Not all toothpaste is created equal. In fact, most of the commercial brands on the market are little more than a mixture of fluoride, sodium lauryl sulfate, propylene glycol, sweeteners, food dyes and artificial flavors.
Surprisingly, sodium fluoride, the active ingredient in most toothpaste, only comprises about 1% of the actual product. The other 99% of toothpaste can actually be quite dangerous to your health. We get a hint of this when we see that the label on the toothpaste states that we should not swallow the product.
Here is a snapshot of some controversial ingredients in toothpaste that you should be aware of:
Sodium Lauryl Sulfate ( SLS) and Sodium Laureth Sulfate ( SLES)
Both of these chemicals make toothpaste foamy. They are also found in soap, hand cream, shampoo, and mouthwash. They are also used as surfactants in engine degreasers, pest and weed control products and in soaps used in car washes.
According to the Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep: Cosmetic Safety Reviews, research studies on SLS have shown dangerous side effects including
- Skin and eye irritation
- Mutations and possible cancer
- Organ toxicity
- Reproductive and developmental toxicity
- Endocrine disruption
- Biomechanical or cellular changes
Like many other chemicals, it is long term exposure that is most concerning. The impacts of this chemical build up in the body over time.
This is what makes most toothpaste so appealing, they are sweet and flavorful. However, this comes at a cost as artificial ingredients are used to produce this desirable taste. Fake sweeteners including aspartame, commonly found in soda, can cause allergic reactions, bring on headaches and also irritate gums and oral tissue.
Food Dye Blue
Many toothpaste brands use food dyes to produce an attractive blue and green color. Food dyes are highly controversial and are made from coal tar. According to the Food Freedom Network, Blue #1 causes kidney tumors in mice.
Even the fluoride, that is supposed to help protect our teeth, has a warning label slapped on it from the FDA stating, “If more than the amount used for brushing is accidentally swallowed, get medical help or contact poison control right away. Keep away from children under six years old”
What About Whiteners?
In addition to toothpaste, you can also purchase a wide variety of whiteners that promise stain-removing power. Americans spend millions each year on products to whiten their teeth. Unfortunately, these products that contain powerful bleaching properties may cause gum irritation and damage tooth enamel.
How To Make Your Own Safe, Non Toxic Tooth Whitening Paste
To avoid the unnecessary chemicals, try making your own natural tooth whitener. Not only will this whitener clean your teeth but it will leave them sparkling white.
- 1/4 cup baking soda
- 1/3 cup hydrogen peroxide
- 4 drops peppermint essential oil
- 3 drops spearmint essential oil
- small glass jar with lid
- Gather all ingredients and the jar.
- Measure the baking soda and the hydrogen peroxide.
- Carefully pour the baking soda into the jar and add the hydrogen peroxide. Mix well.
- Add essential oils and stir really well.
Make sure to shake before each use. Only brush your teeth 2 to 3 times a week with this mix due to the baking soda being so abrasive.