What is it?
Sodium fluoride is one of three types of fluoride recognized by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to help prevent dental cavities.
What does it do?
Fluoride toothpaste safely and effectively helps to prevent tooth decay, when formulated correctly and used as directed. Fluoride helps diminish demineralization of tooth enamel and even enhances the remineralization of potential decay spots, strengthening the enamel.
How is it made?
In its free elemental form, fluoride is a trace mineral (like iodine) called fluorine. Fluoride can be found in both fresh and seawater, in food (e.g., fish, tea), and in the bones of our bodies. In nature, it is found only in compound forms, such as the ore fluorspar (calcium fluoride) in soil and rock. To form sodium fluoride, hydrogen fluoride (derived from fluorspar) is neutralized by sodium hydroxide from brine, and dried into a powder.
What are the alternatives?
Fluoride is currently the only active ingredient in toothpaste that is regulated by the FDA, per the Anticaries Drug Products for Over-the-Counter Human Use, Final Monograph, to help prevent cavities and there are no other ingredients that can make a cavity prevention and enamel strengthening claim. The FDA recognizes three types of fluoride: sodium monofluorophosphate, sodium fluoride, and stannous fluoride and regulates the levels at which they can be included in toothpaste formulations.
Tom’s of Maine uses two types of fluoride, depending on product formulation and what can and cannot be used with certain ingredients.
For consumers who do not wish to use an anti-cavity toothpaste, Tom’s of Maine also produces a line of fluoride-free toothpaste. We feel it is important to offer individuals a choice and trust that they will work with their dental care professionals to establish an oral care regimen that is right for them.
Is this the right option for me?
Sodium fluoride is recognized by the European Community (EC) and the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as safe and effective as an anti-cavity agent in oral care products. The safety of fluoride has been reviewed extensively by the National Research Council (NRC, 2006), Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR, 2003), the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA, 2005, 2008), the Scientific Committee on Cosmetic Products and Non-Food Products (SCCNFP, 2003), the Scientific Committee on Consumer Products (SCCP, 2005), and International Agency for Cancer Research (IARC, 2002).
Tom’s of Maine recognizes that no two people are alike, and even with naturally derived ingredients, some individuals may develop an allergic reaction that is unique to them. As with any product, be sure to discontinue use if you experience discomfort or other indications that the product may not be appropriate for your individual body chemistry.