You’ve been brushing your teeth twice a day for years, right? Have you thought about what you’re putting on your teeth or in your mouth? When you help brush your kid’s teeth when they’re young, do you really know what’s in the toothpaste? Is fluoride safe? What is Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) and why is it in my toothpaste?
All of these questions I took for granted and I had no idea what national brands where putting in their toothpastes. I want to share my experience with you on why I switched to natural toothpaste and show you why I did. You can see all of my reviews of natural toothpastes here.
OK, let’s start looking at what’s in national brand name toothpastes. Two of the ingredients you’ll see are Sodium Lauryl Sulfate and Fluoride.
Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (very similar to Sodium Dodecyl Sulfate)
SLS is essentially a soap or detergent that is added to personal care products, such as shampoos, toothpastes and soaps to help it develop into a lather or foam. Have you always thought a having it foam up is a good thing? Not necessarily. According to research at the Environmental Working Group, they have found the highest concern of SLS to cause irritation to the skin, eyes or lungs which makes me concerned about putting it directly in my mouth. Other studies have reported redness, skin corrosion with very high levels of SLS and dryness. Have you ever had the sensation of dry lips after brushing your teeth? Now you know why. You can rest assured that there hasn’t been any official link to cancer, but there have been studies looking at the relationship and long term exposure of SLS and cancer.
Tell me if you’ve heard this before: Fluoride is good for my teeth and will prevent cavities! Did you know that fluoride is already added to your community water and consuming too much fluoride can cause health issues? In fact, injecting too much fluoride can result in Dental Fluorosis. Dental Fluorosis results from consuming too much fluoride and causes a discoloration of the enamel on the tooth as well as pitting in more severe cases. The biggest risk to this is kids aged 8 years or younger. In fact, the Central for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advises that you should not use fluoride toothpaste at all for those under 2 years old unless directed by a dentist and for ages 2 – 6 apply only a pea sized amount of toothpaste on the brush.
National brand toothpaste companies know this and on the back of a national brand toothpaste tube says this:
“If more than used for brushing is accidentally swallowed, get medial help or contact Poison Control Center right away.”
I don’t know about you, but that doesn’t exactly give me a good sense of security. Now, as an adult, I don’t have any issues not swallowing toothpaste, but you’re likely going to ingest some toothpaste without even trying. More importantly, think of kids who are starting to brush their teeth on their own. Maybe they think that the new strawberry toothpaste you got them tastes good. And maybe they want to try swallowing some because they like it. I think you see where I’m going here. So why do national brand toothpaste companies add fluoride to their toothpaste? My guess is that it’s purely for marketing purposes since they sell “extra fluoride” as a perk to oral hygiene.
I’ve recently made the switch to natural toothpaste and can say that I’m not going back. I’ve tried many different types of natural toothpaste, some better than others, and have found a few that I really enjoy. (I’ve also found some that you should definitely stay away from even though they’re known as being natural when in fact they are not.) From using natural toothpaste I’ve found that my teeth feel cleaner, tooth sensitivity has decreased, and I know what I’m putting into my mouth is safer and healthier. You can see my review of my natural toothpastes here.