Would you put lye in your mouth? How about engine degreaser? Or anti freeze? YUCK! I certainly wouldn’t. But you might be surprised to learn that you probably do exactly that several times a day; that is, if you use conventional toothpaste.
Dangerous Ingredients in Toothpaste
Here are some of the dangerous or harmful ingredients I avoid in toothpaste. You may be starting to recognize some of these ingredient names; they appear in many products. By listing these ingredients over and over, I hope you will be able to recognize them on ingredient labels – and then avoid them.
- Sodium lauryl sulfate, sodium laureth sulfate*: Active ingredient in garage floor cleaners and engine degreasers.
- Propylene glycol*: Main ingredient in anti freeze.
- Artificial colors
- Fluoride: One type is Sodium Monofluorophosphate
- Artificial sweeteners: Manufacturers use artificial sweeteners to mask the bitter taste of the chemicals in toothpaste. They could mask this with sugar, but that would kind of defeat the point. One example is Sodium Saccharin.
- Sodium Hydroxide: This is the chemical name for lye (drain cleaner)
- Silicates: Many conventional toothpastes use silicates (sand), which can brush away your tooth enamel. Hydrated Silica is an anticaking agent that bioaccumulates in people and wildlife. It’s the same stuff as those packets of silica gel that come with electronic gear; the ones that are labeled DO NOT EAT.
- Tetrasodium Pyrophosphate: Animal studies have found that it impacts the brain and nervous system at low doses.
- Glycerin: Glycerin in toothpaste coats the enamel and prevents natural re-mineralization. Toothpastes with large amounts of glycerin require over 20 washes to remove the glycerin so teeth may have a coating of glycerin at all times.
- Sodium benzoate: Used as a preservative, it is linked to recurring urticaria (rash), asthma, and eczema as well as hyperactivity.
*You can read my article on toxic ingredients in hand soap to read the descriptions of these ingredients.
To Fluoride or Not to Fluoride
I understand that calling fluoride ‘bad’ might be a new idea to some of you. After much research we have found fluoride too dangerous for our health so we opt to not ingest it or use it in any form. For more information, you can read the article I wrote on the dangers of fluoride; there is a lot of information in it and you may be surprised by it all.
With that said, I understand that there are some people who still want fluoride in their toothpaste, but want to find one without all those other yucky ingredients. The natural toothpaste products below will have both options: with fluoride and without.
What You Need in A Toothpaste
Cleaning your teeth only requires a type of soap, some water, and some brushing action. Mike Adams from NaturalNews.com has a good article on natural dental products.
Natural Toothpaste Options for Adults
When looking for natural toothpaste options, don’t forget to check the Skin Deep Cosmetics Database from Environmental Working Group (EWG). Here are some of the top options:
- JASON: Some flavors/versions have fluoride and some don’t. Some flavors/versions score higher than others. You have to read labels. Some of their PowerSmile and NutriSmile versions get a 2 on the Skin Deep Cosmetics Database.
- Tate’s The Natural Miracle Toothpaste: Although not rated in EWG’s database, the simple ingredients tell me this would be a great product: Mountain spring water, calcium carbonate, peppermint, spearmint, sage, ratany root, geranium, clove stem, birch tree extract, eucalyptus leaf oil, papaya extract. It is fluoride free, sugar free, no saccharin, no artificial sweeteners.
- Toothsoap: This received the best rating (0) on EWG’s database. It’s formulated specifically for brushing your teeth; the ingredients are specially formulated soap made from saponified coconut, palm, extra virgin olive oils, and pure essential oil. It comes in shreds or drops. Simply put a few drops in your mouth and brush with a wet toothbrush. You can buy Tooth Soap on Amazon.com.
- Dr. Christopher’s Herbal Tooth & Gum Powder: This powder can be used in place of toothpaste; simply wet toothbrush, dip into powder, and brush. Ingredients are: Horsetail, Peppermint, White Oak Bark, Cloves, Prickly Ash Bark, Bayberry Bark, Slippery Elm Bark, and Stevia. You can buy Dr. Christopher’s Herbal Tooth & Gum Powder on Amazon.com.
- Miessence: Free from fluoride and other dangerous ingredients. Contains baking soda and many organic ingredients like essential oils.
- Healing-Scents: Free from fluoride and other dangerous ingredients. Ingredients include baking soda and essential oils.
We use JASON Oral Comfort Gel, which doesn’t have fluoride in it (or many other dangerous ingredients), but I see that it gets a 4 rating on the Skin Deep Cosmetics Database. (I might have to find something better.)
You many notice that some common natural brands of toothpaste didn’t make my list (like Tom’s of Maine). Many ‘natural’ brands still contain undesirable ingredients. You really do have to read labels on everything!
Make Your Own Natural Toothpaste
Another option for natural toothpaste is to make your own; it may be easier than you think! Here are some links to recipes for making your own toothpaste:
- Coconut oil and baking soda toothpaste recipe
- 8 recipes for tooth powder, toothpaste, and tooth cleansers
- Whiten teeth with strawberries and baking soda
Natural Toothpaste Options for Children
Here are a few natural toothpaste options for children. Again, you can look on the Skin Deep Cosmetics Database from Environmental Working Group (EWG) to see ratings for these natural options, as well as compare your current brand’s rating:
- Earth’s Best Toddler Toothpaste (by JASON): Rating a 3 on EWG’s database, this toothpaste is fluoride free (but does contain glycerin).
- Weleda Children’s Tooth Gel: Rating a 3 on EWG’s database, this product was developed in cooperation with European dentists and is safe to swallow (according to the product description). It is fluoride free (but does contain glycerin).
- Kiss My Face Kids Toothpaste: The fluoride-free version rates a 3 on EWG’s database; the fluoride version rates a 4. Both versions contain glycerin and hydrated silica.
- JASON Natural Cosmetics Kids Only Toothpaste (Orange and Strawberry): Rating a 2 on EWG’s database, they do have one ingredient I didn’t like: Sodium Lauroyl Sarcosinate. It is fluoride free (but does contain glycerin).
Because they are so pure, I would feel comfortable using these adult toothpastes with my child: (Does anyone know why one shouldn’t?)
BPA / PVC / Phthalate Free Children’s Toothbrushes
While we are talking about dental care, check out this great list of BPA/PVC/Phthalate Free children’s toothbrushes compiled by one of my favorite sites, Safemama.com.
Wendy – ParentingTips365.com
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