If you’ve been frustrated by the unhealthy ingredients in most commercially available toothpastes and are looking for alternatives for you and your family, take heart! There are many natural toothpastes with healthy ingredients available in the marketplace. In this article, we’ll tell you what ingredients to look for, and how each one contributes to a healthy mouth and strong teeth.
Why Should I Use a Natural Toothpaste?
Many of the commercial brands of toothpaste that you find in traditional supermarkets and pharmacies contain ingredients that have been found to be toxic. For example, triclosan is an ingredient that is frequently added as an antibacterial agent. However, the FDA has found in studies on animals that high exposure to triclosan can decrease the levels of certain thyroid hormones. It has also been found that there is a connection between triclosan and antibiotic resistance. Sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) is a surfactant which causes the toothpaste to be foamy. However, studies on SLS found links to canker sores and skin irritation. Those are just two common toothpaste ingredients that can be potentially dangerous for your health.
Other toxic toothpaste ingredients include artificial sweeteners like aspartame, which can lead to methanol poisoning, and propylene glycol, another surfactant that is used in antifreeze and aircraft de-icers. Diethanolamine (DEA), a foaming agent, disrupts hormones and, when combined with other ingredients, forms NDEA, a potential carcinogen. Even fluoride, long believed to stop tooth decay, has been found to be toxic when swallowed and allowed to accumulate in the system. These are just some of the compelling reasons to switch your family to a natural toothpaste!
The Benefits of Natural Toothpaste
It is very easy to keep your teeth and mouth healthy with all-natural toothpaste. You can even make your own toothpaste with ingredients such as baking soda, coconut oil and peppermint essential oil. If you want to add some sweetness, you can use stevia, a natural sweetener derived from the leaves of a plant. However, if you don’t have the time to do this, there are many natural toothpastes available. Here are some key ingredients to look for and their properties.
Sodium bicarbonate, otherwise known as baking soda, is a mild abrasive that can effectively remove stains on the surface of your teeth, giving them a whiter appearance. It will remove plaque in addition to deodorizing your mouth. Baking soda is also an antibacterial.
Coconut oil has both antibacterial and antifungal properties, making it a great ingredient for cleaning your teeth. It is the oil richest in lauric acid, which kills pathogens such as fungi, viruses and harmful bacteria. Coconut oil can also combat gum disease, also called gingivitis, and reduce plaque buildup. It’s frequently used as a preventative home treatment called oil pulling.
Made by honeybees from tree and conifer resins and used as a “glue” to seal openings and cracks in their hives, propolis is highly antibacterial and antifungal. This makes it an excellent ingredient in toothpaste. Studies have found that propolis can prevent tooth decay, fight against bacteria, heal bleeding gums, prevent bad breath and keep gums from receding.
Myrrh is a common herb used in toothpaste because of its anti-viral, anti-microbial, antiseptic and astringent properties. It is frequently found along with propolis and baking soda in fluoride-free toothpaste.
Xylitol, naturally occurring in berries, fruit and vegetables and derived from beechwood and birch, helps to reduce plaque and gingivitis, while remineralizing tooth enamel.