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By Lois Paylor
Why would toothpaste need a warning label?…especially toothpaste marketed to children? Is there a possible toxin (or toxins) in the substance we apply daily to our mouths, gums and teeth ? Yes, there are often multiple toxins, the most common poison being fluoride. And, yes, we mean that same chemical they’re putting in our drinking water―which is another issue itself. But, for now, let’s stick to toothpaste – toothpastes that doesn't require a warning label – those that are good for us, and for our children. How do you find one?
First, read the label and avoid anything with fluoride in it. Second, take another look at the label to see if the toothpaste contains sodium lauryl sulfate. It’s a degreasing and foaming agent, and it’s being studied regarding its correlation to cancer and numerous other health conditions. Any time we can keep sodium lauryl sulfate, sodium laureth sulfate, and sodium lauryl sulfoacetate (different words for almost the same molecule), and fluoride out of our toothpaste, we’re doing ourselves a favor.
Harmful if swallowed?
What is wrong with a toothpaste displaying a warning label “Harmful if swallowed?” The problem here isn’t simply the obvious fact that someone could easily swallow most substances they put in their mouths, but also the fact that digestion begins in the mouth. Our mouths are part of the gastrointestinal tract and are the gateway to our body. The mouth begins the digestive process of the body’s absorption of both nutrients and toxins. Common sense would dictate that a substance which is harmful to the body should never be put in one’s mouth, which is, currently, still considered part of the body! Last time we checked, even government entities still agree with this assessment!
Luckily, consumers have better options than playing Russian Roulette via dental hygiene…
So, what are some better toothpaste choices?
The following are recommended by nutritionist and homeopath David Getoff: Xyliwhite from NOW Foods and Spry by Xlear – both use xylitol, a natural substance which your body manufactures. It’s a non-toxic sweetener (it’s always good to avoid sugar) and an antibacterial agent. A study was done by a dental school where they had people use xylitol chewing gum or mints between meals or after a snack. It was found that people who used these items had fewer cavities. Putting xylitol in toothpaste seems like a good idea, too – you’re getting all the bacteria fighting goodness without the chemical dangers of fluoride.
Weleda offers another option with its use of minerals like sea salt, and organic plant extracts such a blackthorn (disinfectant), myrrh (soothing), and calendula (anti-inflammatory).
Peelu has an interesting ingredient – Peelu vegetable fiber – a great substance to help whiten your teeth. This compound has tannin (antibacterial), vitamin C (strengthens gums), sulphur (reduces bacteria buildup), and natural resins (enamel strengthener) It’s a good product for whitening your teeth without harmful abrasives and bleach.
Another good choice would be PerioPaste from Bio-Pro Dental. It contains all sorts of different things like folic acid, CoQ10, herbs, and essential oils that kill bacteria, reduce inflammation, rebuild damaged tissue, and support healthy gum growth. It also contains Lysine, which is often used to combat herpes virus and cold sores. Because it’s a professional brand, you won’t find the Bio-Pro® Dental PerioPaste in health food stores. However, there are many places that sell it online.
Good ol' baking soda and salt
And last, but not least, is good ol’ baking soda and salt. Baking soda is a strong alkalizer so it will help temporarily neutralize acids in the mouth. The body is unharmed if one swallows baking soda; however, if swallowed during a meal or immediately after it can hinder digestion as baking soda’s alkalinizing properties will neutralize stomach acid and prevent proper digestion. The salt is an antibacterial agent because most bacteria are killed by a high enough level of salt. The ideal combination is equal parts baking soda and salt. Make sure to use unrefined salt with minerals and no added chemicals such as Real Salt. These ingredients can be used with a dry toothbrush or one which has been lightly moistened in filtered water. The combination is an inexpensive way to use a cleaner, an alkalizer, and an antibacterial agent. Keep in mind that some dentists believe that baking soda can be abrasive to tooth enamel. You may want to alternate this combination with the toothpastes we recommend above.
There are a lot of options available – more than just listed here. Plan to take a few extra minutes next time you’re searching through the internet or browsing through the health food store to read some labels. Avoid fluoride, avoid sugar and avoid sodium lauryl sulfate (along with all of its similarly-named friends). Instead find products that have natural antibacterial substances, herbs, and minerals – all the things that will help your body fight against dental cavities and disease.
But first and foremost, find a toothpaste without a legally mandated warning label regarding ingesting substances you use to clean your mouth. After all, toothpaste should NOT need a safety warning!