The basics of oral hygiene are pretty easy to remember. Brush your teeth twice per day, two minutes per session, and be sure to floss at least once per day to get rid of gunk and bacteria between your teeth! You should also pair your toothbrush with a great toothpaste, which can add protection for your teeth and gums while freshening your breath.
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But unfortunately, lots of commercial or “regular” toothpaste tubes are chock-full of synthetic chemicals and lab-made ingredients. While these are great for freshening your breath, they're far from the best when it comes to oral hygiene. In the worst cases, they can even cause enamel problems or lead to health risks later down the road from repeatedly ingesting just a little bit everyday.
Fortunately, more and more people are making the switch to natural toothpaste. These toothpastes can still help you fight off bad breath and bacteria but don’t carry the same risk for long term side effects like fluorosis. Let’s take a look at one of the best natural and organic toothpastes you ought to try this year.
Why Are Regular Toothpastes Risky?
Let's be frank – your mouth is pretty good at breaking down anything you put inside it, including toothpaste. While this is great for your digestion, it unfortunately means that many commercial toothpastes, which are often loaded with synthetic chemicals and non-organic ingredients, are broken down in your body over time This may negatively affect your teeth, gums, and tongue, and those chemicals may even make their way through your GI tract if you accidentally swallow some (which we’ve all truthfully done more than once).
While toothpaste products are never designed to be harmful, they’re often over-designed in general. Lots of artificial flavors or unnecessary preservatives may be added, and some toothpaste products contain parabens: synthetic chemicals designed to increase the shelf life of various products that have been linked to certain cancers.
Do all the synthetic ingredients in many commercial toothpastes actually help your teeth stay healthier? Not really. In a lot of cases, it’s just what people are used to.
On top of that, lots of synthetic or commercial toothpastes are packed full of fluoride. While fluoride can be beneficial for your teeth, you can get fluoride from other sources already, such as drinking water if you live in a city or suburb. Ingesting too much fluoride over time can lead to fluorosis.
Some of the other potentially harmful ingredients found in regular toothpaste include:
- SLS or sodium lauryl sulfate, which is used to make toothpaste foam. This is an ingredient also found in a lot of shampoos, and it’s a type of detergent. Some people are allergic to it and it may cause tongue or gum irritation.
- Saccharin, which is a type of sweetener used in a lot of mouthwashes and toothpastes. As you might guess, too much saccharin can lead to the same kinds of problems as other sweet foods and drinks such as decay.
In contrast, natural toothpaste products can still do a phenomenal job of cleaning your teeth, freshening your breath, and leaving you with a white smile without using a bunch of unnecessary ingredients.
The truth is that there’s a natural or botanical alternative to practically every toothpaste ingredient. Thus, natural toothpaste products are a perfect choice for folks who don’t want to go overboard with fluoride or who don’t want to put a bunch of synthetic paste in their mouth or their kids’; especially since kids are much more prone to accidentally swallow toothpaste and other oral hygiene products.
Doesn’t Skipping Fluoride Hurt Your Teeth?
The science is actually undecided on this point. You can find some evidence that fluoride is fantastic for helping to repair your teeth from daily damage and limiting enamel destruction. However, there's also some evidence that fluoride can be harmful to your teeth or cause other side effects throughout the body if consumed in too great a quantity, like fluorosis.
Toothpaste is designed to clean your teeth and gums, so it’s most important that toothpaste has the ingredients to do this, but aside from that, a lot of standard ingredients like the ones we mentioned earlier don’t play a needed role. Everything else is just a bonus; remember, your toothbrush is more responsible for physically removing plaque and debris from your teeth and over your gums than the toothpaste itself.
In this way, fluoride can be beneficial but is not strictly necessary in a great toothpaste.
Benefits of Natural and Organic Toothpaste Products
Compared to their commercial counterparts, natural and organic toothpastes have a lot to offer. Even better, they don't come with the same risks outlined above. Here are just a few reasons why you might give one of these toothpastes a try:
- Excellent for breath freshening – The majority of natural and organic toothpastes have powerful essential oils included in their ingredients. Since these work without chemical additives, they can freshen your breath without making your tongue burn or possibly causing harm to your throat. The most common essential oils for breath freshening include tea tree, peppermint, and spearmint.
- Safe tooth cleaning – Since the ingredients used in natural and organic toothpastes aren’t harsh or abrasive, you don’t need to worry about grinding down your teeth or wearing your enamel over time. This can be a particularly good thing if you’ve had lots of cavities in the past and your teeth are a bit weaker than normal, or if you have sensitive teeth.
- Prevent gum pain – Most natural toothpaste products can soothe your gums and help with gum pain, making them a great alternative if you have sensitivity. The majority of commercial toothpastes are far too aggressive for comfort, whereas the plant oils and plant extracts like aloe vera in natural toothpaste products are much more soothing and forgiving.
- Remove stains – Lots of natural toothpastes can also help to remove stains on your teeth. While they aren’t quite as effective as dedicated whitening solutions that use ingredients like bleach, they can do a fantastic job of turning your teeth a shade or two whiter over the long-term.
- Safe for kids – If you have kids, it’s natural to only want the best for them. But kids tend to swallow toothpaste more often than not. You definitely don’t want the synthetic chemicals found in regular toothpaste to be absorbed by their bodies! Organic and natural ingredient-based toothpastes don’t carry the same risks if this happens accidentally. It’s safe to say that natural toothpaste is a much better choice for kids overall, both because of the above sensitivity benefits and since accidental ingestion isn’t cause to sound the alarm.
Green Goo’s Fresh Peppermint Toothpaste
So, without further delay, one of the best natural and organic toothpastes we recommend is our very own Peppermint Toothpaste. It’s an all-natural toothpaste that can soothe your gums and freshen your breath without any of the unnecessary and often artificial ingredients described above.
We don’t use saccharin or other artificial sweeteners, either – instead, to achieve the classic peppermint taste, we use natural peppermint oil mixed with stevia, and nothing more.
Here they are along with what they do:
- Sorbitol, a type of natural resin that can provide dental benefits
- Hydrated silica, a naturally derived, gentle abrasive
- Glycerin, an Alpha hydroxy acid that helps to clean
- Xylitol, derived from fruits and vegetables and keeps plaque off teeth
- Calcium carbonate, a fill-in for fluoride--calcium is good for your teeth and bones!
- Peppermint oil, which grants the toothpaste its peppermint flavor
- Sodium, boosts flavor and adds a bit of texture
- Stevia, a natural sweetener for better flavor
- Calendula flower extract, which helps support dental hygiene
- Aloe Vera leaf extract, which soothes the gums and prevents the toothpaste from drying out your mouth
Teeth Cleaning in a Pinch: Green Goo’s Castile Soap
What’s this? Soap for toothpaste? It sounds strange, but hear us out!
The truth is that castile soap works quite well as a toothpaste alternative if you run out of your trusty Green Goo Peppermint Toothpaste.
Castile soap is renowned as an excellent natural cleaning solution and it’s not toxic if accidentally consumed in small quantities, meaning you aren’t running the risk of poisoning yourself by using castile soap as a toothpaste for the short term, even if you ingest just a little bit by accident.
Any of our castile soaps can work well as a toothpaste alternative. Our Unscented Soap is basic and effective, but our other soaps come with fragrances.
Do note, however, that castile soap doesn’t exactly taste great, especially compared to our Peppermint Toothpaste. So, we wouldn’t recommend using castile soap as a regular toothpaste – think of it more as a backup option in a pinch when you can’t go to the store and discover you are out of toothpaste right before bed.
All in all, natural and organic toothpastes are perfect picks for kids and for anyone tired of putting synthetic chemicals in their mouths. Understanding dental health and the best oral hygiene practices takes time and effort, but the most important thing is to brush twice a day for at least two minutes, and to know what ingredients are in your self care products and why.
It’s never too late to make the switch! Give our Peppermint Toothpaste a try, and don’t hesitate to use one of our castile soaps as a backup. If you’re really looking to make the move toward a more all natural care routine, you can check out our Plant-Based Self Care Products here! Happy scrubbing!