Our gums and teeth are living tissue, and we should approach cleaning them a little differently than we would scrub a countertop.
As a child, you were probably advised to brush with toothpaste twice a day. If toothpaste is the magic cleaner for our teeth, then why are cavities at an all-time high, and why does toothpaste come with a warning label, "May Be Harmful if Swallowed?"
"The blood that runs through your tooth will run through your toe in one minute." ~ Timothy A. Kersten DDS
The synthetic ingredients used in most commercial toothpastes and rinses, including many of the brands sold in health food stores, are more appropriate for industrial purposes than for cleaning the delicate tissue of the body or cultivating oral health. Brushing with these products may be harmful to our health. Absorbing through the mouths' mucous membrane into the bloodstream, these synthetic substances may lead to decomposed collagen, hindered hormones, damage to the delicate epithelium, disturbed microflora in the digestive tract, and, in the end, poor health.
Hopefully, no one is gulping gobs of toothpaste! However, the rate of absorption is very high inside the mouth, where the moist tissue of the skin wall, the epithelium, is only one cell thick. This is very important if one has bleeding gums where anything in the mouth will have direct access to the bloodstream. We would not want to put anything in, on, or around the body that could not be swallowed.
Some toothpastes, rinses, and mouthwashes are better than others. To help you make a wise decision about what you brush into your body, I have made a list of ingredients that May be Harmful if Swallowed.
1. Contrary to marketing madness, tooth decay is not caused by fluoride deficiency! The United States EPA has fluoride on its "substantial evidence of neurotoxicity" list. Fluoride appears to interfere with critical, bodily chemistry; damaging gums, disrupting collagen production and reducing enzyme activity. Studies have found that fluoride accumulates in the body, especially in the pineal gland, lowers IQ, forms deposits in the brain related to Alzheimer’s, promotes early-onset puberty, and the list goes on and on.
2. Colour pigments serve no health purpose in dental products, and they may have adverse effects. Coal tar, carbon deposit, and laboratory derived colors are recognized as potential allergens and have a 20 year anecdotal history of causing hyperactivity in children.
3. Artificial sweeteners like saccharin and sorbitol are generally added to improve the flavor of toothpaste. Saccharin is a petroleum based sugar substitute that was linked to cancer back in the 1970's. Sorbitol is manufactured by reducing glucose, and it has no nutritional value.
4. What paste would be complete without the detergents and surfactants? Surfactants are added to turn tooth brushing in to a tidy, foamy experience. Surfactants such as sodium laureth sulfate (SLES), ammonium laureth sulfate (ALES), sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) and ammonium lauryl sulfate (ALS) are known skin irritants, hormone and endocrine disruptors as well as suspected carcinogens and gene mutagens.
5. “Minty fresh!” is a marketing promise we all know from commercials. Minty flavourings are added to oral products to mask the unpleasant taste of detergents in toothpaste. Toothpastes and mouthwashes feel refreshing because they contain synthetic flavors such as fake mint (menthol) and fake cinnamon (cinnamaldehyde) that are made in a beaker in a lab, not in a plant. For example, cinnamaldehyde is manufactured by condensing benzaldehyde, acetaldehyde (possible carcinogen), sodium hydroxide (lye), calcium hydroxide (hydrated lime), hydrochloric acid or sodium ethylate (corrosives). Yum!
Real cinnamon flavouring is made from the essential oils in cinnamon bark and minty-fresh peppermint is made from the peppermint plant, and it is these authentic essences that are botanicalbiotic (kill bad breathing causing bacteria) and soothing for the mouth.
Commercial toothpaste gives an illusion of a fresh, clean mouth, yet it is the tooth brush that actually removes the plaque. It is best to be a purest about oral care; use a dry toothbrush with a dab of salt or baking soda. The simple, time-tested ingredient baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) is less abrasive to enamel than commercial toothpaste, and it has been shown to do all that we ask of a toothpaste: prevent dental caries due to its buffering capacity, and inhibit plaque formation, increase calcium uptake to the enamel, neutralize the pH in the mouth, and reduce the effect of harmful metabolic acids… and it is quite safe to swallow!
We can also maintain molars with the molecular matter of phytonutrients: brushing with botanicals, like neem, cardamom, clove, myrrh, peppermint and mastic that are anti-bacterial and anti-fungal while benefitting digestion and the rest of the body.
Check our All Natural Oral Care Product Lines from Living Libations, Weleda, Georganics
Adapted from article written by Nadine Artemis, the founder of Living Libations. She is a respected media guest and contributor, and her products have received rave reviews in the New York Times, LA Times, Elle, People, Vogue, and Hollywood Reporter. Described by Alanis Morissette as “a true-sense visionary,” Nadine crafts elegant formulations and healing creations from rare botanicals that have skin glowing around the world. Her concept of Renegade Beauty encourages effortlessness and inspires people to rethink conventional notions of beauty and wellness.