The outer shell of your tooth is a mixture of protein, water, and minerals. Enamel protects the inner dentin to prevent cavities. As you get older, your enamel can weaken due to the foods and beverages you eat, your brushing habits, and the products you use.Holistic toothpaste products are all the rage. People want natural, organic, limited-ingredient products that they feel protect the environment and their health. But, are they doing more harm than good? Are “holistic” toothpaste products safe for your teeth?
Don’t Skip the Fluoride
Are you interested in fluoride-free holistic toothpaste? Why? There’s a common misconception that people are overdosing and poisoning themselves on fluoride when it’s in their public drinking water and in their toothpaste. They believe that they’re harming themselves by using fluoride products.Common signs of fluoride overdose can be linked to so many other things. They include headache, abdominal pain, nausea, and vomiting. You cannot just assume that because you have those symptoms, you have fluoride poisoning.It takes about 32 to 64 milligrams of fluoride per kilogram of body weight to reach lethal levels of fluoride. For a 150-pound person, that’s 2,177.2 to 4,354.5 milligrams of fluoride at one time. You’re not going to get that much by brushing your teeth twice a day.Fluoride is important for strengthening your enamel. That’s why it’s in toothpaste. The role of fluoride is to help the minerals speed their development within the enamel and help the enamel block the bacteria that cause tooth decay.If you plan to switch to a holistic toothpaste product, look for the ADA seal. Make sure it contains fluoride. The only time you should avoid fluoride is if your dentist has specifically cautioned you against it for some reason, often allergies to fluoride.
Problematic Ingredients in Many Holistic Toothpaste Products
Holistic toothpaste can have beneficial features, but some brands have problematic ingredients. Charcoal toothpaste is popular for whitening, but charcoal is gritty. Some charcoal products are no better than taking fine sandpaper to your teeth. As you brush, you’re removing the ever-important enamel from your teeth, which makes you more prone to tooth decay and sensitivity.
How Do You Choose the Best Toothpaste for Your Teeth?
How do you decide which toothpaste is best for your teeth? Ask your dentist. Your specific toothpaste needs may not be something that fits the general public. One product may be designed for whitening and is particularly abrasive, which is not what you need when you have weak enamel.
Narrow Down Your Goals
What are your goals? For some people, holistic kinds of toothpaste are a way to reduce irritation on sensitive teeth and gums, especially if your skin is sensitive to sulfates and parabens. Others want natural ingredients over chemicals. You need to decide what you hope to gain by switching to organic or natural toothpaste.Before you even make the switch, you should start looking at your diet. Add dietary changes to your goals if you drink a lot of red wine, coffee, or sugary beverages like soda and sweet tea. If you eat lots of candies and sugary foods like granola bars, dried fruit, and cookies, you need to break that habit and aim for healthier snacks like raw veggies and nuts to help lower the amount of sugar helping to harm your teeth.
Read the Ingredients
Read labels and pay attention to the ingredients in the natural toothpaste you purchase. Consider the benefits each offers and decide if it’s right for you. Here are some you should consider if you’re looking to lower bad bacteria in your mouth and help protect your teeth and gums.Aloe Vera – Most people associate aloe vera gel with a topical treatment for burns. Aloe has anti-inflammatory properties that have been found to help reduce gum inflammation. In addition, it’s also a soft, non-abrasive gel, which makes it a good choice for people with sensitive teeth or weakened enamel.Coconut Oil – A therapy known as oil pulling involves swishing coconut oil around your mouth to reduce the risk of gum disease. Coconut oil is rich in lauric acid, an anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial agent. It’s proven effective and may lower the number of bacteria in your mouth.Hemp Seed Oil – Hemp seed oil is a newer find in holistic toothpaste. Its anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory, and anti-ulcerative properties make it a popular choice. Research is ongoing, but it’s been found that hemp seed oil can help decrease the number of strep bacteria.Sage Oil – Sage oil performed even better than hemp seed oil in studies. It also lowered strep bacteria to help reduce the risk of tooth decay.Xylitol – Studies find this sugar alcohol derived from plants can reduce bacteria levels in your mouth. It can help lower the acid production within your mouth which weakens your enamel. Consider chewing xylitol gum between meals to help clean your teeth and to ease snack cravings.
Ask Your Dentist
If you’re interested in using a holistic toothpaste product, talk to your dentist about why you are interested. You might find there are better options. For example, a product that boasts the ability to treat dry mouth may not be as beneficial as a prescription product your dentist recommends.Or, you’re eager to use a product that uses baking soda and peroxide to whiten your teeth. Not all teeth can be whitened. Usage of medications like tetracycline in childhood may impact the color of your teeth and only veneers can help correct the stains.Bring a list of toothpaste options you’re considering and ask your dentist for input. The #1 choice of magazines and influencers may end up being the most damaging one.
Have you been avoiding seeing a dentist due to dental anxiety? You’re not alone. The CDC reports that:
13.2% of people 19 or younger have untreated cavities
25.9% of adults 20 to 44 have untreated cavities
25.3% of adults 45 to 64 have untreated cavities
20.2% of adults 65 or older have untreated cavities
37% of adults 18 or older have not been to the dentist in the past year