Is the fluoride in your toothpaste affecting your skin?

Once in a while, I will have a patient coming in with a rash around their mouth that I usually always pegged to allergic reactions or flares – but it’s been frustrating not being able to pinpoint a particular cause. Recently, however, I ran across an interesting tidbit that I never thought to mention to my patients up until now – how much fluoride does their toothpaste contain?

I know what you must be thinking – what does brushing your teeth have to do with it? Well, this ‘rash’ known as perioral dermatitis is common in women aged 20-30, and causes a reaction around the mouth as well as bumps around the eyes. Although it is not fully linked to fluoride content in toothpaste, if you have it, you should consider these two elements of your toothpaste as contributing factors:

Mint flavoring

I believe that some of my patients are allergic to the mint flavouring in toothpaste, which can cause said rash as well as flakiness around the mouth. Unfortunately, this is hard to avoid in any toothpaste, but there are several non-mint toothpastes available in the US that you should consider if you know you’ve had a reaction to mint in the past, or want to figure out if this may be the root of your perioral dermatitis.

Fluoride content

Fluoride is used in toothpastes to prevent tooth decay, and the specific fluoride content is usually indicated on the tube or box, although it can be hard to find – so look closely! You may even find it in the ingredients section.Because there’s already fluoride in water, if that’s the cause of your rash, you should try to reduce the fluoride content in your toothpaste. If you’re having a hard time finding one with low content, you could actually try the children’s toothpaste section… Young infants and children under two years use low fluoride toothpaste (1000-1500 ppm), and you can too if you need to!

In general, it’s best to keep toothpaste or the foam in your mouth and you should avoid spreading it around your face. Having said all of this, remember that I’m not a dentist – so before you make any big changes, I would highly recommend consulting your dentist to hear their thoughts and suggestions. Best of luck!

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