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When it comes to our pearly whites, we don't mess around. We've tried teeth-whitening kits, DIYs—even veneers—that promise to deliver a brighter-looking smile. So, we found it only fair to find out what the deal is with the semi-controversial topic of fluoride-free toothpaste.
According to Giacomo Favero, a cosmetic dental surgeon, clinician, and researcher, "Fluoride [in toothpaste] is a chemical mixture that contains a wide array of chemicals, putting this substance in category four of the scale of the hazardous materials." He continues, "This is the highest and most dangerous rating a substance can receive." What's more, Favero told us that the evidence is no longer clear on whether fluoride helps prevent cavities.
Research conducted by the National Institute of Dental Research (NIDR) of the United States Public Health Service (USPHS) mirrors these sentiments. They found that after analyzing data from over 39,000 schoolchildren from 84 different geographical areas in the US broken into three groups (those who had been fluoridated for 17 years or more; had never been fluoridated, or had been only partially fluoridated or fluoridated for less than 17 years) there was no relationship between tooth decay rates and fluoridation. (Interestingly, tooth decay rates were lowest in a non-fluoridated area.)
With this information in mind, we decided to round up the best fluoride-free toothpaste on the market.
Best Overall: Schmidt's Activated Charcoal Toothpaste
This activated charcoal-based toothpaste works to freshen your breath, whiten your teeth, and combat plaque buildup every time you brush. Unlike most other charcoal toothpaste, it's not black, but rather a light grey, and has an enticing minty flavor so you're not left with a bitter aftertaste. It also contains superfood extracts, organic aloe leaf juice, magnolia bark extract, and vitamin E to promote oral health.
Best Budget: Hello Oral Care Antiplaque + Whitening Fluoride Free Toothpaste
Hello thoughtfully formulated this natural toothpaste with only the best ingredients like soothing aloe vera, stevia, and a silica blend that works together to clean and whiten the teeth. In addition to being fluoride-free, the paste is free of artificial flavors, dyes, microbeads, parabens, and gluten. Even better? It's vegan and never tested on animals.
Best Whitening: Tom's of Maine Antiplaque Natural Whitening Toothpaste
Glycerin is a naturally occurring compound in the body; in topical skincare, it is derived from plants. It functions to draw water to the skin and continue hydrating it, making it a great ingredient for extreme dryness.
Naturally-derived ingredients like glycerin, peppermint oil, and zinc citrate combine in this plaque-fighting toothpaste from Tom's. It whitens your teeth by removing surface stains while simultaneously cleaning the teeth and gums.
Best Luxury: Marvis Classic Strong Mint Toothpaste
Imported from Florence, Italy, this toothpaste will make you feel ultra-fancy every time you brush. It's designed to clean and whiten while protecting against tooth decay, tartar, and plaque. Not to mention the chic packaging you can feel proud displaying on your bathroom counter.
Best Organic: Dr. Bronner's All-One Toothpaste
Brushing with this toothpaste might feel different at first because it doesn't contain synthetic foaming agents like most traditional toothpaste. Instead, it's made with 70% organic ingredients like coconut oil and stevia. The vegan, cruelty-free formula works to leave your mouth, teeth, and gums fresh and clean.
Best for Fresh Breath: Jason Healthy Mouth Tartar Control Flouride-Free Toothpaste
Tea tree oil is the star ingredient of this fluoride-free option. Its antimicrobial and antiseptic properties work to keep the mouth clean and protect against plaque and tooth decay. Beyond keeping your teeth and gums healthy, the formula contains clove and cinnamon oils to keep your breath fresh.
Best Flavor: Aesop Toothpaste
The distinct flavor of this toothpaste definitely sets it apart. The formula combines sea buckthorn, cardamom, and wasabia japonica to leave you with clean, refreshed teeth and gums.
Runner-Up, Best Flavor: Desert Essence Tea Tree Oil Toothpaste
Desert Essence promises this formula will leave you with that coveted "clean-mouth feeling." Its tea tree oil discourages the growth of bad-breath causing bacteria as it cleans the teeth. Users also love the flavor from its peppermint essential oil.
Best Natural: Davids Natural Whitening Toothpaste
This whitening formula contains high-quality natural ingredients that fight plaque and freshen breath. And you can say goodbye to wasted toothpaste thanks to the included tube key which allows you to get every last bit of product out.
Best Vegan: Kiss My Face Triple Action Gel Toothpaste
Aloe vera is a naturally derived ingredient known for its soothing and moisturizing properties. The aloe plant's inner gel mucilage (the part that's used in skin care products) is made up of 99.5% water.
In this case, triple-action refers to removing plaque, whitening, and preventing tartar build-up––three essential benefits. It's made with tea tree oil, aloe vera, olive leaf extract, and peppermint, and delivers a cool mint flavor. And an added bonus? It's free from triclosan and sodium lauryl sulfate, two chemical ingredients that are often found in other toothpaste.