Well, on the basis of this report on their website it would seem so. They do seem to focus on the negative aspects…
If you want an overview of fluoride, you might like to try this paper from the Expert Group on Vitamins and Minerals (EVM) – and if you’re interested in fluoridation of water, there’s always the systematic review from York Uni. Basically, the evidence suggests it can reduce dental caries, and increase the risk of dental fluorosis (with other potential risks and benefits being less certain). If you look up the executive summary of the York review, the conclusions include this:
The evidence of a benefit of a reduction in caries should be considered together with the increased prevalence of dental fluorosis. The research evidence is of insufficient quality to allow confident statements about other potential harms or whether there is an impact on social inequalities. This evidence on benefits and harms needs to be considered along with the ethical, environmental, ecological, costs and legal issues that surround any decisions about water fluoridation. All of these issues fell outside the scope of this review.
They look at the benefits and the risks. They evaluate the strength of the evidence for the suggested benefits and risks. They provide a balanced overview that attempts to refer to all the factors that might warrant consideration – and they tell you which of these they have addressed themselves. It seems to me to be a pretty thorough overview of the available evidence, and to be fair and balanced.
Here, by comparison, is what WDDTY tell you (or at least told you – I’m not sure how old the WDDTY article is) about fluoride in toothpaste:
Toothpaste can contain amounts of fluoride damaging to adults and lethal to children. Yet, manufacturers are lax about providing warnings or directions about a substance that is almost as toxic as arsenic.
The most damning aspect concerns the types of toothpaste being offered for children.
Fluoride? Damaging. Lethal. Toxic. Toothpaste manufacturers? Lax. Wow, that sounds overwhelmingly negative and actually pretty worrying. In fact, it seems almost chilling.
To examine the levels of fluoride in dental products mainly toothpastes and the level of detail disclosed in the labelling on all products containing fluoride, holistic dentist Tony Lees conducted a survey of the products sold in most of the main outlets supermarkets and major chemists in a typical British city. [...] His findings make a chilling commentary on the fact that toothpaste manufacturers, like most makers of toiletries, are basically allowed to provide the flimsiest of detail about their products.
There we go. Chilling. I was right to feel chilled back there. Vindication for my fear, right there. And from a holistic dentist via a health journal, no less. (They do still refer to their lifestyle magazine as a journal, right?)
At the moment, Tesco are being criticised for stocking WDDTY. (Their line is that the content of the magazine is a matter for the publishers and that Tesco are not moral guardians or censors.) Just for fun, here’s what WDDTY wrote about Tesco:
Tesco’s own brand, Total Care Kids, contains 0.4 per cent sodium monofluorophosphate, which appears to be a standard amount of fluoride contained in kiddy toothpastes. Like most other products, it doesn’t display any evidence of a PL number despite making therapeutic claims. It boasts that the product is “not tested on animals”, which is a good thing for the laboratory monkeys and rats of the world as it contains around 526 ppm of fluoride (26 mg in a 50-ml tube) which can lead to mottling or cavitation of children’s teeth if accidentally swallowed.
Tesco also sells Pearl Drops Smokers toothpaste. The manufacturer has not even bothered to give the percentage of fluoride contained in Pearl Drops presumably because it figures that smokers are already engaging in slow motion self poisoning. Again, there is no warning about accidental overdosing and no PL number displayed.
The only fluoride free toothpastes available at Tesco were Euthymol and Sensodyne Sensitive. There were no fluoride free brands for children.
It looks to me like they are complaining about the composition of Tesco’s own brand toothpaste (and that of other brands stocked by Tesco), about the labelling of the available toothpastes, and about the lack of choice in that there are (or at least were) no fluoride-free toothpastes available for children. Hardly a ringing endorsement. (Luckily for Tesco, I don’t take anything in WDDTY seriously and their online article will play no part in any decision on where I buy my toothpaste.)