Many commercial personal care products are loaded with harmful ingredients, ranging from plastic beads to hormone disruptors. Artificial sweeteners are their own animal, as it were, with every one of them toxic in one way or another.
The tissues in your mouth are especially porous and sensitive and therefore more readily absorb and react to whatever they come into contact with. One would think that anything you put in your mouth should be carefully considered, even something as seemingly simple as toothpaste. This is one of those cases in which you might shake your head in incredulity.
Triclosan is an antibacterial chemical that has been added to soaps, antiperspirants, hand sanitizers, and toothpastes. It has been found to be a thyroid and hormone disruptor (xenoestrogen), allergen, and causes cancer and liver damage. (1, 2, 3) In addition:
“The target we’ve identified [triclosan] has been implicated in the impairment of heart function over a period of time. If an average individual loses 10 percent of their cardiac function, they’re not going to feel it. But if you’re a person with heart disease already at 50 percent of heart function capacity, reducing 10 percent or 20 percent could markedly hurt your health.” (4)
All this and numerous studies with other hazardous conclusions, yet this completely unnecessary chemical is legal and in brand-name toothpastes. Be aware that triclosan is also branded using other names to hide it from the label-reading public:
- Additive B
Don’t Bead It
It took a while but the U.S. Congress passed the Microbead-free Waters Act last year that requires plastic microbeads to be removed from personal care products by June 2017. These little sparkles have been found to get stuck under gums, causing inflammation and infection—sometimes leading to gingivitis. Until next year, however, stay away from them—for yourself and the fish that end up dying from their ingestion. Find a list of some brand name toothpastes that are affected by the new regulation at MotherJones.com.
Fluoride. Enough can’t be said about this toxic chemical. There is no evidence that it actually prevents dental cavities but it has most certainly been proven to be a neurotoxin.
Natural Whitening Toothpaste
- 3 tablespoons baking soda
- 1 tablespoon neem powder
- 3 tablespoons virgin coconut oil
- 1 tablespoon xylitol (if desired, for sweetness)
- 15 drops of mint essential oil
Mix all ingredients in a glass bowl until smooth. Store in a glass jar at room temperature and use like you would any toothpaste.
Neem has been used for centuries in the East for tooth and mouth care. Scientifically found to successfully treat gingivitis and periodontitis, the leaves, twigs, and seeds of this tree serve to kill harmful bacteria that cause cavities and plaque accumulation—out-performing commercial toothpastes. (5, 6)
Baking soda is a gentle abrasive that is effective in removing plaque and stains on teeth.
Coconut oil reduces gingivitis and plaque and is extremely nutritious, with antibacterials and antioxidants for general oral health. It also provides a nice smooth texture to this toothpaste.
Xylitol is a naturally-occurring sugar alcohol found effective in limiting bacterial growth in the mouth, alkalizing saliva pH, and preventing cavities:
“Toothpaste with xylitol led to a decrease in S. mutans colonies in saliva, the amount of secreted saliva, and the increase of pH value. It has a positive effect on the quality of the oral environment and it would be useful introducing it into prophylactic programmes…While these issues of xylitol still need to be expanded, the benefits it offers are literally worth salivating over.” (7)
The mint you choose is according to taste, although wintergreen shouldn’t be ingested so don’t use it if your kids are brushing with this toothpaste. Peppermint and spearmint are potent antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and breath-freshening oils. (8)
Now that’s worth a big, toothy smile.