Toothpaste ingredients are not regulated for the most part.
An exception is the fluoride used in fluoride toothpastes since fluoride can be toxic at very high doses.
“Natural toothpastes” as we covered in our last article, are very popular these days. We also discussed that natural toothpastes are often not only not better for your dental health but alone, are simply not good enough.
Yet, despite this information being widely out there in the public domain, people still frequently see the word “natural” and assume that means safer and better for your overall health than other products. With some natural toothpastes and dental products, this could be far from the truth.
If you are determined to opt for a “natural toothpaste” please be cautious and careful. You definitely want to be sure that you’re not choosing an option that is going to be worse for your dental health than better. And as we also discussed in our previous article, you always want to be sure you are getting proper amounts of fluoride for cavity protection.
Before choosing a toothpaste, do your homework.
Natural toothpastes should lack chemicals like parabens, propylene glycol, Triclosan, artificial colors, and artificial sweeteners. Since your lining on the inside of your mouth can absorb the majority of what it comes in contact with, be sure any ingredients that are included are beneficial like minerals.
You also probably didn’t know that many dentists view toothpaste as a cosmetic. Most non-dental professionals have been “trained” to expect certain benefits from toothpaste such as a slippery feeling on the teeth, strong fresh flavor for bad breath, a pleasing color, and sometimes prevention of cavities.
However, while toothpaste is still certainly important to good oral health, the most important aspect is brushing correctly and then flossing every day. Your toothpaste that you choose is important, but less important than those two things.
Before you go all natural, here are some of the more negative ingredients used in a lot of natural toothpastes:
This is soap. Yes, soap. Leading natural toothpastes contain a foaming agent to meet that expectation of being a foaming toothpaste for a “better” clean. This soap is nothing but a chemical bomb to your mouth with harsh chemicals. There are alternatives to surfactants, but they have been found dangerous to ingest. It’s best to stay away all together.
Sodium benzoate is claimed to be safer than other parabens but can cause damage to mitochondrial DNA with a possible link to cancer. Citric acid is a safer alternative and natural but is classified as a genetically modified organism or GMO. Some toothpastes use essential oils and clay to keep the bad bacteria to a minimum.
This is a thickening agent to improve the texture of natural toothpastes and reduce the water content of the toothpaste. Animal studies have shown that swallowing this agent can lead to intestinal inflammation and colon tumors. Adults are much less likely to swallow toothpaste than kids, so try to refrain from buying toothpaste that contains this ingredient for adults but stay far away for kids. This ingredient does not benefit oral health.
Brushing with a glycerin toothpaste is counterproductive because the glycerin is meant to give that slippery clean feeling. This feeling is a coat that is left behind that becomes a magnet for plaque. Glycerin is produced from GMO vegetable oils and has a byproduct of soap production. This is the worst ingredient for oral health.
This is used to remove the debris and stains on teeth by scraping and damaging your tooth enamel. It is actually the very abrasive component of sand. It may even prevent remineralization of the tooth by changing the acidity of your mouth.
If you really want a “natural” toothpaste to go with correct brushing and flossing for dental health, the following natural ingredients are usually safer: clay, edible essential oils, coq10, trace minerals, sea salt, sodium bicarbonate, coconut oil, aloe, neem, and folate. Natural toothpastes with these ingredients may cost a little extra, but it’s well worth the extra for a clean and healthy smile.