Most patients know tooth paste is important to proper, adequate dental hygiene.
Unfortunately, our default choices actually puts our dental health at risk.
Sure, they claim to be cavity and gingivitis fighting, whitening, breath freshening and overall safe to use. Isn’t that what we want?
A closer look at the ingredients found in most traditional tooth pastes, however, will reveal that they likely cause more harm than good.
The common, hazardous ingredients in regular tooth pastes include:
- Sodium Lauryl Sulfate
- Titanium Dioxide
- Artificial Sweeteners
Why are these bad?Fluoride may be the ingredient you may have heard the most about. This chemical is found all around us in the air we breathe and the tap water we drink. Fluoride supposedly is the tooth paste ingredient that fights and prevents cavities. This ingredient, however, is in a form that is toxic when too much of it is ingested. In fact, just putting some in your mouth twice a day when brushing your teeth can put you at great risk of dangerous accumulations in the body.
Sodium lauryl sulfate is the ingredient used to create that iconic tooth paste foam. This chemical, however, is an unnatural substance that isn’t found or produced by the body.
Triclosan is a chemical added to tooth paste as an antibacterial agent to fight gingivitis. However, a Mayo Clinic article states that studies have shown that triclosan is often an unnecessary additive that can negatively affect the immune system.
Glycerin is an ingredient in tooth paste that gives it that moist, pasty texture. Glycerin, however, leaves a coating over teeth that keep them from getting essential minerals.
Titanium dioxide is seen by some as carcinogenic. As the mouth is composed of much soft tissue, the tiny particles of this toxic chemical can easily get absorbed into the body, causing damage to its cells.
Artificial sweeteners are compounds that we’re taught to avoid in our diets. Why do we consume them in our tooth paste if they are bad for the body? Sorbitol and saccharin are two such artificial sweeteners that are commonly found in tooth paste.
With all these harmful ingredients in tooth paste, how can one take adequate care of their teeth and gums?
Over the years more natural, and safer alternatives have hit the market.
Here are just a few of the options:
Bicarb soda is the combination of coconut oil, baking soda and peppermint oil. It is easy to make and is a great tooth whitener. Use caution when brushing because of the abrasive nature of baking soda.
Charcoal has been used for thousands of years as a way to clean one’s mouth and whiten one’s teeth. The charcoal naturally binds to toxins in the mouth whereby reducing the bad bacteria that causes tooth decay and gum disease. It is important to only use activated charcoal designed for cooking.
Sea Salt Mouth Wash
Another teeth cleaning alternative is simple sea salt and warm water. To reduce the amount of your fluoride intake, use filtered, bottled water. Limit the amount of sea salt to two teaspoons maximum. Avoid iodized table salt as many of the health-boosting minerals have been taken out.
Gargle with the salt water for 20 seconds and you’re done.
Coconut oil has become a popular, natural alternative for a variety of health and body uses from shampoo to face scrubs. Coconut oil is also a great way to clean and whiten your smile.
Coconut oil is rich in lauric acid, which contains antifungal, antiviral and antimicrobial properties.
Coconut oil can be applied to a toothbrush in a solid state or be “pulled,” or swished in the mouth for 5-20 minutes in its liquid form. For oil pulling, apply two tablespoons of warmed coconut oil directly into the mouth.
When caring for your teeth and gums, you don’t have to be limited to traditional tooth paste which can cause more harm to your dental health than good. Bicarb soda, activated charcoal, sea salt and water and coconut oil are a few natural, safe tooth paste alternatives that are effective in reducing tooth decay and gum disease.