Allergic to Fluoride?

Dear Dr. Ellie,

Is it possible to be allergic to fluoride?

My daughter’s gums had been red and inflamed for a very long time. Everyone always thought this was due to poor brushing. Her dentist recommended original Crest toothpaste to try to control the tissue sloughing my daughter was experiencing. This did not help. I wondered if she was sensitive to the sodium lauryl sulfate in the toothpaste. I found a “natural” toothpaste without this, but it also did not contain fluoride. I was my understanding that she would continue using the Prevident prescribed for the numerous decalcifications caused by poor brushing before and during wearing braces. With the new toothpaste, her gums improved within a week, and looked healthy after two weeks. When I commented on this, she told me she was also not using Prevident. I was concerned about cavities because of the deteriorated condition of her teeth.

At her next cleaning, her dentist was happy with the condition of her teeth, but skeptical that she was allergic to fluoride. My daughter did not want the paint on fluoride treatment, but I asked her to get it as an experiment. Within hours, her gums became red. The next morning, they were almost back to the way they were before. She refuses to use anything containing fluoride from now on.

Is there anything she can use to remineralize her teeth without fluoride?


Dear CB:

There are many kinds of fluoride some occur naturally and some are “unusual” and man-made. Fluoride concentration is also important. I would only recommend sodium fluoride at a concentration of 0.05%.

Prevident and many other dentist recommended fluoride pastes are much stronger than this and often contain other kinds of fluoride (I do not recommend stannous fluoride in Pro Health Crest, for example).

It is a proven fact that stronger fluoride works in a different way from dilute concentrations.
The strong fluorides inactivate bacteria but your daughter does not need this effect.

Lower dilute concentrations encourage remineralization and protection of teeth. My favorite rinse to recommend is ACT original anticavity rinse (not Restore and not any store brand look-alike)!

I think your daughter will be very sorry if she allows demineralization to scar and spoil her teeth.
The use of the ACT rinse with Zellies xylitol mints (fruit or mint flavor) will help her teeth repair and stay healthy. This very weak dilution will not cause gum problems people of all ages love the results they see when they use this rinse.

I would suggest Zellies xylitol mints after drinks, meals and snacks. Make sure your daughter is eating about 12 mints each day, spaced through the day (they are even safe to eat at night!)

The ACT rinse should be used morning and night after brushing. I would suggest also the use of Closys mouth rinse before brushing. Start with these changes and if this feels good and gives good results consider using the Complete Mouth Care System.

Make sure you keep toothbrushes clean every day. Make sure the whole family understands that gum disease and cavity bacteria grow on toothbrushes and can spread from one family member to another just by sharing food or kissing.

I hope this helps, I am sure you will see superb results in about a month if you give the Closys and ACT a try.

I would suggest you experiment again with Crest Original paste (Do not use any paste with whitening or tartar control Do not use Pro-Health only use the Crest Original). Use a small amount to see (now that her gums are healthy) if Crest has any negative effect.

My guess is that it was more likely some additive (whitening, tartar control or Pro Health Crest) that caused the swelling, or it may have been connected with dry mouth, allergies or a sinus-related infection there may have even been a stress or hormonal connection.

I do not think Crest Original could cause gum problems. I love this toothpaste best of all!

Please let me know the outcome I am very interested to know if you try these suggestions and what the outcome is.

Ellie Phillips, DDS

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  • Greg says:

    I'm near-confirmed to be allergic to crest regular paste.

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