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Quote from healthcare.utah.edu, emphasis mine:

Interviewer:

It seems like when you go down the toothpaste aisle now, you're starting to see more and more natural options and a lot of those have no fluoride in them. Are those toothpastes effective?

Dr. Okano:

In terms of prevention of tooth decay, no. The only benefit that you'll gain is a fresher mouth with the natural toothpaste, but you will not receive any benefit against tooth decay if it doesn't have fluoride within it.

Interviewer:

So the act of just cleaning your teeth at the end of the day, scrubbing them with a brush, that doesn't prevent tooth decay? You need to have fluoride?

Dr. Okano:

You certainly need to brush your teeth. The question is, do you need toothpaste to clean your teeth?

Interviewer:

Okay.

Dr. Okano:

You really do not need toothpaste to remove the dental plaque from your teeth. Purely the mechanical action of the toothbrush bristles and your dental floss disrupts the dental plaque that ultimately leads to tooth decay and gum disease. So you really don't need toothpaste. Now, toothpaste does have some benefits. Some will have some whitening agents for those who want whiter teeth with associated concerns, though, with abrasiveness, and sensitivity considerations. You would also have a fresher feeling mouth. But as far as removing the causative factors for tooth decay and gum disease, the toothpaste itself is not as important as purely the mechanical action of your toothbrush and your dental floss.

In other words, he says that non-fluoridated toothpaste is no more effective in tooth decay prevention than mere mechanical brushing. Is this statement true?

  • see also skeptics.stackexchange.com/questions/13550/… – GEdgar Apr 24 '18 at 23:47
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    In particular, this is confusing because the (non-notable claim) that fluoride toothpastes are no longer recommended is highly dubious. We should remove that as a distraction. – Oddthinking Apr 25 '18 at 0:30
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    Instead, find some places where people (e.g. manufacturers?) talk about the [alleged] benefits of non-fluoridated toothpastes (versus nothing, not versus fluoridated ones), so we can address those particular claims. e.g. Do they actually say it helps reduce dental caries, or do they say it reduces enamel wear, or that the peroxide bleaches the teeth for better appearances or do they say the froth makes brushing more fun so you do it longer? – Oddthinking Apr 25 '18 at 0:33
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    "He argues that non-fluoridated toothpaste is not as effective in tooth decay prevention than mere mechanical brushing." - if you mean brushing + non-fluoridated toothpaste < plain brushing, no, he's not saying that. He's saying that the brushing is the main factor when your remove fluoride from the equation, and that the paste does not add any benefit, in that scenario. That's different than saying it detracts. – PoloHoleSet Apr 25 '18 at 16:44
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    To add some additional complexity: There is probably a big difference between the effectiveness of fluoridated toothpaste in countries where the water is already fluoridated, and countries where that is not the case. I have heard it claimed that in countries with fluoridated water the additional fluoride in toothpaste has no effect at all. – DocM Apr 26 '18 at 10:47

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