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New Fluoride-Free Toothpaste Proves Just As Effective As Traditional Alternatives

Will we all be brushing our teeth with fluoride-free toothpaste in the near future?


Tom Hale


Tom Hale

Senior Journalist

Tom is a writer in London with a Master's degree in Journalism whose editorial work covers anything from health and the environment to technology and archaeology.

Senior Journalist

A woman brushing her teeth in the mirror.

“Hydroxyapatite is a safe and effective alternative to fluoride in caries prevention for daily use,” said one of the researchers.

Image credit: Prostock-studio/

Scientists have been looking to see whether a fluoride-free form of toothpaste can keep teeth healthy and happy. In a new clinical trial of almost 200 people, the newly-developed toothpaste proved to be just as effective as traditional toothpaste. 

Fluoride is perfectly safe in suitable doses and an excellent tool for oral hygiene. However, it can pose some risk to kids who are prone to swallowing toothpaste and consuming too much of the mineral.


In a push to find an alternative, an international team of scientists looked into toothpaste that uses hydroxyapatite, a naturally occurring mineral found in the skeleton. 

While some hydroxyapatite toothpaste is already available on pharmacy shelves, the researchers were keen to see how it compared to fluoride-based toothpaste for adults in a double-blinded randomized clinical trial, especially in regards to protection from cavities. After all, some experts warn against using fluoride-free toothpaste as certain brands are not clinically proven to prevent cavities.

They recruited 189 people aged 18-45 to take part in an 18-month-long study, 171 of whom completed the trial. Half were given hydroxyapatite toothpaste and the other half used fluoridated toothpaste. 

At the end of the trial, they found that nearly 90 percent of patients in both groups had no new cavities, leading them to conclude that hydroxyapatite toothpaste was “not statistically inferior” to fluoride toothpaste when it came to cavities. 


“Hydroxyapatite is a safe and effective alternative to fluoride in caries prevention for daily use,” Professor Elzbieta Paszynska, co-principal investigator and corresponding author of the study from the Poznan University of Medical Sciences in Poland, said in a statement.

The question is: will we all be brushing our teeth with fluoride-free toothpaste in the near future? Not necessarily. Once again, normal doses of fluoride have been widely proven to be safe in adults, so there’s not necessarily a huge incentive to switch.

However, as this study has proven, hydroxyapatite toothpaste could be a useful alternative for adults who are allergic to fluoride or need to avoid fluoride due to medical treatments or certain health conditions. 

“Previously published clinical trials also show the caries-preventing effect of hydroxyapatite in risk groups such as children and patients undergoing orthodontic therapy,” explained Paszynska. “With our new clinical trial, it has been shown that hydroxyapatite prevents dental caries in adults. This is important from a public health perspective.”


The study is published in Frontiers in Public Health.


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