No f-word here! Just elderberries

3 minute read

I’m going back to salt and a pumicestone for white, bright teeth. It’s simpler.

I’m always on the lookout for a new toothpaste, readers.  

I blame my mother, who in my youth spent in the UK, introduced me to a range of flavoured toothpastes that, if they didn’t actually rot my teeth directly, certainly gave me a taste for all things sugary. 

That’s the pharmaceutical-industrial complex for you. Clean your teeth, rot your teeth, fix your teeth, clean your teeth. An endless cycle of profit. 

Fortunately, I was born and spent my (dental) formative years in Birmingham, a scrappy industrial black hole in the midlands of the UK. Brummy’s claim to fame was to be one of the first European cities to fluoridate its water. 

I’ve always thought that was a very good thing and it’s a view backed up by my own dental health, which has generally been pretty good. 

But in my search for a new toothpaste I have come across a strange and boggling phenomenon – a toothpaste that touts its lack of fluoride as a selling point. 

“Radius cares about what goes into your toothpaste,” the website says. “No fluoride or SLS here!” 

It might as well have said “by golly” at the end.  

What’s wrong with fluoride, I hear you ask. So, I googled that very question just so you don’t have to, readers. 

Turns out it depends who you believe. Surprise! 

Back in the 1950s and 1960s, conspiracy theorists claimed fluoridation of water supplies was a GODDAMN COMMUNIST PLOT, don’t ya know. 

The Christian Scientists, libertarians, the John Birch Society, Green parties in the UK and New Zealand all say fluoridating the water supply is a violation of an individual’s right to have rotten teeth if they want to, so there. 

Systematic reviews say the evidence for fluoride’s benefits has been overstated. Then again there are plenty of reviews saying the risks have been overstated as well. 

Despite all that, national and international health agencies and dental associations throughout the world have endorsed water fluoridation as safe and effective. Despite the John Birch Society, as late as 2014 three-quarters of the US population was getting fluoridated water. 

Our very own AMA backs it.  

You can get fluoride poisoning, apparently. Sometimes, like in North Carolina in 2010, too much fluoride can get released into the supply over too short a time. 

Sometimes it occurs naturally in concentrations so high it can cause dental fluorosis and weakened bones.  

In which case, pick Radius, ladies and gents. No fluoride here! 

By the way, Radius caught my attention not because it lacks the F-word, but because it has an “immune support” toothpaste collection. 

No fluoride but heaps of triple-action elderberry, vitamin C, and vitamin E.  

“Why not do a little more with your daily routine and add a little immunity power to your everyday brushing?!” says the website. 

Why not indeed.  

“We don’t stop there, help prevent cavities with hydroxyapatite (HAp)!” 

Given hydroxyapatite is a whitener, it surely can only make cavities visually appealing. 

But who am I to question the dental industrial complex, ladies and gentlemen?? 

Smile winningly at if you have a story idea. 

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