Simple Science: The Best Toothpaste
In the wide and confusing world of popular tooth cleansing products undoubtedly the safest, most effective combination you can use on your teeth is a soft bristle toothbrush and water, twice a day for at least two minutes at a time. Back up this simple exercise by flossing at least once a day, without fail — and you will have the healthiest mouth around.
But realistically most of us who are interested in maintaining a healthy oral environment probably will feel slightly dissatisfied with the notion that you can have clean teeth without using minty commercial toothpaste. So, what are the healthiest options and how can you make sure you are using products that promote clean teeth and preserve your overall good health?
It’s All In the Ingredients
When you consider that Ben Franklin used a combination of honey and ground charcoal to clean his teeth, it becomes fairly evident that people have been concerned with keeping their teeth clean for a very long time and over the course of time; there has been quite a few interesting ways of accomplishing the important feat of good oral hygiene.
Take for example an ancient Egyptian recipe discovered in 2003 dating back more than 1,500 years that combined one drachma of rock salt – (approximately 100th of an ounce) – two drachmas of mint, one drachma of dried iris flower and 20 grains of pepper all carefully crushed and mixed together to form the best known “powder for white and perfect teeth”. Modern scholars daring enough to try the concoction for themselves found it ‘abrasive and painful to use’. And so … it’s no doubt why we’ve been looking for better alternatives ever since.
Ingredients to Avoid
The most common ingredients in toothpaste include; Silica and Limestone, Aluminum Oxide (provides coarseness to scrubbing) Titanium Dioxide (made from the minerals ilmenite, rutile and anatase – to give toothpaste its white pigment), Mica (adds sparkle to the toothpaste) and of course, fluoride.
For many of the ingredients in toothpaste there are potential health concerns and some have proven to be downright toxic. Some of the biggest offending chemicals include the following:
Fluoride: a byproduct of the fertilizer industrial – this toxic chemical can cause a myriad of health problems when ingested (usually as an additive of the public water systems) and, ironically it is a known demineralizer that removes calcium from teeth and bones causing discolorization of teeth leaving them brittle.
Saccharin and other artificial sweeteners: People ingest synthetic sweeteners and don’t realize how harmful it can be to their health, much less their teeth. A good rule of thumb is to avoid any artificial ingredients in your toothpaste, particularly in the form of sweeteners.
Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) and other detergents: used in many known products as a foaming agent and as with most detergents SLS is known to be harmful to the skin, eyes, brain, liver and lungs. It is also quite corrosive and harmful to skin tissue. SLS is also widely used in garage floor cleaners, engine degreasers and car wash soaps.
Aluminum: when combined with fluoride, aluminum is absorbed into the body at an alarming rate, and aluminum is a metal that seems to collect in the brains of Alzheimer’s victims.
Silica or Zirconium: an abrasive mineral – harms gums and wears away tooth enamel which is particularly hazardous for people who brush a little too enthusiastically or when combined with hard bristle toothbrushes.
Everyone is looking for a healthy alternative, so what’s the best toothpaste? What’s the best alternative? The fact is, each and every person reacts differently to different ingredients. Take for instance, the case of a recent patient of ours: she had been recommended a bee propolis toothpaste which, by most accounts, is a very biocompatible toothpaste. She broke out into blisters along her guns (and no, she is not allergic to bees). Even within our office we have different employees who are sensitive to different toothpastes. The choice of one employee actually causes dry mouth in another employee. So what’s the best toothpaste for you? You’ll have to learn the ingredients and try different types until you find one that you are most compatible with.
Mixing Up the Homemade Pastes
An online search will turn up hundreds of recipes for toothpaste, and most of those at least start with the two basic ingredients of hydrogen peroxide and baking soda. For anyone interested in trying their own hand at making homemade toothpaste just keep in mind that you want to avoid anything that might be overly abrasive to tooth enamel or harmful to the gums, and never swallow the ingredients.
For its recognized healing properties, Aloe Vera is a good ingredient to include as is diluted tea tree oil but most recipes focus on taste and giving a lasting sense of freshness to the mouth. Some of those ingredients include cinnamon, ginger, fennel, clove, spearmint and peppermint – all relatively harmless when combined with other dry ingredients but stay away from essential oil versions of these flavors unless they are well diluted as they can cause burning sensations to the mouth and gums.
Store Bought Toothpastes
There is an unending list of toothpastes on the market today, some claiming to be ‘natural’ while still including ingredients that are either on our list of things to avoid or chemicals that cannot be pronounced. The bottom line is; avoid any toothpaste that has more than six or seven ingredients and never buy anything that contains chemicals or ingredients that you cannot identify. Look for toothpastes that do not contain fluoride, aluminum, artificial sweeteners or detergents and beware of toothpaste marked ‘natural’ – do your homework and read the label.
To help make your decision easier (or maybe more difficult) we have compiled a list of many of the most popular alternative toothpaste options. We have done our best to provide complete analysis, but as formulas change, this list may become out of date. Hopefully it provides a starting point for you in your search.
Enjoy… and good luck!
Brushing your teeth is a must to practice habit to keep your teeth healthy. It is critical to maintaining good oral hygiene, hence, you need to brush regularly. You remove debris, plaques, and stuck food particles from your mouth while brushing. But, most of the time, people follow the wrong brushing methods and end up with many dental problems. Go through this article, and you will find out why brushing teeth appropriately is essential. So, let’s begin with understanding the right techniques to brush your teeth.
TO know the right toothpaste for you is to determine the how sensitive reacts to all kinds of components in a toothpaste sources says: ” Number one, how abrasive is the toothpaste? Number two, what are the chemicals used in that toothpaste? Number three, does it have the ability to remineralize? Staying away from whitening toothpaste is important. The way they whiten is actually by abrading the tooth. Actually taking off a micro-layer of that tooth structure. Since humans don’t regenerate enamel, I would stay away from anything that has the potential to thin or weaken the enamel over time. If you have veneers, don’t use whitening toothpaste. Because whitening toothpastes are abrasive, the glazes can actually be removed, and this makes the porcelain more porous and dull looking over time.” http://atlantadentalspa.com/best-toothpaste.html
is what she says in this video a good way to clean your teeth and would you reccommend it, or is she simply trying to sell her products??
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I guess you’re at it again. Just one last point, before I leave this discussion permanently: high school chemistry teaches us that when elements are combined through ionic or covalent bonding, the resulting compound may or may not have any properties of the elements that combined to make it. In the case of the Sodium Fluoride compound, it has none of the properties of either. I believe that at the root of your dissent from widely respected, supported, and accepted science is the misconception that Fluoride and Fluorine are the same thing. Technically speaking, it is incorrect to even call it Fluoride, it should be called Sodium Fluoride, as that is the name of the compound. The use of the word Fluoride alone without connection to Sodium can lead to confusion and misconception in the not or poorly educated. If it was true that Fluoride and Fluorine were the same thing, then America better put down those salt shakers. As a matter of fact, quit swimming in the sea too. Both of those are sources of the compound Sodium Chloride. Sodium Chloride is completely fit for human consumption, and is vital for life, unless you choose to disregard the fact that every form of life since phytobacteria needed salt to survive. Please also notice that we do not call salt Chloride, because for some reason this just feels wrong. The use of the word Fluoride has been used as a divert and scare tactic to trick people into thinking they are brushing their teeth with Fluorine by the people against Sodium Fluoride since its inception by the man who wished to prove that it was toxic.
Also, I still have yet to see a link to a study showing the toxicity of Sodium Fluoride. Sorry to push, but I am a rationalist, and I need evidence before I support a belief. How about this: If you find me a study with no holes in it proving that Sodium Fluoride is a deadly toxin even in miniscule amounts, I will never buy fluroidated toothpaste again as long as I live and will switch to a holistic dental practice. But if I find holes in the studies, you have to stop saying that Sodium Fluoride can kill you in the amounts found in toothpaste.
An important childhood euphemism to remember when considering a study for proof is that “Anything is toxic by the boxcar full!” I do not wish to see a study proving that a quart of Sodium Fluoride is toxic if consumed all at once, I want to see reasonable sample sizes, not just one child who liked the taste of his Colgate and chugged two tubes for the heck of it either.
I stopped using fluoride when I became hypothyroid. Any of the halides (fluoride, chlorine, bromine) compete with iodine to bind with tyrosine to make thyroid hormones.
Fluoride baths used to be used to treat hyperthyroidism – an excess of thyroid hormones! This used to be the accepted medical treatment of a hyperthyroid individual.
Fluoride should never be used by anyone who is hypothyroid, and since most hypothyroid individuals are as of yet undiagnosed (per research by the ATA and several other organizations), it’s safe to say that there are many individuals out there who simply should not be using fluoride, for this reason, alone.
Even if it doesn’t kill you! Poor thyroid health can actually give you congestive heart failure, diabetes (due to the weight gain), and other issues that can eventually kill you.
Is your argumemt that sodium chloride and sodium flouride are the same?
I am no science buff and just trying to understand your point.
Dr.Marvin – Do you brush with only water and a soft bristle toothbrush?
I am a bit skeptical to this method as there is no anti-bacterial cleaning this way?… What toothpaste do you use if any
I try different toothpastes on occasion, but water and a soft bristle brush works just fine. Most toothpastes don’t have any anti-bacterial qualities… most of them just foam up and smell nice.
Hi, these have been two toothpaste i have been using in the past that I though would be better than the fluoridated Colgate ones but I am not sure about how safe is chalk and sodium phosphate is. By looking at these ingredients could you be to tell me if these are ok?
Phyto Shield Herbal Toothpaste :
Calcium carbonate (chalk – mild mineral abrasive), purified water, glycerol and sorbitol (moisture retaining agents from plant origin), xylitol (plant sweetener and remieralizing agent), silica (natural mineral for better paste structure), alkyl polyglucose (mild cleanser from coconut oil), carboxymethyl cellulose (gumming agent from plant fibre), natural flavour, eucalyptus oil, menthol, peppermint oil, aniseed oil, zinc oxide (natural ore), liquorice extract, totarol tincture, thaumatin (natural plant sweetener).
Toothpaste Vegan ingredients:
Glycerin (non-animal), calcium carbonate, aqua, magnesium carbonate, salvadora persica natural extract, mentha piperita, mentha arvensis oil, eugenia caryophyllus oil, pelargonium roseum oil, hydroxethylcellose, sodium phosphate, limonene, citronellol, geraniol.
These are great questions for our community forums (I encourage you to register for http://www.DrMarvin.com and continue the conversation there — registration is free).
There are people far more skilled in toxicology than I am. A quick Google search should also yield toxic reports for each ingredient, I would imagine. Sorry I don’t have a quick answer for you.
Can you tell me a little more about Titanium Dioxide? Is it harmful to the human body?
That’s a great question. There is a lot of controversy about titanium dioxide right now. Personally, I try to stay away from ingredients like this until I can prove that it is not toxic, but it isn’t always easy.
Here’s some great information on it: http://www.organicmakeup.ca/ca/titaniumdioxide.asp
This is from a makeup website, but the research is quite good.
Fluoride is not just a byproduct of the fertilizer industry. It is made out of fluorine gas superheated to become a liquid. And as skeptist said, if fluoride is a horrible, deadly poison, than why don’t terrorists send packets full of crest samples to the politicians? Why bother with ricin when it’s so hard to procure? If you can walk into CVS and buy a lethal weapon, then why aren’t terrorists more succesful?
It’s called slow kill. 23 recent scientific studies from around the world show lowering of IQ from F. In India the medical books are being rewritten because of decades of research by Dr AK Shusheela that proves F causes gastric distress & arthritis. Read the back of your F toothpaste tube. It says if you swallow a pea size amount [which most kids do accidently] to contact poison control. This is the same amount in an 8 oz glass of F water. EPA allows shocking amounts of F residue from pesticides , herbicides, & fuungicides in our foods. In addition 35% of pharmaceuticals now contain F a cumulative poison .See http://www.slweb.org [click on FTRC link] for 300+ drugs to avoid with long term often permanent side effects. These drugs destroyed my career as an athlete. Check out fqvictims.org for stories of many young formerly healthy people crippled by these drugs. F is more toxic than lead & only slightly less toxic than arsenic and is so unstable that it will combine with anything , but given the choice it will always pick calcium [your bones]. Next it loves metals esp aluminum which it will happily help cross the brainbarrier [alzheimers]. Check out http://www.fluoridealert.org before it is too late. Read : The Fluoride Deception and The Case Against Fluoride .