Is fluoride-free toothpaste better?

Published: June 2014

Q. I see a lot of toothpastes at the store labeled “fluoride-free.” Is there any reason to avoid fluoride in toothpaste?

A. No. In fact, it’s one of the most important ingredients in toothpaste, helping to strengthen tooth enamel and prevent decay. The maximum allowable amounts of fluoride in toothpaste and other products are regulated in the U.S., and labels provide instructions to minimize risks for children, who can get visible streaks on their teeth from swallowing excess fluoride when their teeth are developing. (Reputed links between fluoride and cancer remain unproven.) But do keep the amount of toothpaste for kids small—about pea-sized—to minimize ingestion.

Learn how to squeeze every last morsel out of that toothpaste tube in our video, below. And read our Buying Guide to toothbrushes, both manual and electric. 



Editor's Note:

This article also appeared in the July 2014 issue of Consumer Reports on Health. 


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