Natural Toothpaste Dos & Don'ts
We are all too concerned with how white, straight, and dazzling ours are, but do you ever think about what you’re actually putting on them? It may surprise you to know that a lot of what you "look for" in toothpaste to make your smile stand out can be seriously impacting your health.
Keep reading to learn about some of the best natural toothpaste additions, along with the worst!
Sodium Laurel Sulfate
This chemical is found in most brands of toothpaste, and is the ingredient that probably makes you think your brand is doing its job. That’s right, this is what makes a toothpaste get that foamy “clean feeling.” However, it’s actually doing more harm than good. SLS is one of the most irritating skin products out there and is used as a comparison to measure the level of skin irritancy in potential new products. It can leave rashes, irritate mucus membranes, and lasts up to 6 days in the body. Unless you take a week off of brushing, you can never get rid of it, which can lead to other issues with the heart and liver.
This substance, an active ingredient in antifreeze and many other non-food items, is another main component of toothpaste. It’s known as a surfactant, which is what sticks to your teeth and when brushed off, takes food particles and stains with it. However, there is limited research that this is a safe ingredient to use and it certainly doesn’t sound like something I want to be putting in my mouth everyday! Even the EPA requires the workers who handle this to wear gloves to prevent it from being absorbed into the skin.
This lovely additive, found in most hand sanitizers, has been documented as an antibacterial chemical, which admittedly can be helpful in keeping oral bacteria under control, but is really not worth the risk. It has been linked to numerous issues such as antibiotic resistance, cancer, and endocrine disruption. The EPA considers it to be a pesticide and it is a known carcinogen for humans. The FDA is also cracking down on the use of it in many health products. They are now requiring more proof of its benefits and if the company is unable to provide any, these products may be renamed or removed from the market.
There is much debate about this, but Fluoride is also something I strongly recommend staying away from. It has limited evidence supporting its ability to prevent cavities and has been linked to many health problems including dementia, weakened bones, and thyroid problems.
Found as a main ingredient in most sugar-free gum, Xylitol also plays a major role in toothpaste as a rather impressive bacteria killer. It is found in many fruits and vegetables and we even produce it during metabolism. It looks and tastes like sugar, but be careful not to consume too much since it can cause some uncomfortable digestive problems.
Unlike its artificial counterparts, Vegetable Glycerin offers a natural way to get the smooth consistency found in many lotions and toothpastes. It’s produced from various plant oils and makes an amazing moisturizer and smoothing agent to prevent that gritty feeling found in most natural toothpastes.
This is a wonderful additive that is known as a natural teeth whitener. Be careful not to use too much too often because that can lead to enamel issues, but when used sparingly it’s a much healthier and cleaner alternative to other whitening agents!