About ten years ago I went in for a dental checkup only to be hit with a double whammy. My bite had shifted and I needed braces, but first I needed to be treated for gum disease. Ouch. I thought I was taking pretty good care of my teeth, but apparently not. Since the traditional stuff from my local pharmacy didn’t seem to be working, I decided to look into herbal toothpastes.
What many people don’t know is that most brand-name toothpaste contains a number of ingredients that are not healthy for you or the environment. Bleach and peroxide are commonly used as whitening agents in commercial toothpastes. But both bleach and peroxide can be an irritant to the mouth and skin in small doses, and are considered to be hazardous materials because they can cause severe chemical burns in large doses, so why take that chance?
Artificial flavorings and scents are commonly made from synthetic chemicals derived from petrochemicals or coal tar. Manufacturers argue that artificial flavors are safer than natural flavors because their composition is standardized and regulated. But do you really think that consuming anything made from crude oil is safe for you and your family?
Commercial toothpaste ingredients also affect the environment. EDTA (ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid) and formaldehyde are commonly used a preservatives in toothpaste, and many other cosmetics and personal care products. They are known environmental pollutants.
Triclosan is used in toothpaste for bacteria and tartar control. The problem is that it can combine with other materials to create dioxins, which are dangerous pollutants.
There are so many natural ingredients that do the same job as the synthetics that there’s really no reason not to use the healthier alternatives. For example, look for toothpastes that use natural flavors and scents like cinnamon, peppermint and orange. Or if you are sensitive to smells, choose a product that uses no scents at all.
If you want a toothpaste that whitens, look for silica. It’s a naturally occurring component of sand and can be used to polish and whiten teeth. Zinc is a natural mineral that can be used instead of triclosan to fight tarter.
I’ve been cavity and gum disease free for 10 years. I use a Braun toothbrush along with Parodontax toothpaste and hydrogen peroxide for a mouthwash. The electric toothbrushes are far better than the manual kind. You just can’t replicate that with a manual brush. The particular model I favor has a double brush and gives you a great gum massage as well as getting under the gum line.
Now about Parodontax — it’s not for the faint of heart. It’s bitter, salty, and a little like soft grains of sand. A great recommendation, right? Well, I figured it has saved me hundreds in dental bills over the years. After I got the braces off, my teeth felt horrible — lots of glue residue. Parodontax was the only toothpaste to get them feeling smooth again.
Ayurveda offers some great herbs that will promote gum circulation. I’ve used two kinds of Auromere toothpastes — licorice and mint. I was attracted to the brand because it uses Neem which legendary for its amazing healing properties. No fluoride, and packs about a dozen or more herbs into each tube. The base is soft chalk.
Not everything that’s good for you has to taste good. None of the toothpastes mentioned here taste anything like the major commercial brands. They’re not sweet or gel like. Some of them have a chalk base, some use bitter tasting herbs. But if you’ve been doing the traditional stuff without getting good results, why not give herbal toothpaste a try?