For as long as toothpaste has been commercialised, we’ve been bombarded with statements of repair, restore, deep clean, whitening and advanced this and maximum that. The large brands are promoting the perfect white smile with synthetic pastes and clinical treatments. As healthy as they are promoting to be, they contain synthetic ingredients which studies have shown to cause a variety of undesired effects on our health.
Now more than ever, buyers are becoming more interested in ingredients. They want to know what’s in their toothpaste, and why. More and more people are favouring natural products over synthetic formulations. Maybe you've already started this journey or perhaps you want to learn more about alternatives to the current toothpaste in your bathroom.
What is natural toothpaste?
Most big-brand toothpastes contain parabens, harsh detergents, and sulfates, which act as preservatives and foaming agents. Natural toothpastes typically don't. The term “natural” is rather loose and can vary from person to person and company to company. So at Naked, our natural toothpastes are made from raw materials sourced from nature, such as plants and minerals and from renewable natural sources. The raw materials go through the least amount of processing and the processing methods used cause the least impact to the earth. We also remove the “nasties” based on scientific studies and eliminate the inclusion of any dubious ingredients from our products.
Why use natural toothpaste?
Sometimes people are deterred from sustainable oral care, afraid it won’t live up to the standards of artificial toothpastes, but we’re here to put your mind at rest and explain why these are better for us and how they are just as good, if not better!
Naked’s natural toothpastes are toxic-free and are more environmentally friendly than a tube of standard toothpaste which consists of layers of laminated plastic. As the different plastic layers are tightly fused, this makes recycling them a huge feat and so most recycling centres don’t accept them. Instead, toothpaste tubes head for landfill where they can take approximately 450 years to decompose. The environmental consequences of standard toothpastes don’t end here. As we spit the remnants of toothpaste down the drain, it finds its way into the water system, polluting aquatic wildlife. A research study in Japan showed triclosan, an ingredient often added to standard toothpastes for its antibacterial effects is highly toxic to aquatic animals.
What toothpaste is best for your health?
The lining of our mouths is highly absorbent, so much so, that fast acting medications are often applied under the tongue or in the inside of our cheeks to ensure rapid absorption into the bloodstream. With this in mind, there is a need to carefully choose a toothpaste as many contain ingredients which are toxic and accumulate over time with our twice a day brushing routine.
It can be daunting looking at the ingredients of packaging and trying to decipher what it all means, so, we’ve put together a list of ingredients to keep a look out for and avoid when shopping for a toothpaste, soap and deodorant.
Ingredients you should avoid:
Triclosan is an antibacterial and antifungal agent. Originally created in the 60’s it has been incorporated into a variety of personal care products including soaps, hand sanitizers, toothpaste, and mouthwash. Interestingly, triclosan containing soaps and hand sanitisers have failed to show any additional cleansing benefits to products without this ingredient. Although triclosan in toothpaste can help fight gingivitis, there are concerns about the health effects of triclosan after it has been detected in human breast milk, blood, and urine samples. Within just the last 10 years, there has been an expansion from virtually nothing to a number of triclosan-mediated adverse health effects including allergies, birth defects and resistance to antibiotics. Taking into consideration these significant findings, the incorporation of triclosan into readily available personal care products needs to be re-evaluated.
- Sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS)
Because of its low cost, very few marketed toothpastes contain a surfactant other than SLS. Surfactants are added to toothpastes to lower the surface tension of water, helping to spread the paste throughout your mouth and to help rinse away any grime hidden between your teeth. However, this ingredient may cause severe gum irritation leading to gingivitis and has been found to interfere with the effectiveness of fluoride against dental cavities in fluoride containing toothpastes.
- Diethanolamine (DEA)
In 2013, DEA was classified by the International Agency for Research on Cancer as "possibly carcinogenic to humans". Diethanolamine is commonly used in the preparation of soaps and toothpastes to create the creamy consistency that we’ve become accustomed to with commercial toothpastes.
Carrageenan is a thickening and emulsifying agent. Misconstrued as good for us as it’s derived from a natural source, red and purple seaweed. It’s used in western medicine for decreasing secretions of the stomach and intestine whilst also being used to decrease inflammation and pain. Studies have shown in animals that there is a risk of this ingredient causing cancer but further research needs to be completed to assess the full extent of this. In some cases, it has been known to have the opposite effect of its medical intent and cause inflammation creating a risk for Inflammatory Bowel Disease and Rheumatoid Arthritis.
Parabens - methylparaben and ethylparaben are common preservatives used in standard toothpastes. Parabens mimic the hormone estrogen and can potentially cause cancer, developmental, and reproductive issues.
Natural Toothpaste with Fluoride - Is fluoride natural?
Contrary to what many believe, fluoride is natural. It’s found throughout the earth’s crust, in rainwater, plants and it’s the only proven ingredient to protect against dental cavities.
A lot of consumers shy away from using a fluoride containing toothpaste because of the belief all fluoride toothpastes are tested on animals. This is not always so and will depend on the country of origin and the concentration of fluoride in the toothpaste. You can be sure all of our products are vegan friendly and cruelty-free!
Still, some people don't want fluoride in their toothpaste, so if you prefer to do without fluoride, we also have an option for you.
A natural toothpaste is kinder on our bodies. Rather than being full of synthetic compounds, they contain premium ingredients to keep your teeth clean and healthy that aren’t harmful to us or the environment. With sustainability and environmentally friendly being a secondary benefit of natural toothpastes, we know that we aren’t only using a healthier alternative for our families but also helping to preserve our environment. Before you go the natural route, make sure you discuss with your dentist whether a natural toothpaste is right for you.
To see our natural toothpaste ingredients click here.