolyn Bianco, aka @HonestlyCarolynMarie, an influential Instagram and YouTube star who is all about honestly communicating the truth behind the products used to feel and look great - she recently started working with Dr. Brite.
Origins of fluoride & the risks of fluoride...
We’ve all done it. We’ve gone to the dentist, had our teeth cleaned, and at the end, we’re given a little goodie bag filled with floss, a new colorful toothbrush, and little travel-sized, mainstream toothpaste that contains fluoride. But what if we told you that fluoride toothpastes shouldn’t be the end-all, be all of toothpastes that you are supposed to use? What if we told you that fluoride in your toothpaste isn’t really needed and that it can actually be toxic for your health?
The truth behind fluoride...
Now, before you panic, let’s get to the truth behind fluoride. So, what is it? Fluoride is derived from the compound, fluorine, which happens to be one of the most reactive elements on the periodic table (LiveScience). When applied topically in the form of toothpaste, fluoride is supposed to remineralize teeth in order to prevent cavities. It sounds great on paper, but the truth is that fluoride poses some severe risks.
This isn’t just another addition to the health-scare trend. Yes, it’s true that sometimes we can get so caught up in what we should be avoiding in our beauty and personal care that it can become almost confusing to filter through everything.
Why is there reason to be concerned about using Fluoride? Fluoride is a neurotoxin and accumulates in the body. -- Pooneh Ramezani, DDS
Let’s get scientific about fluoride for a moment...
Okay, let’s give some more information about fluoride. Fluoride is actually not found in any human body functions and is not an essential nutrient for human health. Even though it is found in nature, according to the Fluoride Action Network (FAN), an organization that seeks to broaden awareness about the toxicity of fluoride compounds among citizens, scientists, and policymakers alike, fluoride can accumulate in the body by building up in the bones and on the pineal gland. Anatomy refresher: the pineal gland is located in between the two hemispheres of the brain and controls the production of melatonin, which is a hormone that controls your sleep cycle, regulates puberty in young girls, and protects cells from damage caused by free radicals in the environment.
So, this accumulation of fluoride can have some serious consequences. It may lead to the cause of bone cancer, may cause young girls to begin puberty faster, and it may affect the brain in other negative ways. While these consequences are not immediate, as fluoride accumulates in the body over time these risks increase likewise over time (Fluoride Action Network).
But can I prevent cavities without fluoride?
“New research has shown that the amount of fluoride in fluoridated toothpastes and the length of time that you brush your teeth or your children's teeth is not enough for the fluoride to have significant re-mineralization effects on the enamel of the teeth. The actual mechanical removal of plaque-causing bacteria with a toothbrush is more beneficial than using a Fluoridated toothpaste. -- Pooneh Ramezani, DDS
Okay, so you may be thinking, “Wait, despite the health risks if I stop using a toothpaste with fluoride, won’t I get more cavities in my teeth?” Turns out the cause of cavities can have several factors, one of them being dry mouth. Did you know that many mainstream toothpastes contain alcohol in their products? The drying side effect of alcohol can actually lead to or exacerbate a dry mouth, which leaves the door wide open for cavities to form.
To help prevent a dry mouth, we suggest using oral care products with soothing ingredients like Organic Aloe Vera Juice, which can be found in Dr. Brite’s Cleansing Mouthwash. Additionally, new studies have shown that aloe vera-based products can help hydrate the mouth, therefore, decrease the risk of tooth decay. These studies also show that aloe vera-based products can also help decrease gingivitis.
So, what have we learned? Fluoride happens to be made from one of the most reactive elements and it can accumulate in the body. This accumulation can pose a risk to human health with the possibility of bone cancer developing, the possible early onset of puberty, and it may have a neurotoxic effect on the brain. Often touted as an ingredient that helps prevent cavities and remineralizes teeth, fluoride in the form of toothpaste may not have enough time to do its job.
How to have a healthy mouth without fluoridated toothpaste
Now, what can you do? Start by reading the labels found on the backs of toothpaste boxes more diligently. Next, opt for toothpastes where you can clearly identify each ingredient. Simple can be better. You can still fight cavities and remineralize teeth with safer, nontoxic, and plant-based ingredients. This is where Dr. Brite fits in this case to making shopping easier. So, go ahead! Read ingredient labels carefully the next time you’re strolling down the aisle of a grocery store or perusing on the Internet. If all else fails, you can count on Dr. Brite to provide safe, effective, and nontoxic oral care for you and your entire family.
Dr. Brite happens to have two fluoride-free toothpaste formulations that are safe for the entire family. Our Whitening Toothpaste has a classic minty feel, but is also packed with antibacterial and antioxidant ingredients like Vitamin C, Organic Coconut Oil, Organic Green Tea Leaf Extract, and Organic Neem Oil. Our Kid’s Toothpaste contains the same powerful ingredients, but comes in Organic Strawberry Extract for a naturally sweet taste that growing mouths can enjoy. Dr. Brite also has a Cleansing Mouthwash made with Organic Aloe Vera and Organic Spearmint Leaf Extract that leaves mouths feeling fresh without that harsh sting of alcohol.
You don't need Fluoride in your daily toothpaste. The best ingredients to seek in a toothpaste are plant-based antimicrobial, antibacterial, antifungal agents that help prevent cavities. Also, dehydration of the oral cavity causes tooth decay. Many conventional oral care products have some alcohol in them - some are up to 30% alcohol. This is a real problem with mouth dryness. -- Pooneh Ramezani, DDS
Final thoughts from Pooneh Ramezani, DDS
All Dr. Brite oral care products are 100% fluoride-free, they do not include any chemicals. I recommend as a dental professional using a daily fluoride-free toothpaste and to have a professional fluoride treatment performed by your dentist once a year. Don’t expose yourself to fluoride, a neurotoxin according to new studies, on a twice a day basis when brushing at home. Fluoride that is dispensed by a dentist is placed in a tray and then that tray is placed in the patient’s mouth for a minimum of 4 minutes. After the 4 minutes, the tray is removed and all excess fluoride is suctioned out of the patient’s mouth so that no gel is ingested. This method is what is going to help with re-mineralization with no harmful side effects. Then continue to brush, at least twice a day, without a fluoridated toothpaste to prevent potentially harmful accumulation. -- Pooneh Ramezani, DDS
1. Does fluoride really help?
By strengthening the tooth's resistance to acid attacks caused by plaque bacteria and carbohydrates, fluoride helps prevent tooth decay. In addition, it reverses early decay.
2. Can fluoride make your teeth whiter?
Fluoride varnish was introduced into oral care in 1964 and has been widely used ever since. As a tooth protector, varnish protects your teeth and also acts as a whitening agent when applied appropriately, generally twice a year for adults and once a year for children.
3. What are the cons of fluoride?
Fluoride is neurotoxic that, in large quantities, can be toxic. The teeth may yellow from excessive exposure, which can affect bone health. Fluoride is already present in the water at a sufficient level, so no need to add more. Each individual is free to make their own decisions about medicine and health.