When it comes to a dental hygiene routine, I encourage people to keep it simple. Brush and floss. You don’t need a fancy toothpaste or a flavored mouth rinse. Both those extras are great, but not necessary for a truly healthy mouth. The simpler, the better. This is true from a or consistency standpoint *AND* a clean dental product standpoint.
Keeping your dental product ingredients simple is important. You don’t want to be putting toxic ingredients into your mouth. Your mouth has very permeable tissues, meaning the tissues are able to absorb what’s placed on them. Toxic dental products can make it into your bloodstream believe it or not.
Here are two ingredients to definitely avoid:
Triclosan and SLS.
Let’s start with Triclosan. It was originally said to be an antibacterial agent in toothpaste and many other household items like soaps, beauty products, and even toys. It was said it helps decrease the spread of bacteria. Sounds harmless right? Wrong. It also is a cousin of chemicals used during warlike “agent orange”. This terrible chemical disrupts our natural balance of helpful bacteria in our mouth and gut. It also disrupts hormones, specifically testosterone and thyroid levels. As a Dental Hygienist of 10 years, I have noticed that thyroid issues have dramatically increased since I first began practicing dental hygiene. Make sure your kinds of toothpaste, hand soaps, and any other products you use in your mouth or in your home is free of this toxic chemical.
SLS or Sodium Laurel Sulfate is a foaming agent used in toothpaste, soap, and shampoos. It helps break down the partials in the product so that it can come in better contact with your skin. The result is a product that turns into a foam and works rather well at lathering up your mouth or hair. This indeed comes at a price though. Many SLS containing products have been reported to have caused skin irritation. And as a Registered Dental Hygienist, I can see when a patient is suffering from frequent mouth sores, it could simply be from their toothpaste brand’s ingredients.
When you switch to a toothpaste that is free of this foaming agent, you will indeed tell the difference. The toothpaste without SLS will not create a thick lather you maybe use to. This is a good thing. Remember, it is NOT the lather or foam that creates a clean mouth. It is the mechanical motion of rubbing your teeth and gums gently with a toothbrush and floss. Try using cleaner toothpaste like the one below. It uses natural ingredients to help put minerals back into the teeth, as well as does not use harsh chemicals to disrupt the oral microbiome (bacteria in the mouth).
TRY IT YOURSELF: This toothpaste by Earthpaste is awesome. It is made with natural elements that will not disrupt our precious bacteria balance. I also like this brand Schmidts. I’ve been able to find it at Target which makes it easy to find, and it comes in unique flavors like these –spearmint jasmine and vanilla chia.
FEELING CRAFTY? Check out my blog post on how to make your own mineral-rich, sensitive toothpaste here.
This brings me to the two ingredients to ADD INTO your dental routine:
- Bentonite Clay– full of natural elements from the earth, this powder has an earthy taste and puts minerals back into your teeth. Even when swallowed (in small amounts), bentonite clay has benefits of aiding the body in detox and soothing digestive upset. This component is present in the Earthpaste listed above.
- Activated Coconut Charcoal– beneficial for whitening teeth, activated coconut charcoal also is great for topical use to fight bad breath. Activated charcoal can absorb the bacterial compounds causing the bad breath.
So there you have it! Two ingredients to steer clear of in your dental products; Triclosan and SLS, and two to add it; bentonite clay and activated charcoal. Let me know how it is all working out for you in the comments.