Is Fluoride the New Mercury? 10 Natural Toothpaste Alternatives That Are Playing It Safe

Vouge 2016

Whether it’s part of the tidal wave of new naturals taking over the beauty realm or fluoride’s classification as a neurotoxin (the same eyebrow-raising category that lead, arsenic, and methylmercury fall into) this year, there’s no denying that natural toothpastes are having a moment.

Though it’s long been added to drinking water supplies and used in dentists’ offices, “too much fluoride has always been known to cause a dental condition known as fluorosis, which is a mottling of the enamel in developing teeth,” explains cosmetic dentist Marc Lowenberg, D.D.S., whose Manhattan-based practice counts the Rolling Stones, Iggy Pop, and Brian Eno as its first patients. “Recently, there is great concern that an excess of fluoride will have an impact on neurological tissue.” Some studies have even linked fluoride in drinking water to lower IQ scores in children, and cancer. Lowenberg attests that many dentists are now moving toward natural toothpastes and other dental products that avoid the ingredient until more studies are performed.

So while the jury is still out on the chemical's effects in dental products, those who feel more comfortable with a natural formula have plenty of chic alternatives these days. Whether it’s Germany’s eco-conscious Stop the Water While Using Me!’s sea salt and myrrh-spiked toothpaste or Apa Beauty’s enamel-protecting White Rinse mouthwash, these medicine cabinet staples have never looked so smart.