Limiting the amount of chemicals we take into our bodies is an important lifestyle choice for many people. Strict diets are followed and natural beauty products are carefully chosen, however we often forget about oral care. Dr Bill Kellner-Read, dentist and author of the acclaimed book Toxic Bite, says chemical toothpaste is contributing to our chemical overload, so we should consider replacing it with a natural alternative.
“In many countries toothpaste carries a warning saying if it’s ingested people should seek medical advice or call a poison control centre immediately. It contains highly poisonous chemicals, yet we’re putting in our mouths twice a day,“ says Dr Kellner-Read.
Fluoride can negatively affect our general health – research suggests that it increases the incidence of cancer and tumour growth, disrupts the immune system, speeds up the ageing process, increases arthritis and causes genetic damage. It enters the bloodstream within minutes of brushing our teeth. “I don’t believe it’s worth trying to improve dental health at the expense of our general health,” continues Dr. Kellner Read.
Other fluoride facts:
Fluoride is highly toxic and is used in insecticides and rat poison.
It is a by-product of copper, iron and aluminium manufacturing so the body doesn’t crave it – no one has a fluoride deficiency!
Dental fluorosis can occur if too much fluoride is ingested, causing teeth to discolour and crumble.
Toothpastes containing fluoride can be too toxic for young children, with some studies finding high levels of fluoride poisoning and even deaths in young children.
SODIUM LAURYL SULPHATE (SLS)
The majority of toothpastes on the market not only contain fluoride but also sodium lauryl sulphate (SLS), a foaming detergent used in toothpastes to assist in the cleaning process. Dr Kellner-Read says “SLS can cause contact eczema, eye and skin irritation, and it has a protein-denaturing effect – sloughing off skin, causing sores and exacerbating mouth ulcers.” The NICNAS Existing Chemicals Information Sheet produced by the Australian Government concurs, “SLS irritates the mucous membranes, especially in individuals predisposed to recurrent mouth ulcers.”
Triclosan is found in most chemical toothpastes for its antibacterial properties. It is a chlorophenol, a class of chemicals suspected of causing cancer and when taken internally, even in small amounts, this family of chemicals can lead to cold sweats, circulatory collapse and convulsions.
Parabens are used to kill bacteria, prevent the growth of mould and prolong the shelf life of chemical toothpastes, however it is believed that frequent absorption of parabens contributes to the development of cancerous tumours.
There are several effective alternatives to chemical toothpastes, which are totally safe.
Brush thoroughly Firstly, the act of brushing is more important than using a cleaning agent. Brush the teeth thoroughly for a t least two minutes, twice a day. Flossing is important too. And you can do this just using water.
Make your own tooth powder Mix 1/2 cup baking soda (for the cleansing properties) with 1/8 cup of salt (for abrasive properties) and store the mixture in a glass jar in a cool dark place. You can add a few drops of peppermint essential oil if you like. Dip a dampened brush into the mixture and give your teeth a good brush. This will keep for quite a while but you will probably want to make up a fresh batch every few weeks or so.
Toothpaste recipe To the powder recipe above, add 3 or 4 teaspoons of glycerin and 10-15 drops of essential oil such as peppermint, anise, lemon etc. If you have a squeezy container, spoon it in, otherwise store it in a jar.
Choose natural toothpaste Phyto Shield toothpaste uses the rich natural anti-bacterial and anti-oxidant properties of Totarol, derived from the Totara tree, native to New Zealand. The Totara tree is renowned for its resilience against rotting due to bacteria fighting Totarol. It also contains antioxidants, which protect the body against the destructive effects of free radicals and other essential oils beneficial in helping neutralise free radical damage in the mouth.