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Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Green plan: switch to all-natural toothpaste

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Last March, I flew to SXSWi for work. As I was going through security, the gentleman in front of me didn't include his Tom's of Maine toothpaste in his quart size bag so the TSA folks took it. The guy was really bummed and turned to me and said "that's one expensive toothpaste!"

As you may recall, I was on the fence about natural or non-fluoride toothpaste. As I started working on my green plan, I thought I would give it another shot.

Why make the switch (courtesy of Practically Green)?

Given that toothpaste is often ingested, particularly by children, it is surprising what synthetic chemicals are in them. According to The Daily Green, one of the worst is propylene glycol -- a solvent that is the active component in some anti-freezes, and is used in everything from makeup to mouthwash. Several other pastes include sodium benzoate, sorbic acid, benzoic acid, polyethylene glycol, butylated hydroxytoluene, and sodium hydroxide, which are skin/eye irritants. Carrageenan is a suspected carcinogen.
There are also several controversial ingredients so be aware that not all "all-natural" toothpastes are free of these ingredients. Sodium lauryl sulfate is a strong irritant and suspected carcinogen. Cocamidopropyl betaine is also a strong irritant. Isobutylparaben may contribute to breast cancer by affecting estrogenic activity. Titanium dioxide and zinc oxide may be absorbed by the body and have toxic effects. Triclosan contributes to antibacterial resistance and can combine with chlorine in tap water to form chloroform. Flouride is also controversial, and poisonous to children in large doses. Some all-natural brands offer flouride-free options.
I believe that fluoride is very important for your teeth. I know this is a controversial view but I grew up with fluoride in my water and my husband didn't. The difference is astonishing. I have good healthy teeth and my husband doesn't. We've also been working on developing a brushing habit with my son. After months and months of trying, he's pretty good at brushing and looks forward to it. The key? Make it a family affair. Plus, he also likes Tom's Silly Strawberry. I am using Tom's Whole Care.

My husband isn't a fan of it though. I think he's secretly using travel sizes of Crest to just get by. He doesn't like the taste it leaves in his mouth.

I'm willing to try other brands too. If you have a suggestion, please let me know. 

1 comment:

  1. We are using the whole care right now, but I really like the clove toothpaste. My kids use the silly strawberry as well, and they seem to really like the taste. Are you using Preserve toothbrushes? I think I'll buy them for us next, but my kids use the Spinbrushes (our dentist recommends them). They're still excited about brushing so I think we'll stick with them for now.

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