Make The Swap | Natural Toothpaste
Image | Lesley Juarez
When you first decide to 'make the swap' over to clean beauty and natural skincare, we understand you can easily feel swap-verwhelmed. You've checked skincare off the list, only to realise there’s makeup, deodorant, hair care, pet care, feminine hygiene, household cleaning products and even dental care. The flip side is we now have choices! In the same way that options for natural deodorant and makeup were few and far between, natural dental care products were virtually unheard of several years ago. Fast forward one clean-beauty-movement later and we have at our fingertips a range of effective, natural alternatives that enable us to make better, safer choices for ourselves and our kin. By making the swap to natural dental care, not only will you avoid chemicals and synthetics but you'll reap the benefits of stronger healthier gums, a balanced mouth environment, fresher breath, improved digestion and naturally whiter pearly whites.
What’s wrong with the humble supermarket toothpaste you ask? Let’s take a look at some common ingredients found on the back of a standard commercial toothpaste tube and why we might want to avoid them.
Sodium Fluoride and Sodium Lauryl Sulfate are the two we hear about most often and both accumulate in the body over time. The use of Fluoride in oral care products is as controversial as it is widely accepted and endorsed by the dental industry. IN 2014 fluoride officially made the list of known Neurotoxins, as published by prestigious Medical Journal The Lancet, alongside lead, arsenic and mercury. Its use is associated with developmental neurotoxicity and links with Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and other ‘cognitive impairments’.
Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) and Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES) are used in everything from cosmetics and cleaning products to toothpaste. It’s emulsifying action removes dirt and oil and creates a foaming, lathering effect. Although it’s been deemed safe for brief use by the US Cosmetic Ingredient Review, prolonged contact with the mouth tissue, skin and eyes can cause irritation. If ingested, as happens more often than we’d like to think (especially for children who develop a taste for sweet toothpaste) it can cause stomach irritation and ulcers.
Even Sodium Lauryl Sulfate derived from Coconut or Palm, is still treated synthetically using a process which involves Ethoxylation, a bi-product of which is Dioxane; a known carcinogenic according to the Environmental Protection Agency.
Artificial sweeteners, like Sorbitol, prevent toothpaste from drying out and are a known laxative and gut irritant in children. Triclosan is a widely used antibacterial in body and mouth care products, and a potential carcinogen according to the US Food And Drug Administration. It’s also linked to thyroid and antibiotic disruption (ie. your good gut bacteria). Propylene Glycol, a mineral oil used in antifreeze and paints, is rapidly absorbed through the skin and linked to central nervous system, liver and heart damage. Hydrogen Peroxide and other bleaching agents used in ‘whitening’ toothpaste cause irritation of the mouth tissue, tooth sensitivity and occasionally irreversible tooth damage. Add to the list Mineral Oils, Parabens and Synthetic Preservatives and you get the picture...
But take heart kin! We now have education and resources at our fingertips. And when it comes to alternative mouth care options, no surprises, nature does it best.
There are so many naturally occurring ingredients that are antifungal, antibacterial, pH balancing, naturally whitening and supportive for a happy mouth environment. A good rule of thumb when it comes to choosing products, especially those that end up in or near you mouth, is to look for ingredients that are close to their natural original state. Even better if they’re edible.
Look for products that contain:
Australian sourced Bentonite Clay contains over 50 trace minerals including magnesium, potassium and calcium which are the building blocks for healthy teeth. When the pH balance of our mouth environment changes, our teeth are affected, and when it drops below 5.5 enamel loss starts to occur. Bentonite Clay is alkaline with a pH level between 8.3 and 9.7 and reduces acidity to prevent tooth decay. It’s also antibacterial, kills the germs that cause mouth odour, remineralizes teeth and absorbs toxic metals and polishes. Try Kat Black Charcoal Whitening Toothpaste for naturally whiter pearly whites.
Is there anything Coconut Oil can’t do? Naturally antifungal and antibacterial, it draws the toxins out of the mouth and creates a clean, harmonious oral environment. Coconut Oil heals bleeding and inflamed gums, prevents and heals cavities, neutralizes bad breath and whitens teeth naturally.
Aka. bi-carb soda is a naturally occurring substance in the human body a fine and mild abrasive. It neutralizes plaque acids, prevents gum disease and gently whitens teeths, is safe if ingested and antibacterial. The only downside is the salty taste, which natural toothpaste brands get around with the use of essentials oils and natural sweeteners to make it more palatable, especially for little people.
Like Bentonite Clay, Activated Charcoal balances pH levels in the mouth and helps prevents tooth decay and gingivitis. As natural teeth ‘whitener’, it is highly absorbent and removes toxins and stains from teeth over a period of time. It’s not a quick fix! For naturally whiter pearly whites try PearlBar Natural Whitening Toothpaste and Warpaint Natural Teeth Whitener.
Peppermint and Spearmint Oil effectively kill the type of bacteria that thrive in the mouth. Spearmint soothes gum tissue. Rosemary Oil contains antifungal compounds. Myrrh Oil, comes from sap origins and has been used to treat ailments for centuries. It has antioxidant and antiinflammatory properties, relieves toothache and mouth ulcers and strengthens the immune system.
A plant that contains fatty acids that reduce inflammation and stimulate collagen growth; Aloe Vera aids in repair of mouth tissue and can be used to effectively treat plaque-induced gingivitis. Meeka Body Organic Oral Swish
A natural antiseptic, sea salt gargling has been practiced for centuries. We intuitively know the benefits and healing power of the ocean. Sea Salt increase the pH balance of the mouth, cultivating an alkaline environment where cavity causing bacteria can’t thrive. Minerals that occur in sea salt occur naturally in our bodies too, creating a healing environment for gums and mouth ulcers.
Take the swap one step further with a sustainable bamboo toothbrush for you and your kin: Pearlbar Bamboo Charcoal Toothbrush.
Keep your mouth fresh an clean with a daily tongue scraping using Black Chicken Remedies Copper Tongue Cleaner. Better yet, start an Oil Pulling practice using coconut oil or a ready-made swish formula like Meeka Body Ayurvedic Oil Pulling. Attend to flossing on the run with Pearlbar Charcoal Infused Floss Picks (keep them in your handbag) or go plastic and package-free with Noosa Basics Spearmint Dental Floss; a great replacement for your supermarket floss made from bamboo filament coated with beeswax and activated charcoal.
Written by | Sophie Parslow