This past week I was away at a workshop to learn more about flexibility, fascia and stretching (future fascinating article coming soon). I was sharing a room with another friend and when I was washing up one evening I noticed his toothpaste on the sink counter and it got me thinking about the controversy surrounding the popular brand-name tubular tooth polishers.
It’s been about five years now since I have used conventional toothpaste. I am a bit of a contrarian by nature and have a deep drive to buck society’s trends, especially when it comes to the topic of what the main-stream considers healthy.
I too was originally captivated by the fancy toothpaste commercials guaranteeing fewer cavities, a barrier against gum disease and a whiter smile. Years ago I was brushing my teeth one night and got bored and started reading the label and something caught my attention. The label explained that only a very small amount should be used and the paste itself should never be swallowed and children should be supervised while brushing so they do not swallow excessive amounts.
This didn’t sound like a health product but more like a potentially dangerous cleaning product. The toothpaste warning actually made me more alarmed because at least most household cleaning products have an intended use that does not involve accidental ingestion. With toothpaste, the label specifically states not to swallow, however it is a product that goes directly into the mouth, so the chances of swallowing even a small amount are high. Was I potentially harming myself by using this product?
Problem Number One: Conventional Toothpaste May Not Protect Your Teeth
I’m going to skip over discussing the dyes and artificial ingredients found in the popular toothpaste brands and simply focus on the two main ingredients that are touted for health that are a healthy façade in my opinion. Upon researching conventional toothpaste I found that the claims made by the big companies that their product helps protects against cavities might not be entirely true; in fact, the ingredient advertised to do just that might actually do the exact opposite.
One of the primary ingredients in big-brand toothpaste is “glycerin” which gives the paste its silky smooth texture, a slightly sweet taste and makes brushing a breeze, however this convenience my lead to the slow demise of dental health. Glycerin leaves a coating on the teeth that seals them and may prevent teeth from remineralizing by not allowing saliva to penetrate the teeth with the minerals it contains.
Over time the teeth may become softer, cavities may form and gum degeneration and bone loss may occur.
Problem Number Two: Don’t be Deceived by Fluoride
We have been bombarded by the idea that fluoride is necessary and healthy for us especially when it comes to the health of our teeth; this notion could not be further from the truth. We are exposed to dangerous amounts of fluoride from all angles not just from big-brand toothpaste but even in our drinking water. An article from The Weston Price Foundation put it best when they said:
Fluoridation is not about “children’s teeth,” it is about industry getting rid of its hazardous waste at a profit, instead of having to pay a fortune to dispose of it.
Only calcium fluoride occurs naturally in water; however, that type of fluoride has never been used for fluoridation. Instead what is used over 90 percent of the time are silicofluorides, which are 85 times more toxic than calcium fluoride.
They are non-biodegradable, hazardous waste products that come straight from the pollution scrubbers of big industries. If not dumped in the public water supplies, these silicofluorides would have to be neutralized at the highest rated hazardous waste facility at a cost of $1.40 per gallon (or more depending on how much cadmium, lead, uranium and arsenic are also present). Cities buy these unrefined pollutants and dump them–lead, arsenic and all–into our water systems. Silicofluorides are almost as toxic as arsenic, and more toxic than lead.1, 2
The dangers of fluoride are numerous and quite alarming. The major threats to our health include:
- Kidney Problems
- Brain Damage
- Thyroid Damage
- Bone Disease
- Bone Fractures
As I mentioned earlier in the article, the toothpaste label warns about not swallowing the product, however, the label does not give the specifics as to why you should not swallow it. The reason why is because of the known harmful effects of fluoride. If you need more information about the dangers check out The Fluoride Action Network.
Safe Toothpaste Alternatives
It does not make logical sense to me to avoid consuming a product that is intended to go into your mouth. I decided that I wanted to avoid this harmful type of fluoride all together I stopped consuming my local tap water almost entirely and looked for a toothpaste alternative. I read about making my own toothpaste using baking soda and coconut oil but I never really had the strong desire to put the effort in. What I did find was a product I had seen my grandfather using years ago when I was a young kid: tooth powder.
The brand I have been using for years now is Eco-dent (note I do not make any money recommending this product).
Eco-Dent is composed of baking soda, sea salt, herbs & essential oils to deliver its cleaning benefits. Carbonic acid is also another key ingredient in the product which dissolves the minerals in the sea salt and allows for the effervescent, low-abrasive cleaning. The sea salt provides more than 70 coral minerals, necessary to optimal human health; the minerals are found in the same proportions as those found in our teeth, bones and blood.
Call me a cynical person but I always use a critical eye when it comes to major household products, especially when it comes to my health. My suggestion, look at your products, read the labels and understand what’s really inside and make the best decision for you.
Fluoride Action Network: www.fluoridealert.org
George Glasser, Journalist, St. Petersburg, FL, “Fluoridation: A Mandate to Dump Toxic Waste in the Name of Public Health,” July 22, 1991.
R.E. Gosselin et al, Clinical Toxicology of commercial Products, 5th ed., 1984. U.S. EPA Maximum Contaminant Levels (MCL) EPA/NSF Standard 60.
Shattuck, Anita: Fluoridation: The Fraud of the Century, Weston Price Foundation, 2004.