All Toothpaste is NOT Created Equal

Bushing our teeth; something most everyone does at least twice a day if not more. (If you’re not brushing at least twice a day we need to be having a conversation about hygiene). We pull out the toothbrush and slather on that minty white or gooey blue/green paste and feel ever so fresh afterwards. But what are you actually putting in your mouth?

We’ve researched the dominant ingredients in the leading brands of mainstream and “natural” toothpaste providers and here’s what we found.

Active Ingredients: Sodium Fluoride

Sodium Fluoride is an inorganic chemical causing a lot of controversy in the drinking (tap) water debate over the past two decades. This chemical is used as an active ingredient in toothpaste because it has been found to increase tooth enamel, the coating on your teeth that protects them from cavities. And, to be clear, we do not agree with drinking water containing sodium fluoride because it has been linked to cancer. The controversy stems from studies that suggest fluoride in drinking water actually has no effect on the enamel of children in poor communities, but rather harm their teeth further. That being said, what about the sodium fluoride in your toothpaste? Well, it does improve tooth enamel BUT it is toxic if ingested.

Now, before we get up in arms about this let’s think about this logically. You are not swallowing toothpaste (if you are, again, we should be having a different conversation). You are essentially using it to coat your teeth while brushing and washing out the excess and remainder.

Active Ingredient: Stannous Fluoride

Let’s take a closer look at the active ingredient, stannous fluoride. Stannous fluoride has been rapidly replacing sodium fluoride as a healthier and safer alternative with less side4159721353_4009792a92_b effects. Stannous fluoride is used to prevent tooth decay and provide protection. It is recommended by the FDA to only get limited exposure, 1 time per day, to this substance to avoid risk of negative reaction. Negative reactions are but not limited to gastrointestinal upset, renal disruption and/or failure, and cancer.

That being said, you are not eating your toothpaste. We found products that contain stannous  fluoride to be essentially safe when used properly and rising thoroughly with one exception; the products that use Polyethylene.

Inactive Ingredient: Polyethylene

Yes, the stuff they make the plastic bottles, tupperware and trash cans out of. They are the little blue sparkles in your toothpaste.  Do not be fooled. This in no way helps your smile, but does more harm by embedding those little devilish sparkles in your gums where they sit trapped for who knows how long.  The remainder is flushed down the drain an into our sewer systems.

Water bottleNow, we do our best to be conscious of the things we put into our bodies inasmuch as we try not to drink out of plastic bottles whenever possible. So, I don’t know about you, but if we’re going out of our way to AVOID plastic due to the negative health effects, why would we use a toothpaste that implants that substance into our gums? Also, those little plastic sparkles don’t dissolve when rinsed down the sink, but rather enter our eco system where they effect our water and wildlife. They are banned in several European countries and we believe staying away from products that contain them is best.

Inactive Ingredient: Propylene Glycol

Propylene glycol is used as a preservative and solvent in your toothpaste. There really aren’t any toxic or concerning effects from this unless you are consuming large quantities of it (and again I say, let’s not eat our toothpaste). It can, although, cause allergic reactions  in some people in small quantities. So, be aware of products containing this if you’re having a mysterious condition or have high environmental sensitivity.

Inactive Ingredient: Titanium Dioxide

Titanium dioxide is what makes your toothpaste white. So, essentially, it’s added only as an aesthetic ingredient, meaning that it doesn’t need to be in it (unless you have a thing for white toothpaste).

This ingredient has been in the news a lot in regards to it’s use in deodorant and sunscreen. You will notice products that are advertised as ‘Titanium Dioxide Free’ because this ingredient has been getting closer to being classified as a carcinogen (cancer causing agent).

Inactive Ingredient: Sodium Lauryl Sulfate

Sodium lauryl sulfate, also known as soap. That’s what this is. It is the thing that causes bubbles and makes your toothpaste all frothy. This ingredient is added to products to help disperse the products in to deeper hard to reach areas or to cover more surface area with the cleaning product.

The jury is still out on this one as there hasn’t been any direct evidence that it causes cancer, but there haven’t been enough studies done to disprove this either. The largest problem with this ingredients is its high instances of contamination with dioxine which IS a carcinogen. Also, there is a strong correlation between this ingredients and hormone imbalance.

So, which toothpaste is best?

Honestly, toothpaste is cosmetic, meaning you don’t necessarily need it. A standard toothbrush with water and a good thorough brushing is all you REALLy need to do. So, the best toothpaste is going to be based on personal preference. Now that you are armed with the knowledge regarding what the main ingredients in your toothpaste do, and how they are helping or hurting your smile and health, you can make an educated decision about your own paste.

Remember with any toothpaste you use, that your mouth is one of the most absorbent areas on your body. Anything that comes into contact with your mouth gets on the fast track to your blood stream. This is why staying away from products that contain even minor irritants is always a good idea.

Also, knowing what those ingredients do might inspire you to make your own toothpaste with a few household ingredients. We have several recipes that we love and the best part is you can make it for pennies on the dollar. If you’d like to make a paste specific to your genotype and what your body needs feel free to contact us and we can discuss the homemade paste option that would be best for you.



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