Cleaning our teeth is a daily ritual performed by most at least twice a day. It is said to be a good thing to do before sleep and right after getting up and out of bed, because we want to ensure we get rid of the toxins that have built up throughout the day and night. And it’s fair to say if we spend a bit of time each day doing this then we may well need to look at what we are putting onto our pearly whites each and every day.
If you ever take the time to look at the ingredients in commercially made toothpastes and mouth-washes you might be horrified to note the list of chemicals, additives, detergents and sweeteners. Six common ones include Sodium Fluoride, FD & C Color Dyes, Propylene Glycol, Sodium Lauryl Sulphate, Triclosan and Hydrated Silica.
Sodium Fluoride is a main ingredient in toothpaste and rat poison, plus it is a key component in anesthetic, hypnotic and psychiatric drugs. Dentists have been telling us for years that fluoride prevents cavities however there is enough fluoride in commercial toothpastes to kill a small child within 2-4 hours. The warning suggests if you accidentally swallow more than is used for brushing, seek medical help immediately. Minimal ingestion can cause salivation, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. Larger doses may cause paralysis, muscular weakness, convulsions and respiratory and cardiac failure. Fluoride has NEVER been approved by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) and in fact it is now showing that fluoride is causing dental deformities, arthritis, allergic reactions and thousands of unnecessary deaths each year from cancer.
FD & C Color Dyes can trigger behavioral and health problems as well as be carcinogenic, cause kidney tumors and effect thyroid function. Even if these dyes are never swallowed they can be absorbed within seconds through the skin, lips and mucous membranes.
Propylene Glycol is widespread in personal care products as an emulsifier, surfactant and conditioner. It is also an active ingredient in anti-freezes. The Cosmetic Ingredient Review found various impurities in PEG compounds including a known carcinogen ethylene oxide, 1,4-dioxane and heavy metals.
Sodium Lauryl Sulphate (SLS) is considered one of the most dangerous ingredients. Although it is a plant based cleaning agent it is so potent it is used in engine degreasers. It has been shown to induce contact dermatitis and can break down the skins protective barrier, enhancing skin penetration. Sodium Laureth Sulphate is a derivative of SLS that is often used as a gentle alternative like in baby toiletries. Due to the synthesis process it goes through, it has been found to be contaminated with 1,4-dioxane, a suspected carcinogen.
Triclosan is an antibacterial and antifungal agent used in body care, hand washes, toothpastes and cosmetics. Whilst the companies that manufacture triclosan claim it is safe, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has registered it as a dangerous pesticide. It is seen as both a human and environmental hazard. Studies show that triclosan affects hormonal regulation in animals and can contribute to the formation of hazardous by-products such as chloroform (especially when washing hands with water that contains fluoride) and dioxins.
Hydrated Silica is primarily used as an abrasive in toothpaste to remove tartar and make teeth whiter. However it has also been shown to damage tooth enamel and upset the pH balance of the mouth, gums and the tongue.
When it comes to purchasing natural and safe toothpastes or any personal or skin care products look for ones that avoid these ingredients.
Always check the ingredients on the back of any packaging as the front may say something like ‘SLS free’ yet you turn over and see sweeteners and or fluoride included. Or the front may say ‘Fluoride free’ yet it contains coloring ingredients and parabens.
A couple of my personal favorite natural toothpastes include:
Divine by Therese Kerr
Earthpaste Natural Toothpaste
Riddells Creek Original Toothpaste
Oil Pulling is something that is spoken about a lot now too. It is also known as “kavala” or “gundusha,” which is an ancient Ayurvedic dental technique that involves swishing a tablespoon of coconut oil
in your mouth on an empty stomach for around 20 minutes. This action is said to draw out the toxins in your body, primarily to improve oral
health but also to improve your overall health. I personally do not last the full 20minutes but have tried a tablespoon of coconut oil with 1 drop of peppermint or spearmint and have swished for around 5-10minutes. I may not be getting the fullest benefits but it does feel great to do so and I get the impression the longer the better.
If you wanted to make your own toothpaste here is a common recipe you could try.
2/3 cup baking soda
1tsp sea salt
15 drops peppermint or spearmint oil
Filtered water to desired consistency
Mix all these ingredients together until a paste is formed and store in a glass jar in the bathroom.
American College of Toxicity
Eco Man – Malcolm Rands
A Consumers Dictionary Of Cosmetic Ingredients
EWG – Environmental Working Group
Cosmetic Ingredient Review