Toothpaste is not only the most commonly used oral hygiene product; it’s also the most commonly used personal care product. As you know, brushing teeth is a technique used primarily to maintain and improve overall dental health, and to prevent dental issues, like tooth decay or gum disease. According to the American Academy of Periodontology, Americans spend an average of 38.5 days brushing teeth over the course of their lives. That’s a whopping 55,440 minutes of non-stop tooth brushing.
Assuming you brush twice daily, as recommended by the American Dental Association, once in the morning and once in the evening, you’re good to go, right? Well, sort of.
Some people often experience allergic reactions, whether they are serious or not, while using traditional toothpaste formulations. These allergies are typically seen in big brand toothpastes; we won’t mention any names. Readily available toothpaste purchased by consumers often contains the following substances: abrasives, binding agents, detergents, fluoride, humectants, preservatives, coloring agents, antiseptics, and flavoring.
You’re probably thinking, “I don’t get allergic reactions from my toothpaste, so I have nothing to worry about.” Well, yes and no. At the end of the day, we’re still using unnatural substances in an attempt to maintain our oral health. Whether you get allergic reactions or not, switching to an organic toothpaste is a step in the right direction and can greatly benefit your general health, and not just your oral health.
Why Choose Organic Toothpaste?
So what is organic toothpaste? It’s the same idea as regular toothpaste, but without the potentially harmful chemicals. Organic products use natural ingredients such as mint and other similar herbs that double as natural breath fresheners. Organic products are not formulated to act as a “soap” for your teeth like standard toothpaste is. This makes it so organic products contain all of the essential elements your body needs without all the junk.
These days, when it comes to choosing products, many consumers are opting for products that are free of artificial chemicals, additives, preservatives, flavors and colors. As we mentioned above, standard toothpaste contains chemicals like fluoride, triclosan, sodium lauryl sulfate, and a plethora of other unnatural substances. On top of that, some companies even test their products on animals, which many consumers in 2021 may wish to avoid. Some products can even be considered vegan toothpaste, so long as you double check the ingredients list to know what you’re buying. Be wary though, as the terms vegan and organic are not interchangeable.
What's The Difference?
n essence, using standard toothpaste versus organic and natural toothpaste are the same thing. The biggest difference is the chemicals used in each product and the negative effects they harbor; more on that later. You see, most of the benefits of brushing your teeth come from the actual act of brushing, even if all you’re using is water and nothing else. The real issue is the bacteria that lives in your mouth which can cause dental problems like gingivitis and periodontitis. Although both standard and natural toothpaste can help with these issues, the real deal breaker is the negative effects of long-term use of chemical-heavy standard pastes.
Fluoride: Can fight cavities effectively, but can be toxic in large doses and cause mottled teeth. The truth is, we already get more than enough fluoride in our local water that adding more on top of that in our toothpaste is totally unnecessary.
Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS): Used to give toothpaste a foamy consistency, but believe it or not, it’s actually a detergent. The same kind of detergent you find in most shampoos, which causes irritated skin in some people. This is one of those things that we’ve come to expect and consider normal when we think of toothpaste, and the reality is that the foaming isn't something we need at all. It adds no benefit to the brushing experience.
Saccharin: Used for sweetening and adding flavor to not only toothpaste, but mouthwash as well. It’s known to cause kidney cancer in lab rats, which is why it’s never used in food. People think it’s not that serious since we aren't ingesting it. However, your gums absorb this chemical so much during brushing, that in some cases it can become a real problem.
What We've Learned
In the end it really boils down to personal preference and whether or not the pros outweigh the cons for you. Although, switching to a natural toothpaste with legitimately organic ingredients is the healthier alternative to standard paste. If you’re a green-conscious person, organic, or even vegan toothpaste (check the ingredients!) is a wise decision for those who’d like to minimize the amount of chemicals they’re exposed to. You get all the benefits of your regular toothpaste, just without the lab-made junk, which can improve your overall wellness. The only thing left to do now is make a decision.