You would think a product designed for oral use might be free of some of the nasty chemicals and other synthetic ingredients found in conventional shampoos and other personal care products. Unfortunately that’s not the case.
Common Toothpaste Chemicals
Five of the most common chemicals to watch out for include fluoride, triclosan, sodium lauryl sulfate, propylene glycol, and DEA.
1 – Fluoride. The chemical most commonly found in toothpaste is sodium fluoride (also just labeled as fluoride). Although fluoride is touted as an important defense against tooth decay, it can also be harmful if ingested even in moderate quantities. Thus, many natural toothpastes (especially those marketed to children) are fluoride free.
2 – Triclosan. Despite being classified as a pesticide, triclosan is commonly added to toothpastes and antibacterial products. The Environmental Protection Agency has openly stated that the chemical poses a threat to humans and the environment. So why is it in our toothpaste?!
3 – Sodium Lauryl Sulfate. SLS is added to many personal care products for its cleansing and detergent properties, despite being a potential eye and skin irritant. It is also potentially carcinogenic when combined with other common chemicals.
4 – Propylene Glycol. Propylene glycol acts as a wetting agent and surfactant in toothpaste. The substance is found in many conventional toothpaste brands despite being linked with brain, liver, and kidney abnormalities with repeated exposure. Make sure it’s not in yours!
5 – DEA. Diethanolamine, or DEA, is a commonly used foaming agent. It has also been linked to cancer formation and hormone disruption with repeated exposure. Maybe that toothpaste doesn’t really need to be so foamy…
But fortunately, the bright side is that the market has exploded with natural toothpastes in recent years! With and without fluoride, whitening and traditional, and even some fruity flavors for those who don’t like (or can’t use) mint…there is now an effective, natural toothpaste for every taste and purpose. So ditch the nasty, scary, and health-compromising chemical pastes and go natural!
Without Fluoride – For those who like a traditional, minty toothpaste without fluoride, try Nature’s Gate Creme de Peppermint, Creme de Anise, Creme de Mint. Tom’s also makes several minty fluoride-free flavors including their Antiplaque and Whitening Peppermint, Spearmint and Fennel. Finally, Jason makes several unique fluoride-free toothpastes for different purposes. Check out their Powersmile Peppermint, Cinnamon, and Vanilla Mint flavors, or the Sea Fresh Deep Sea Spearmint.
With Fluoride – For traditional, minty flavors with fluoride, try Tom’s Whole Care Cinnamon Clove, Peppermint, and Wintermint. The Jason Healthy Mouth and Nutrismile lines also contain fluoride – check out their unique Tea Tree Cinnamon and Orange, Cinnamon and Mint flavors.
For those who prefer a fruity toothpaste, try Nature’s Gate Cherry Gel or Tom’s Silly Strawberry, Outrageous Orange-Mango and Orange Mango Gel flavors. The cherry and strawberry flavors are fluoride-free, while the orange-mango varieties contain fluoride. Jason also makes two fruity, fluoride-free varieties: Kids Only Strawberry and Kids Only Orange. Despite the names, these toothpastes are NOT just for kids! Adults can enjoy fruity toothpastes, too, and they work just as well to gently clean teeth.
Himalaya Herbal Healthcare Neem and Pomegranate Toothpaste is also a great option for those who prefer a mint-free but not overtly fruity toothpaste. This toothpaste cleans naturally with unique ingredients like pomegranate, neem leaf and acacia arabic extract.
Tea Tree Oil
Tea tree oil deserves its own category due to its amazing antiviral, antifungal, antibacterial, and general cleansing properties (learn more here). It does have a very distinctive scent, so you’ll probably either love it or hate it in your toothpaste. Don’t be afraid to give it a try!
Desert Essence seems to have the market cornered on tea tree oil toothpastes. They make Mint, Ginger, Fennel, and Wintergreen varieties that are fluoride-free and make use of ingredients like tea tree oil and baking soda to clean teeth naturally.
Did we miss your favorite? Share it in the comments section below!