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Xylitol, Glycerin & Fluoride in Toothpaste

Originally posted 2010; Updated Feb. 2016.

Q.  I don't care if anyone sees this question, I just didn't know where to ask it. I just recently started to become even more aware of my toothpaste ingredients when I was reading up on oil pulling. Before this I was using a natural brand of flouridated toothpaste. I have recently been using all natural soap and I have found a toothpaste that is flouride and glycerine free. The reason for this is because I read that glycerine can coat the teeth and prevent remineralization and flouride is bad too. My teeth have actually never felt cleaner and I've only been doing it for a few days, I just have this fear that by not using flouride my teeth are going to get cavities. I know it may not be true, but I feel that way because the media tells you to feel that way. I just wanted to know your thought on the subject and maybe some reassurance that I'm doing the right thing. I hope all that made sense. Thanks!


Have you ever thought about developing a REAL all natural toothpaste? I have tried to find an ALL natural one but I have not had any luck. What's your take on fluoride and xylitol ?


A.  Thanks for your questions about toothpaste! 

Regarding glycerin in toothpaste: While there are a lot of websites that say that glycerin coats teeth and leads to decay/sensitivity, etc, there is absolutely no research or basis in chemistry or biology to back this up. It all started with a rumor that one dentist running a website started. Glycerin is highly soluble in water, so if it were left on your teeth from a toothpaste, it would easily dissolve in your saliva. Additionally, the surfactants and abrasives present in the toothpaste formula, plus the brushing mechanism would remove any glycerin. Finally, glycerin is its own preservative and bacteria can't grow in it; if anything glycerin would help protect teeth due to its bacteriostatic action. 

Regarding fluoride:
Unlike other ions like sodium, calcium, fluoride is not a nutrient that your body needs. Your body only sees it as a toxin. It can have a protective effect on teeth, however, the side effects of fluoride are numerous and too much fluoride can actually damage your teeth (called fluorosis.) Fluoride levels can actually make your hair fall out. (See this article.) 

Regarding xylitol:
Xylitol is a sugar alcohol that has a significant amount of research behind it regarding safety and efficacy in slowing tooth decay. Here are a few studies:

Xylitol has been found to improve bone health:
Xylitol has been found to be safe for the liver:
Xylitol has been found to have antidiabetic effects:
and to help improve insulin resistance:

I'll be writing more about it over on our sister site,

One word of caution with xylitol--if you have dogs make sure that they don't get a hold of anything that contains it. While it is safe for humans, in dogs it can create unsafe spikes and drops in their blood sugar and can be lethal depending on the dose, size of dog, and their individual blood sugar responses. 

Reader Comments (11)

This is entirely anecdotal, but it's my anecdote, so I'll tell it ;P Ever since I got my adult teeth in, everytime I went to the dentist I found out I had at least one new cavity. This is despite taking meticulous care of my teeth. Seriously, when I was fifteen, I used the money from my summer job to buy dental care kits. My dentists would always say as soon as I opened my mouth that they could tell I took wonderful care of my teeth, but as soon as those x-rays were developed... oops, a new cavity. As I reached my adult years, I started to develop tooth sensitivy (though NOT a wearing down of the enamel from my dental attentions ;) ). I tried sensitive teeth formulas and everything, then I decided to try the more natural, flouride-free, SLS-free toothpastes. After a couple of more tooth sensitivity! Now it's been going on a few years and guess what? I haven't had a cavity since! I haven't been nearly as meticulous to my tooth care, though I still floss every day and brush at least twice. I apologize for the long story, but if it helps inform your decision, then I'm glad.

Sat, September 18, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterThreewolfy

Can someone please tell me the brand names of glycerin-free toothpastes? I haven't been able to find any on the web.
Thanks, Diane

Wed, December 15, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterDiane

Miessence toothpaste has the highest organic content that I've found, and no glycerin:

Wed, December 15, 2010 | Registered Commenter[Stephanie Greenwood]

We avoid fluoride at all costs! I'm trying to find out more about glycerin though, no on seems to have any facts on whether or not it's true.

We use Tooth Soap from

Mon, January 17, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterDarlene

I also got confused about fluoride before, so I went to my Fort Mill dentist to confirm things. As far as I can remember, I was told that too little and too much of fluoride is bad, so it should always be in moderation. That's why there are clinics like his that offer fluoride treatment. If you use it in the correct way, it can actually prevent tooth decay.

Sun, March 20, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKristen Marlin

This is one example of a good toothpaste.

Mon, February 6, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJeremy

I have found "White Coral" toothpaste to be a great, fluoride / SLS / glycerin free toothpaste:

Mon, November 26, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterNeil O'Brien

Update on Coral White from Coral LLC - This toothpaste is no longer Glycerin free. They have caved and are now adding Glycerin to their toothpaste. The only other toothpaste I know of now that does NOT contain Fluoride or Glycerin is made by Redmonds.

Mon, February 23, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterJanet

We offer a toothpaste on our website over at Bubble & Bee that happens to be glycerin-free. It's called earthpaste

Thu, February 11, 2016 | Registered Commenter[Stephanie Greenwood]

This is an old post but Jade Bloom has THE BEST natural toothpaste ever. It has NO glycerin, NO fluoride, and NO SLS, but contains: Coconut oil, Cocoa Butter, Calcium Silicate, Calcium Hydroxyapatite, Baking Soda, Xylitol, and pure essential oils. These are all good ingredients for your teeth.

Thu, June 22, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterAlex

Uncle Harry's toothpaste is glycerin, fluoride, SLS and all toxic ingredient free! And the stuff is beyond amazing! My mouth has NEVER felt cleaner and it has actually completely reversed some of my cavities and is re-growing my tooth enamel, which isn't even supposed to be possible! I am totally hooked! The ingredients are all from the earth too, essential oils, clay, sea salt, etc, and they remineralize your mouth. I couldn't be happier. It sounds weird, but I've tried every flavor, and the cinnamon is my favorite! The tooth powder also ROCKS though.

Thu, July 20, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterJordan

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