Natural Organic Toothpaste for you and your kids
Isn’t it funning life how we often think about the least important things most often, and the most important things least often. Now I wouldn’t want to say that toothpaste is one of life’s most important things, but it probably merits more thought than it gets. This is a substance that we put into our bodies every day and that we insist our children put into theirs.
Sure we gurgle and spit, but this is a product that is more intimate than most. It is not like shampoo, that goes on and then washes off, or like moisturising cream that goes on the outside, but it does in and some invariably stays.
Now if we knew it to be a completely healthy, or at least harmless product, then I’d have no problem. But the fact is that most brands of commercial or non-organic toothpaste contain some substances that many of us would be better off without.
Why I switched to organic toothpaste
Ever since I was a child I have suffered from painful mouth sores, or ulcers. They only appear irregularly but when they strike it is quite unpleasant for a couple of days. Over the years I’ve seen various doctors about it but none of them could offer any help. Some said it was from a virus. Others told me it was an immune reaction.
The best they could offer was some unpleasant gloop that would numb the skin for a little while or an even more unpleasant glue-like gloop that was supposed to cover the sore. Then a couple of years ago I read that some people had a reaction to sodium lauryl sulphate (SLS), a very common ingredient in toothpaste, that could cause mouth sores (or canker sores). I was intrigued. I’d never heard of sodium lauryl sulphate or that it could irritate the skin (or in my case, mouth) of some sensitive people.
It turns out, in fact, that SLS is in most cosmetics. You find it in shampoo, soap, bubble bath, to name just a few. And in many cases it has been implicated in various sorts of skin disorders. I’m not saying it causes them, but rather that in some people it can irritate the skin. This seems especially true for people who already have a skin condition.
Since changing to SLS-free toothpaste I’ve fond my mouth is much happier. I still have the occasional outbreak but they are now down to once or twice a year and the frequency seems to be diminishing as the years go by. That compares with every couple of months when I was still using non-organic toothpaste.
What else is in toothpaste?
Since I started looking into toothpaste, I’ve discovered quite a few things in it that I’d rather not have in my mouth.
The first of these is the class of chemicals known as Parabens. These are also surprisingly common in most cosmetics where they are used as preservatives. The problem with preservatives in general is that they are designed to kill bacteria (to stop the stuff going off) and if they can kill bacteria then they probably aren’t too good for us. In the case of parabens, in particular, there are particular concerns about links with breast cancer as well as to disruptions to the endocrine system.
In other words they muck about with our hormones, and that is not good. The official agencies such as the FDA reckon they are safe but there is a growing body of evidence that suggests it would be better to avoid them entirely, or at least limit them as much as possible. Changing your toothpaste and shampoo can easily reduce two ready sources of parabens.
Additional Related Article to Read : Baby Sunscreen And Baby Shampoo
Another substance in there is Triclosan, a mild antibiotic agent that is also commonly found in antibacterial soaps. Now not only is this bad in its own right – it can react with chlorine in tap water to form other dangerous compounds such as chloroform gas – but it also has longer term implications.
A number of doctors and scientists worry that using this stuff regularly will create a class of super-bugs that are resistant to all our other sorts of antibiotics. That is a real problem. There are already strains of bacteria such as MRSA that don’t respond to most treatments, which means that when patients get infected with them, often in hospital, they can end up having to have limbs amputated.
Anything that slows down the growth of these bugs should be encouraged, even if that includes a ban on Triclosan and similar ingredients in everyday products. Moreover, we don’t need it. The big companies try to sell us on the idea that all bacteria are bad and that we should have sterile mouths and houses.
What rot. We should keep our houses clean, and brush regularly and be especially careful of some bugs such as salmonella that come in chicken and are quite dangerous. But we evolved with bacteria in our environment and they are an essential part of our immune systems. Our kids need a bit of dirt to lean how to fight infections. So using these products, or putting them in our mouths, can’t be good.
Organic toothpaste is nicer
I know this sounds lame. But once I switched I found it quite difficult to go back to ordinary toothpaste. The organic brands that I use have natural flavours and ingredients and no added sweeteners. Once you switch to a toothpaste that isn’t sweetened, you will realise just how sickly-sweet most ordinary toothpaste is.
What about fluoride?
A lot of organic toothpastes don’t have added fluoride. This is because a large number of people think it is bad for you. I’m about to commit green heresy here and say that I think that fluoride is actually good (in moderation). When I used a non-fluoridated organic toothpaste I thought I detected a change in the health of my teeth.
Fortunately there are several brands of organic paste that have fluoride.
A great brand of organic toothpaste for kids is made by Green People in the UK. Its Children’s Mandarin Toothpaste tastes great and it is completely free of SLS and other nasty chemicals. It is also made by an ethical company that has a brilliant range of natural products including really nice organic shampoo and skincare products
Just because the box says organic doesn’t mean you should read the label. This is still an area that is a bit fuzzy in labelling law. Some will have SLS so look for a label that clearly says SLS-free toothpaste. You also want to look for one that has no parabens, preferably by saying paraben-free on the box.
That said, if your local store doesn’t have any you kind find a good variety of organic toothpaste brands on the internet and on Amazon.com. Good luck with the switch.