How Toxic Is Your Oral Care Routine?
By: Alexis Atkins
We all do it. After a restful sleep, we wander to the bathroom and grab our toothbrush. We turn on the faucet and squeeze a pea-sized amount of chemical-infused toothpaste on to our toothbrush with the hopes of cleansing the bacteria from our mouths.
Yes, you read that right, “chemical-infused toothpaste.”
Nearly all traditional toothpaste has at least two or more known-irritant chemicals in their formulations and is still sold in stores across the world. These chemicals can cause everything from painful canker sores to totally disrupting your hormones. Unfortunately, this chemical invasion is not exclusive to toothpaste. Other oral care products like mouthwash have ingredients that have been linked to side effects like tumors and heart problems.
But, as always, BLK + GRN has you covered with your all-natural upgrade.
In this post, we are going to breakdown what oral care ingredients you should be avoiding, why you should be staying away from them and how you can update your current oral care routine to be toxic-free.
Typical ingredients in toothpaste
The goal of all toothpaste is relatively the same: eliminate bacteria and freshen breath. Of course, there are some specialized formulas focused on teeth whitening or teeth sensitivity. But, overall, regular toothpaste is formulated using the same basic ingredients brand to brand.
The following five ingredients are some of the most problematic ingredients found in traditional toothpaste.
Artificial Sweeteners: Artificial sweeteners are common in oral care products, especially in kids formulas. The sweeteners improve the taste of the toothpaste. But just because it tastes great, it doesn't mean it’s great for your health. Aspartame, sorbitol, and saccharin are a few of the sweeteners found in traditional toothpaste. These additives are associated with health risks such as cancer, depression, headaches, and other health conditions.
Fluoride: For years, dentists and doctors have emphasized the importance of using fluoride in your oral health routine. Its role in toothpaste is to fight tooth decay by hardening your enamel and make it more resistant against the acids we consume. However, it’s no coincidence that toothpaste created with fluoride is accompanied by an FDA warning.
Investing or absorbing too much fluoride can lead to toxicity in the body which can actually override the benefits of using it for your dental health. The excess fluoride can cause streaks and teeth discoloration. Aside from potentially causing more damage to your teeth, fluoride has also been linked to infertility issues, neurological issues, arthritis, bone fractures, heart disease, and kidney disease.
In most cases, fluoride is actually added to the water supply to avoid tooth decay. So, including it in both your toothpaste and your mouthwash could potentially cause acute or severe fluoride toxicity.
Propylene Glycol: This mineral oil comes in two forms: industrial and pharmaceutical. The industrial form of propylene glycol is found in antifreeze and plane de-icing products. The pharmaceutical version is used as a surfactant in personal care products. In general, this chemical is known to irritate the eyes, skin, and lungs.
Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS): Sodium lauryl sulfate is the foaming agent in toothpaste. It was originally used to clean floors and later made its way into toothpaste. SLS is a known mouth-irritant. It’s known to be the cause of uncomfortable mouth texture and canker sores. Luckily, brands have gone back to the lab to develop SLS-free formulas that are available in-store.
Triclosan: Triclosan is a chemical commonly added to bath and body products to reduce bacterial contamination. In 2016, triclosan was actually banned by the FDA because of its safety concerns in health-related antiseptic products. The ban, in particular, focuses on products like hand washes, body washes, and hand scrubs. Triclosan is a suspected carcinogen, it has been shown to upset hormone regulation and weaken the immune system. Despite these concerns, the ban did not extend to oral care.
What about mouthwash?
Mouthwashes will often include toothpaste ingredients like fluoride and triclosan but will include some of its own troubling ingredients. A few of those ingredients include:
Alcohol: Alcohol is praised for its antibacterial properties. In fact, alcohol is so powerful it kills both the good and bad bacteria in our mouths. It’s considered a known carcinogen and can lead to conditions like dry mouth and oral cancer.
Artificial Dye: Those teal tinted and purple hues might look pretty and taste great but the artificial dyes in mouthwash can have long-term health effects. One of the side effects of using mouthwash with dye consistently could include teeth staining. Additionally, certain dyes have been connected to liver damage, attention disorders, and tumor development.
Methyl Salicylate: Methyl salicylate is considered highly toxic. It’s used as a flavoring agent in mouthwash. This toxic mouthwash ingredient is known to be the cause of fatal poisoning in children and overall irritating to the mouth.
How to detoxify your oral routine
Turning your oral routine green is easier than it sounds. After numerous reports of irritations from regular toothpaste, non-toxic brands have set out to create the perfect all-natural toothpaste that won't compromise your health.
If you are looking to switch up your current routine. Try this eco-conscious routine:
Jump start your oral routine by using a copper tongue scraper. Gently scrape your tongue from back to front to remove the bacteria that is the root of bad breath. Dirt Don’t Hurt Copper Tongue Scraper is made to not only kill bad breath but to also promote oral and digestive health, clear toxins and eliminate undigested food particles off of your tongue.
After scraping your tongue, rinse and brush your teeth. Creating a non-toxic oral care plan has to have a great all-natural toothbrush. This bamboo toothbrush by Dirt Don’t Hurt is the perfect alternative to the typical plastic toothbrush. It’s infused with an all-natural whitening charcoal. Plus, bamboo is antimicrobial!
Pair your toothbrush with an organic tooth powder like Garner’s Garden All-Natural Tooth Powder. This naturally whitening tooth powder ditches the harsh chemicals and switches them up for toxic-free ingredients. Bentonite and kaolin clay keep your teeth polished and clean while neem and peppermint powder absorbs toxins and removes stubborn stains from your teeth.
Last but not least, follow-up your brushing with an all-natural fluoride-free mouthwash by Garner’s Garden. It has all of the same benefits of regular mouthwash without health complications. This mouthwash is antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal. It’s key ingredients include peppermint, tea tree and cinnamon essential oils, and Food Grade H2O2.
Brushing your teeth is an intimate part of your wellness routine. These are products that go into your mouth and have the potential to be ingested at any step. With this in mind, natural is really the only option.
Are you interested in revamping your oral health products? Check out our oral care shop right here on BLK + GRN.