Mother Earth Living

Natural Toothpaste for a Healthy Mouth

Have you ever wondered what makes your toothpaste green, sweet and minty-fresh? In addition to petrochemicals and hormone-disrupting chemicals (such as “SLS” and “triclosan;” see “The Ban List: 7 Ingredients to Avoid in Personal-Care Products“), many toothpastes and mouthwashes contain artificial sweeteners such as saccharin, which is made with chlorine, ammonia and other noxious chemicals. For naturally delicious alternatives, seek out products that include stevia, xylitol (a naturally derived sugar), or sweet fruit and herb extracts. And steer clear of synthetic dyes. Many are derived from coal tar–a known human carcinogen. Look for the words “colorant,” “blue lake” (or any “lake”), “yellow number 1,” “D&C” and “FD&C” on labels.

For a healthy mouth, you may also want to reconsider fluoride. Long considered a beneficial additive, there is now debate surrounding the safety of fluoride. Although the EWG supports the use of fluoride in toothpaste, their research indicates that Americans–especially children–are being exposed to excessive amounts of fluoride through the fluoridation of public water supplies (read more in “Fuoride in tap water — What you can do“). Excessive ingestion of fluoride during the early childhood years may cause fluorosis–a defect in the enamel that causes visible discoloration, ranging from white spots to brown and black stains. The American Dental Association recommends choosing fluoride-free toothpaste for children younger than 2 and for kids who might swallow it. Fluoride toothpaste may also cause or aggravate canker sores. If you have a sensitive mouth or prefer a natural alternative, support healthy teeth and gums with ingredients such as tea tree oil, baking soda, neem and myrrh.

Natural Toothpaste Products

1. J?sön Powersmile Cinnamon Powermint Mouthwash
Sea salts and grapefruit seed extract help maintain healthy gums and reduce tartar buildup in this alcohol- and saccharin-free mouthwash. 16 oz., $9

2. Organix South TheraNeem Mouthwash
This paraben- and alcohol-free mouthwash uses neem and other herbal extracts to help maintain healthy teeth. 16 oz., $13

3. Desert Essence Tea Tree Oil Mouthwash
Free of alcohol and artificial sweeteners, this mouthwash features antiseptic tea tree oil and refreshing spearmint.  8 oz., $6

4. Tom’s of Maine Antiplaque Flat Floss
This sturdy floss is coated in natural wax and helps remove plaque with propolis and myrrh herbal resins. 32 yards, $3

5. Ayurvedic Licorice Toothpaste
Free of fluoride and SLS, Aurom`ere’s Ayurvedic toothpastes combine tooth-whitening peelu fiber with antiseptic neem. 4.16 oz., $6

6. Tom’s of Maine Clean & Gentle Fluoride Toothpaste
Glycyrrhizin, a gentle ingredient derived from licorice root, creates natural foam in Tom’s only formula without SLS. Naturally sourced fluoride helps prevent decay, and peppermint oil and xylitol give it a fresh, sweet taste. 4.7 oz., $6

7. Burt’s Bees Natural “Whitening” Toothpaste
Available with or without fluoride, Burt’s Bees’ toothpastes use sodium cocoyl glutamate instead of SLS and vegetable glycerin instead of propylene glycol.  4 oz., $5

For more natural toothpaste products, see our Resource Guide for Personal-Care Products. For more on chemicals in beauty products, read the original article, “Come Clean: Natural Alternatives to Chemical-Laden Personal-Care Products.”

  • Published on Jun 1, 2012
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