Switching to organic toothpaste seems like it should be a simple process. That is, until you’re standing in front of a rack filled with choices without a clue. Surfactant-free? Naturally-sourced fluoride? No Triclosan? Remineralizing? What does it all mean and why is it so hard to choose something as simple as toothpaste?
The Best Organic Toothpaste
People opt to use organic toothpaste for several reasons:
- Avoid sweeteners
- Avoid specific additives
- Preference for natural products
- Desire for vegan products
Rely on your personal preferences, along with your dentist’s or dental hygienist’s guidance, to choose the right organic toothpaste for you and your family.
Standard (non-organic) toothpastes typically contain a set of ingredients that include:
- Abrasives to clean bacterial film and debris from your teeth: Examples: Calcium carbonate, dehydrated silica gels, hydrated aluminum oxides, magnesium carbonate, phosphate salts and silicates. Silica is the whitening ingredient in most whitening toothpastes.
- Detergents for cleaning and the foamy lather we expect from toothpaste. Examples: sodium lauryl sulfate, sodium N-Lauryl sarcosinate.
- Fluoride – all American Dental Association (ADA)Accepted toothpastes contain fluoride, even organic ones.
- Flavor including sweeteners such as saccharine. No ADA-Accepted toothpaste contains sugar.
- Treatment additives such as tetrasodium pyrophosphate for tartar control, potassium nitrate or strontium chloride to reduce tooth sensitivity, Stannous fluoride and triclosan for reducing gum inflammation and removing plaque.
- Humectants to keep the toothpaste moist. Examples: glycerol, propylene, glycol and sorbitol.
- Binders to stabilize the toothpaste formula. Examples: mineral colloids, natural gums, seaweed colloids or synthetic cellulose.
Chemicals have unfairly gotten a bad reputation – they aren’t all evil substances created in a lab. If, for example, you brushed your teeth with a frayed twig and water you’d still be ingesting chemicals – H2O (the chemical formula for water) indicates that water is comprised of hydrogen and oxygen, naturally occurring chemicals hydrogen and oxygen.
Fluorite is also a naturally occurring (calcium fluoride [CaF2]) chemical. In its blue-green crystal (mineral) form, Fluorite is beautiful, and was once known as Bohemian Emeralds. It’s still used for jewelry and home décor.
It is your decision whether you want to use fluoride-free toothpaste. We would simply urge you to get the facts from a professional that you know and trust – in other words, speak to your dentist. You can easily find Fluoride-free organic and non-organic toothpastes. Organic toothpastes may use naturally-occurring Fluoride, as opposed to a synthetic Fluoride.
Most people who want organic toothpaste are interested in a product that is paraben free, sulfate free, does not contain Sodium Lauryl/Laureth Sulfate, and has no artificial (synthetic) colors or flavors or sweeteners. Additionally, many will look for products with natural preservatives as opposed to EDTA, Formaldehyde or Parabens. People often also opt for products that contain no animal by-products and are cruelty free (no animal testing).
Note that almost any toothpaste can be billed as “natural.” The ADA defines “natural” as a toothpaste that contains no artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives. A product with the ADA Seal of Acceptance has been tested by the ADA and found to be safe and effective.
Since there is a cost involved in having a product tested by the ADA, a toothpaste manufacturer may opt not to submit their product for testing for financial or other reasons. The lack of an ADA Seal Of Acceptance doesn’t necessarily indicate that a product is less than satisfactory, but you do want to check with your dentist before using an unendorsed brand.
Dentists agree that how you use toothpaste is more important that the brand that you choose. Here’s a video that will help you brush up on your technique.