I used to be proponent of the typical "all-American" brands of toothpaste found easily on grocery store shelves. That is, until I learned that fluoride is not beneficial despite what big-time marketing schemes would have us believe. It's actually quite detrimental. Here's what Environmental Working Group has to say about it:
SODIUM FLUORIDE (active ingredient) ~ Developmental/reproductive toxicity, Multiple, additive exposure sources, Irritation (skin, eyes, or lungs), Organ system toxicity (non-reproductive), Occupational hazards, Use restrictions
And from Dr. Mercola:
Many assume that consuming fluoride is only an issue that involves your dental health. But according to a 500-page scientific review, fluoride is an endocrine disruptor that can affect your bones, brain, thyroid gland, pineal gland and even your blood sugar levels.2
There have been over 34 human studies and 100 animal studies linking fluoride to brain damage,3 including lower IQ in children, and studies have shown that fluoride toxicity can lead to a wide variety of health problems, including:
Increased lead absorption Disrupts synthesis of collagen Hyperactivity and/or lethargy Muscle disorders Thyroid disease Arthritis Dementia Bone fractures Lowered thyroid function Bone cancer (osteosarcoma) Inactivates 62 enzymes and inhibits more than 100 Inhibited formation of antibodies Genetic damage and cell death Increased tumor and cancer rate Disrupted immune system Damaged sperm and increased infertility
So, I switched to fluoride-free Tom's of Maine. A pretty safe choice, though some of their ingredients are also questionable:
ZINC CITRATE ~ Organ system toxicity (non-reproductive), Persistence and bioaccumulation, Use restrictions
CARRAGEENAN ~ Contamination concerns (DEGRADED CARRAGEENAN), Organ system toxicity (non-reproductive)
SOCIUM LAURYL SULFATE ~ Ecotoxicology, Organ system toxicity (non-reproductive), Use restrictions
Hmmm... not really very encouraging. Plus, my gums didn't improve with the switch to Tom's (not that I necessarily expected it to). My oral health is not horrible, but it's not stellar. The worst of it is I have receding gums that are sometimes sensitive and there's spotty bleeding when I brush, even though I use a soft toothbrush.
So, I figured why not try natural, non-toxic ingredients? I have nothing to lose except TOXICITY!
After reading several articles about various recipes and the benefits of the ingredients used, this is the one I have started with (and am open to trying new blends):
2 Tbs coconut oil
1 Tbs baking soda
1 Tbs bentonite clay
2 tsp celtic sea salt
10 drops peppermint oil, to taste
Coconut oil - I didn't want a tooth powder, not to start. So, coconut oil is what I chose to bind the other ingredients. "Coconut oil is a powerful inhibitor of a large variety of pathogenic organisms, from viruses to bacteria to protozoa, largely due to its naturally high lauric acid content." (Source: Dr. Mercola article) I also oil pull with coconut oil. You can read more about that in the same article.
Baking Soda (Sodium Bicarbonate) - The advantageous uses of baking soda seem endless; it's popular for cooking, baking, cleaning, and even oral health! It will treat and event prevent halitosis, gum disease, mouth sores and ulcers, and is even an effective whitener. Contrary to popular belief, it's mild and non-abrasive.
Bentonite Clay - Like coconut oil, bentonite clay has myriad health benefits, including oral health. It's tasteless and textureless (very fine powder), and has the ability to bind heavy metals and toxins while it provides minerals.
Celtic Sea Salt - "Unlike ordinary table salt, natural sea salt contains dozens of essential minerals and trace elements. No synthetic mineral supplement can equal the wealth of minerals that natural sea salt supplies. The living cells that make up our body are literally composed of a solution almost identical to sea water. Many mysteries still exist within sea salt and why it works so well to help heal tissue. What is undisputable that natural sea salt water works wonders to improve gum tissue and help heal wounds." (Source: Richard Pen article)
Peppermint Oil - With its anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory, astringent properties, peppermint oil plays a strong role in dental hygiene. While it's killing bacteria and preventing tooth decay, it's freshening breath. Yay.
A 4-ounce mason jar holds the above-recipe perfectly. As you can see, I've been using this one for a few weeks.
I use my handy palette knife to cut off a chunk, pop it in my mouth and start brushing. It liquifies and dissolves instantly. It's not pretty, but it works great. I'm very happy with it... and my gums don't bleed anymore.
I think my teeth are getting whiter, too, despite my love of coffee and red wine!
What do you think... would you ditch the stuff in a tube and give this a try?
Linking with the HomeAcre Hop, Tasty Traditions