Taking care of your teeth is probably one of the most important things you can do for your oral and overall health. As a society, we are told to take care of our teeth by brushing twice daily, flossing, eating a nutritional diet, and keeping our regular dentist/orthodontist appointments, etc. In addition to these oral hygiene methods, we want to make sure that the products we are using on our teeth and gums are the most beneficial for our needs.
In recent years, many people have started to lean into more natural or “organic” products when it comes to the food they eat, the clothes they wear, and even the products they use in their hygiene and beauty regimens. Because of this new trend, one of the most common questions our Idaho Falls orthodontist office receives is, “Should I be using natural toothpaste?” The answer to this question, like many queries, is it depends.
Every person has individual needs, sensitivities, and goals, so this is not a one-size-fits-all answer. This article will help to explain what natural toothpaste is, why or why not you should be using natural toothpaste, and what to avoid in toothpaste. There’s is also a DIY natural toothpaste recipe if you would like to try creating your own toothpaste at home.
What Are Natural Toothpastes?
According to Leizel Barnard, a Naturopath for Weleda, “ Natural toothpaste use minerals, herbal extracts, and essential oils to care for the gums and teeth and avoid using potentially harmful ingredients like triclosan, SLS and synthetic flavors, colors or preservatives.” She goes on to say, “Natural toothpastes also contain polishing agents like sea salt, baking soda, kaolin clay, calcium carbonate and silica that help to remove surface stains.” Natural toothpaste can come in both a paste and powder form.
So, Why Natural Toothpastes?
Over the years some the ingredients in popular toothpaste brand’s have gotten a bad rap. One of the most common ingredients that are frequently debated is fluoride. However, choosing your toothpaste solely based on whether or not it has fluoride should not be your main concern. Many articles touting the negative aspects of fluoride (disrupting tissues and the immune system) only apply to the levels of fluoride in our water sources; not our toothpaste.
Fluoride strengthens and protects teeth from cavities and can also help to stop signs of early decay in teeth, as explained in this article by Dr. Fadoju.
For this reason, our Idaho Falls orthodontist office does recommend that our patients use a toothpaste with fluoride at least during orthodontic treatments (braces, retainers, mouthguards,etc.)
So while fluoride in our toothpaste is both safe and beneficial to our oral health in small amounts, there are some ingredients you should avoid. These include:
- Triclosan – Triclosan is an antibacterial agent that is used in many popular toothpaste brands. According to this article, studies have shown Triclosan to be linked to the rise of autoimmune diseases and allergies and can also interfere with our hormone, thyroid and reproductive systems.
- Sodium Lauryl Sulphate – An effective foaming and inexpensive surfactant, sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) can cause ulcers and canker sores to people who are more sensitive to it. It can also change a person’s taste perception. Additionally, studies show that when it came to reducing plaque and gingivitis, there were no additional benefits of toothpaste that used SLS than kinds of toothpaste that utilized a different kind of surfactant.
Who Should Be Using Natural Toothpastes?
The question of who should be using natural toothpaste really comes down to personal preference, lifestyle choices, and your current oral health. As previously mentioned, our orthodontists in Idaho Falls at Randall Orthodontics do not recommend people who are currently wearing braces to use natural toothpaste without fluoride. The reason for this is that during an orthodontic treatment like braces or wearing a retainer your teeth are more sensitive than usual. For this reason, toothpaste with fluoride is recommended in order to keep your teeth strong both during and after your treatment. With this in mind, natural toothpaste may be ideal for people who:
- Are sensitive to chemicals
- Have a tendency to swallow toothpaste (children)
- Wish to use more environmentally friendly products
- Wish to use more natural products without artificial colors or ingredients
- Want to make their own toothpaste at home
- Are not currently wearing braces or any other type of orthodontic appliance
- Have strong, healthy teeth and gums
DIY Natural Toothpaste
If you’ve been looking into purchasing natural toothpaste, you may have noticed that it can be more expensive than “regular” toothpaste. While this could be considered a con of natural toothpaste, many people have begun to make their own DIY natural toothpaste at home. Following is a natural, no waste toothpaste recipe for making natural toothpaste at home using everyday ingredients.
Lauren’s Zero Waste Homemade Toothpaste Recipe
To really go the extra environmentally friendly mile, Trash is for Tossers Blog shares the following no waste, natural toothpaste recipe*. Watch the full video, here.
- Two Tablespoons Organic Coconut Oil
- One Tablespoon of Baking Soda. A note on baking soda: Teeth should not be brushed multiple times a day with baking soda as it can wear away the enamel over time.
- 15 – 20 Drops of an Organic Essential Oil like peppermint, anise, or cinnamon
Pour all ingredients into a mixing bowl or final container. Stir all of the ingredients together. Store in a cool, dry place.
A Final Word On Natural Tooth Paste
So should you be using natural toothpaste? If you want to make the switch and you are not currently undergoing any Idaho Falls orthodontic treatment than yes! At the end of the day, the toothpaste you use is just one component of your entire oral health hygiene protocol. What really matters, is how and how often you are brushing and flossing your teeth, along with maintaining a nutritious diet, while avoiding foods that can damage or stain your teeth.
For more information on which types of natural toothpaste, your Idaho Falls orthodontics office recommends, contact Randall Orthodontics today.