What’s hiding in your toothpaste?

Surprisingly, toothpaste was one of the first swaps I made when making the commitment to switch to natural, non-toxic products that I use daily. It only took reading a few shocking articles about conventional toothpaste and the potential dangers of the common ingredients found in them to convince me to look for a cleaner option.

So what’s dangerous about conventional toothpaste brands? The following are just some of the common harmful ingredients:

  • Fluoride
  • SLS ( Sodium Lauryl Sulfate)
  • Artificial Flavors / Colors
  • Artificial Sweeteners
  • DEA
  • Propylene Glycol
  • Triclosan
  • BPA
  • Parabens
  • Carrageenan

Some of these ingredients are known to be toxic to reproduction, cause antibiotic resistance and infertility, impaired muscle function, altered thyroid function and allergies. And that’s just a small list of the many side effects.  And you may say, “Okay, but it’s just my toothpaste…” Well, you are using your toothpaste twice a day, every single day hopefully, which creates consistent exposure to these chemicals. Not only that, but these toxic ingredients are found in other things we use often as well, like hand and dish soap and a host of other personal care products.

For this post, I want to particularly focus on the ingredient fluoride, but you can still search any of the ingredients listed above on Google to find out more. I actually like Googling ingredients because sometimes you can read both sides of the argument. Research may say that it is harmful and others will claim that the ingredients are harmless. I like to take in both sides and make my own decision based on all of the evidence.  I also really like visiting EWG’s Skin Deep® Cosmetics Database, or using the Think Dirty® app on my phone to view products, where they rank in toxicity level and then find out more about their ingredients. More about these later!

For a long time, fluoride was considered to be beneficial to our oral health by preventing tooth decay and strengthening enamel to name a few of its claims. But research now shows that it does not actually do these things and instead does a lot more harm than good. I’ve read a lot of evidence recently on how overexposure to fluoride harms teeth (and the body) and even causes discoloration to teeth in what is referred to as dental fluorisis.

Here are just a few interesting highlights about fluoride noted  in  10 Facts About Fluoride found on The Fluoride Action Network’s website.

“In the United States, health authorities call fluoridation “one of the top 10 public health achievements of the 20th century.” Few other countries share this view. In fact, more people drink artificially fluoridated water in the U.S. alone than in the rest of the world combined. [1] Most advanced nations do not fluoridate their water. In western Europe, 97% of the population has water without a single drop of fluoride added to it.”

“It is often claimed that fluoridated water is the main reason the United States has had a large decline in tooth decay over the past 60 years. This same decline in tooth decay, however, has occurred in all developed countries, most of which have never added any fluoride to their water.”

“According to the well-known toxicologist, Dr. John Doull, who chaired the National Academy of Science’s review on fluoride, the safety of fluoridation remains “unsettled” and “we have much less information than we should, considering how long it has been going on.”[7] In 2006, Doull’s committee at the NAS published an exhaustive 500-page review of fluoride’s toxicity.[8] The report concludes that fluoride is an “endocrine disruptor” and can affect many things in the body, including the bones, the brain, the thyroid gland, the pineal gland, and even blood sugar levels.”

“Today, over 95% of toothpastes are fluoridated. Although fluoride toothpastes carry poison warnings on them, studies show that children can swallow large amounts of fluoride when they brush, particularly when using toothpaste with bubble gum and candy flavors.”

So you can see from these facts that the concern isn’t on just fluoride in toothpaste, but our overexposure to it in general. Fluoride is in our water, toothpaste, processed drinks and foods, and pharmaceuticals just to name a few of the many places where we are exposed. But wait, can we just go back to the fact that toothpaste with fluoride has poison labels?! Enough said.

Flouridealert.org also notes that “excessive fluoride exposure has also been linked to a range of other chronic ailments including arthritis, bone fragility, dental fluorosis (which I mentioned above), glucose intolerance, gastrointestinal distress, thyroid disease, and possibly cardiovascular disease and certain types of cancer. Fluoride has long been known to be a very toxic substance. This is why, like arsenic, fluoride has been used in pesticides and rodenticides (to kill rats, insects, etc).”

GROSS.

I mean is that scary or what? So, if you don’t want to completely make the switch and give up your favorite Colgate toothpaste, at least try to find one that is fluoride free, but also remember that many of the common ingredients are toxic and harmful as stated earlier.

So what should you use? Earlier I mentioned EWG’s Skin Deep® Cosmetics Database or using the Think Dirty® app and these are great places to find where your current products rank and also to search for the cleanest products as well. On the Think Dirty® app you can just type in toothpaste or a brand and the app will bring up the most common searches. It ranks the product on a scale of 0 being the cleanest to 10 being the dirtiest. Once you click on the product, you can learn more about the rating and the individual ingredients. It will even give you Think Dirty® picks for the type of product you are looking that are Think Dirty® verified or that have a low score. EWG has a similar system where they have EWG Verified™ products so you know these are the very best and cleanest you can find.

To be honest, I’ve tried a lot of different clean, non-toxic toothpastes, but the one I am currently loving and that also scores a 0 rating on Think Dirty® is by Dr. Brite. Dr. Brite uses the highest-quality organic ingredients to ensure optimal oral hygiene such as Vitamin C, Activated Charcoal, Coconut Oil and Aloe Vera Juice. They make sure to avoid all of the harmful ingredients discussed earlier ensuring that their products are safe and effective for your whole family. I also love their mouthwash! Seriously, my mouth has never felt so squeaky clean. Not to mention, when you use mouthwash, your mouth shouldn’t feel like it’s burning from the inside out like it does with common mouthwashes, am I right? Dr. Brite’s is not harsh at all and leaves you with fresh breath for hours.

dr. brite 2

 

Well, I hope you learned something new today about toothpaste. Now get out there and do some research on what you are currently using and evaluate if a swap needs to be made for your optimal health. Knowledge is power!

Lots of love and good health,

Tasha, The Non-Toxic Newbie

*This post was not sponsored. All opinions expressed are my own and based on my own research.

 

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