Fluoride-free Toothpaste Quiz

Staff

4 Min Quiz

Image: refer to hsw

About This Quiz

Yes, fluoride has been shown to significantly prevent tooth decay. But it's also a toxin, many people believe this widespread additive isn't really doing us any favors. Take this quiz to find out how much you really know about your toothpaste and what should be in (or left out of) it.

Chemically speaking, what element is fluoride derived from?

Fluoride is the chemical ion of the element fluorine. Fluoride is the most basic unit of fluorine matter.

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Where can fluoride be found in nature?

Fluoride can naturally be found in water, soil, food and a handful of minerals. Some communities also infuse their drinking water with it.

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What's a benefit of consuming fluoride?

Widespread fluoridation began during the mid-20th century in the U.S., and today it's widely accepted as a means of preventing tooth decay.

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What commonly contains synthetically produced fluoride?

Labs across the U.S. produce synthetic fluoride to put into both toothpaste and supplements prescribed by dentists and doctors. Many municipalities also add it to drinking water.

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If fluoride is so great, what's the benefit of consuming fluoride-free toothpaste?

Fluoride has been shown to significantly prevent tooth decay, but it's technically a toxin. It's generally considered to be OK in small doses, but fluoride-free toothpaste is one way to manage or minimize the amount of fluoride you take in.

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What's the most common problem concerning fluoride-free toothpaste and consuming too much fluoride?

The most common symptom of consuming much fluoride is dental fluorosis, which is a permanent discoloration of the teeth. This is purely a cosmetic problem and does not pose a threat to your health. However, fluoride is a toxin and consuming it in large quantities can be fatal. Luckily, that's hard to do, as not even children can stomach downing multiple tubes of toothpaste, which is what it would take to overdose on the chemical.

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What's an easy way to minimize your fluoride intake?

Using fluoride-free toothpaste is an easy way to lesson your fluoride intake. You may also want to consider limiting your consumption of tap water if you live in an area where it's fluoridated.

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Where is fluoride-free toothpaste available for sale?

You can purchase fluoride-free toothpaste in many of the same places toothpaste with fluoride is sold, such as your local grocery store, specialty markets or online. It does not require a prescription from your doctor or dentist.

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What are some common brands that offer fluoride-free toothpaste?

Burt's Bees and Tom's of Maine are two common brands that offer a number of personal care products, including fluoride-free toothpaste. You can find them in stores like Whole Foods, Sunflower Market or your regular local grocery store.

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What are some of the most alarming claims people have made about fluoride?

Not only has the recommended amount of fluoride been debated for years, so has the topic of the negative effects of fluoride. Some say there is no serious downside, while others blame fluoride for all sorts of problems, including allergies, lower IQs, Alzheimer’s disease and cancer. However, most of these claims are not widely accepted.

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Who thinks people in the U.S. are often getting too much fluoride?

The U.S. government discovered unusually high counts of fluorosis in children. As a result, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced in January, 2011 that it's proposing to lower the recommended level of fluoride in water. The fact that many people are taking in too much fluoride is a commonly held view among the mainstream public.

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What's the difference between regular toothpastes and fluoride-free kinds?

Fluoride-free toothpaste is available at many of the places regular toothpaste is sold, and it's cost is comparable. The main difference is simply the absence or presence of fluoride.

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Who's generally to blame for children consuming too much fluoride?

Dentists have been known to give too much fluoride to patients. Kids in the U.S. often receive extra fluoride supplements, tablets and vitamins as part of their regular dental check-ups.

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Fluoride-free toothpaste is now more mainstream than toothpaste that contains fluoride.

It's commonly accepted that fluoride helps prevent tooth decay, so most people opt for toothpaste with fluoride in it. But there's a growing awareness that we may be getting too much fluoride, and many claim that it's dangerous. Only time will tell whether fluoride-free versions will be the consumers' product of choice in the years to come, but for now, pastes with fluoride are the norm.

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What are common ingredients in homemade fluoride-free toothpaste?

There are many recipes for making your own fluoride-free toothpaste. Coconut oil is a common ingredient because it's naturally antibacterial and antifungal, so it kills harmful bacteria in your mouth. Plus, it's great for your gums. Baking soda is a mild abrasive that neutralizes acids that eat away at tooth enamel.

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If you make homemade fluoride-free toothpaste with a half-and-half ratio of coconut oil and baking soda, how should you store it?

After mixing your homemade concoction completely, store it in a glass container with an airtight lid. It doesn't need to be refrigerated. Because the coconut oil is antibacterial, antifungal and antiviral, the mixture should stay clean and sanitary, as will your toothbrush!

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What factor is not necessary for an effective fluoride-free toothpaste?

Mint and other flavors are added to toothpastes with or without fluoride to make them more palatable. They make brushing a more pleasurable experience, but they aren't necessary.

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What are signs of dental fluorosis?

Dental fluorosis causes teeth to appear discolored or spotted. It's an aesthetic problem, not a health problem.

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Toothpastes made hundreds of years ago were less concerned with _____ than we are today.

Toothpastes used hundreds of years ago were intended to clean stains from teeth, not necessarily to improve the health of one's choppers. Although fluoride-free toothpastes evolved in part to help people avoid a purely cosmetic problem with discolored teeth, there is a much greater emphasis on oral health and hygiene than ever before.

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When can you start to use fluoride-free toothpaste?

Fluoride-free toothpaste is available over the counter, so you can start to use it immediately.

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