Oral health is absolutely critical since it affects every single area of your body, not just your teeth. When plaque builds up and cavities set in, you can quickly develop gum disease, infection, and other health issues that negatively impact your quality of life and force you to spend far too much time in the dentist’s chair.
If you already understand the value of oral health and are a brushing fanatic, make sure to use your fluoride-laden mouthwash every night, and floss with fervent zeal, you may still not be doing your teeth and gums any favors. Evidence suggests that many ingredients in commercial toothpaste are dangerous and could prove harmful to the body. Here are just a few common additives to avoid and how to make your own natural toothpaste.
Fluoride: There is perhaps no more controversial ingredient in dental care products than fluoride. This chemical has the unique ability to prevent tooth decay and is added to water, toothpaste, mouthwash, and standard dental cleaning pastes at the dentist. It is technically found in nature in trace amounts; however, the widespread, excessive use of fluoride has caused many to question its safety since it is dangerous in large quantities. It can build up in the body over time and may lead to severe issues such as skeletal fluorosis and dental fluorosis. These conditions affect the appearance of the teeth and damage bone health. Though these diseases are not common in the United States, where the fluoride exposure levels are considered safe, it seems appropriate to seek out less dangerous options for preventing tooth decay and avoid fluoride when possible.
Added sweeteners: We expect toothpaste to taste appealing, which means that manufacturers fill tubes with artificial sugars and flavorings like sorbitol, sodium saccharin that serve no purpose whatsoever and could be harmful. There are ways to sweeten toothpaste to make it more palatable, but poison isn’t the answer.
Triclosan: Triclosan is added to many antibacterial soaps and other products to help prevent bacterial contamination. However, due to recent research connecting it to a decrease in thyroid hormones and increased antibiotic resistance, manufacturers have begun leaving it out of body wash, soap, and toothpaste. Avoid using anything with triclosan in the ingredients.
These are just a few of the many harmful ingredients lurking in your toothpaste. If you still aren’t convinced that it’s time to bite the bullet and switch to a natural option, grab your current toothpaste and start researching the ingredients. You’ll be shocked by what you find.
Natural Toothpaste (that doesn’t taste disgusting)
So many homemade toothpaste recipes are full of way too many complicated ingredients and abrasive elements that can erode your tooth enamel. This simple and safe recipe tastes just like traditional toothpaste and can even be added to a squeeze bottle for easy application.
- 1/2 cup coconut oil
- 2-3 Tbsp baking soda
- 2 small packets of stevia powder
- 15-20 drops of peppermint or cinnamon essential oil
- 10 drops myrrh extract, optional
Xylitol can be substituted for stevia if desired, as there is some evidence that it could help decrease bacteria and tooth decay.
- Soften coconut oil in a small dish
- Add other ingredients and stir well to combine
- Transfer mixture to a shallow glass jar and let cool.
- Dip the toothbrush into the paste so that a small amount sticks to the bristles. It may help to keep a small spoon near the jar to break up hardened coconut oil.
- It is a good idea to keep the toothpaste out on your counter so that it is softened by the heat from the shower.
- Prepare separate jars for each member of your family to prevent cross-contamination and keep bacteria spread to a minimum.
Remember, good oral hygiene means brushing your teeth at least twice per day for two minutes and flossing daily. Continue regular, twice-yearly checkups to the dentist and consult with a natural dentist if you are unsure of the cavity-preventing capabilities of natural toothpaste. If you’re not up for the DIY option, search for a natural toothpaste with ingredients you can understand.
When did you decide to switch to natural toothpaste? Have you found any brands or recipes that work? Let us know in the comments below.