This can be trickier than it sounds, mostly because there is no legal requirement for companies to put the word “natural” on their labels. They can literally put anything in their product and still call it “natural,” so choosing a truly natural toothpaste requires a little more research on the part of the consumer. Here’s what you need to look out for:
Triclosan is actually a pesticide and the Environmental Protection Agency has declared that it’s harmful to humans and the environment. And yet the chemical is still found in many household products, including toothpaste, so make sure it’s not listed in the ingredients of any toothpaste you buy.
Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS)
SLS is a popular ingredient for many personal care products as a cleanser and detergent, but it can also irritate the skin and/or eyes. If you’ve been noticing that you or anyone in your family tends to break out in a rash when using a particular toothpaste, check to see if it contains SLS and consider switching to a toothpaste that’s truly natural.
Propylene glycol is what helps toothpaste maintain its consistency, but it has also been connected with abnormalities in the brain, kidneys, and liver after repeated exposure.
DEA is a foaming agent that helps give the impression that the toothpaste is doing a great job of cleaning your mouth, even though the foam itself doesn’t actually do anything to get your mouth clean. Studies have found a connection between repeated exposure to DEA and hormone disruption and even cancer.
Glycerin is used to keep toothpaste from drying out, but it also sticks to your teeth, requiring you to rinse as many as 20 times after each brushing to fully dislodge it from your teeth according to Good Teeth, Birth to Deathby Gerard Judd. By hanging onto your teeth, glycerin can actually have a detrimental effect on your teeth by preventing them from remineralizing. It can also get absorbed into your bloodstream through your saliva.
Like glycerin, aluminum can sit on your teeth and be absorbed into the bloodstream through your saliva. Once there, it just accumulates and interferes with your body’s ability to absorb certain nutrients, leading to nutrient deficiencies and a host of other health problems, including aluminum toxicity. There might even be a connection betweenaluminum and Alzheimer’s.
Yes, sugar is in everything these days, even toothpaste. Toothpaste companies know how hard it can be to get kids (and even adults) to brush their teeth regularly, so many of them try to literally sweeten the deal by putting sugar in their toothpaste. Of course, not only does that not help anything, it actually promotes tooth decay, so check the ingredients label of your toothpaste, not only for sugar, but also for anything ending in “ose” (such as sucrose, dextrose, etc.) as those all refer to different kinds of sugar.
You should also look out for labels that say “natural and artificial sweeteners” or “natural and artificial flavors.” Remember, there’s no legal definition of “natural,” so you have no way of knowing what’s really in there. Make sure you only buy toothpaste with ingredients you can pronounce without having to worry about its harmful effects on your body.
If you want to keep your teeth healthy and strong, you must take care of them. At Simply Smiles Dentistry, we can show you how to properly care for your teeth. You will have a great smile that lasts a lifetime.
Until next time…Keep on Smiling!