Written By Kevin Kerfoot and Jennifer Raskin / Reviewed By Ray Spotts
Do you use natural toothpaste to brush your teeth? If not, you might want to switch. There are some great benefits to using a toothpaste made with natural ingredients.
In fact, if you are actively seeking out ways to live a healthier lifestyle, you’re probably removing chemicals from your home. You might swap out your soaps and cleaning products for more natural choices. But what about what you’re putting in your mouth?
Let’s look at these 32 things you should know about natural toothpaste and see why you should think about switching!
1. Beware of safety warnings
If you use a toothpaste that isn’t natural, go take a look at the back label on your product. Go ahead, we’ll wait. Did you see it? Yup. That warning about not swallowing the product and how you may need to call poison control if you swallow too much of it. Something going into your mouth that can result in poisoning yourself is definitely a terrible idea. Plus, think of the children! What’s in your child’s toothpaste?
2. You’ll avoid dyes
Natural also means no gross dyes in there. What do you need a dye for? It doesn’t do anything to help your teeth. Dyes are for making things an appealing color. Don’t let the color of your toothpaste woe you to the dark side. Instead, seek out natural brands that don’t add in anything you don’t need for your healthiest smile.
3. Natural is a more gentle choice
Mainstream toothpaste tends to be more abrasive. The more abrasive the toothpaste, the more trouble it can cause your gums. This is especially important if your dentist has been monitoring you for gum disease. With abrasive toothpastes, you can cause your teeth to separate from your gums. Even in healthy mouths it can happen so watch what you’re brushing with and choose natural to get a gentle yet effective clean.
4. Nicer for the environment
Perhaps you’re the kind of person that always remembers to turn off the faucet during brushing to save water. But even if you do that, the toothpaste you spit out goes down your drain.
Where does it go from there? Out into the environment where it gets into the waterways and oceans! Natural toothpastes are made with ingredients that are safe and eco-friendly so you can smile bigger knowing you’re helping make the world a better place.
5. Sustainable production
Another way natural toothpaste helps the environment is that it is far more sustainable to produce. This puts less impact on our world thanks to natural and renewable ingredients. When you use these kinds of toothpastes, you can feel good about leaving a better world behind for the generations of the future!
6. You’ll avoid some of the worst ingredients ever
While toothpastes must be safe for personal use, they do contain some chemicals that can cause concerns for some people with sensitivities, and the build-up over time can cause illness in others, while environmental damage is also increased. In mainstream toothpastes, you’ll see some unsettling ingredients.
While some of these may be safe for the majority of the population, they can cause damage in many, and in some instances are dangerous even after one use, while others are only a concern if used in large amounts over time. Anyone with allergies or sensitivities should choose their toothpaste carefully, and without microbeads, SLS or artificial sweeteners – or any of the other ingredients listed below.
8. Avoid Microbeads
Microbeads are not only an increased risk to teeth damage when they rub against them, but also do not dissolve and can become a hazard to the environment. These beads are meant to help scrub the surface of the teeth clean but when too abrasive will cause damage in the process. This can lead to tooth sensitivity, tooth damage, and even affect the gums leading to gum disease. It then travels through the water systems to gather in the surrounding environment.
9. Avoid Propylene Glycol
Propylene glycol is a mineral oil that is used in a wide range of products. While it can be safe for many it can occasionally cause irritations, and as the mouth is a sensitive area, it is at higher risk of irritation and infections. In large quantities it could cause toxic reactions.
10. Avoid Artificial Sweeteners
Artificial sweeteners are included in several toothpastes to create a taste that is preferred over others. Some of these sweeteners have been tied to illness including headaches and increased dizziness, vertigo, weakness in the muscles, and an inability to focus. The treatment is often to stop consuming or using anything with these ingredients.
11. Avoid SLS
Sodium lauryl sulfate is a well-known ingredient used to create a foaming action in several products. It can be found in everything from soap and shampoos to toothpaste and is meant to assist in getting between teeth and in small areas by creating foam.
The risk with this is that many people can be susceptible to a range of allergic reactions as well as an increase in mouth sores and canker sores. An additional concern with SLS is the damage that can be caused to the environment during its manufacture and the marine life that it affects.
12. Avoid Hydrated Silica
One of the most troublesome toothpaste chemicals out there is hydrated silica. It is used to help remove stains and debris. It’s an abrasive component that comes from sand. When you use it regularly, it can scratch your teeth.
Over time, this damages the enamel and can prevent your natural process of remineralization. It upsets the balance of your mouth’s acidity which isn’t a good thing. Instead, look for toothpastes or all-natural tooth oils that gently polish your teeth without harming the enamel.
13. Avoid Glycerin
In skincare, glycerin adds hydration but in toothpaste all it does is create a palatable texture. Derived from vegetable oils, it’s slippery but that feeling coats your teeth and prevents the natural way of remineralization. It attracts plaque too and is often made from GMO ingredients. Yes, glycerin is natural, but it is not a productive ingredient for your oral health.
14. Avoid Carrageenan
You’d think because carrageenan comes from seaweed that it would be safe. It’s found in some toothpastes to help improve texture and keep water content down. But this ingredient could cause intestinal inflammation and tumors in the colon when ingested.
Adults are much less likely to have this problem, however children are at extreme risk because they tend to swallow toothpaste more. Additionally, it does nothing for gum health so it isn’t necessary at all.
15. Avoid Preservatives
Likely, you know that parabens are bad news. Sodium benzoate is often called the safer alternative to parabens. However, it’s really not that safe. Researchers have found links to cancer but are still exploring it, especially when it’s combined with vitamins C and E. This creates benzene, which is a very-known carcinogen. Instead, you should look for citric acid as a natural alternative, though beware of GMO formulations.
16. Avoid Surfactants
In a nutshell, a surfactant is the foaming agent used in many commercially-produced soaps. It gives you that rich lather, but it also exposes you to SLS/SLES. Some brands tout a coconut-derived substitute, but be careful with those too as they are not safe to swallow. You definitely don’t need soap in your toothpaste so go check your labels now.
17. Avoid Triclosan
Triclosan is an antiseptic additive that's sometimes used in toothpaste to help prevent gingivitis - it shows up in most antibacterial soaps, too. While the FDA has approved its use, stating that there isn't enough evidence against it, the anti-triclosan case has been growing steadily.
For one thing, it's almost certainly an endocrine disruptor, similar to BPA. But that's just the tip of the iceberg. The widespread use of triclosan may actually be contributing to bacterial resistance to antibiotics.
There's also a 2014 study by the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine that found a link between triclosan and liver fibrosis and cancer in mice. Plus, a new study suggests the additive could cause people to develop allergies to certain foods, especially peanuts.
18. Chemical-filled toothpaste materials age
Researchers from the University of Delaware and Ecole des Ponts and University Paris-Est in France have discovered a process called contact-controlled aging that explains some age-related changes in toothpaste materials. They found that contacts form between particles and stabilize the microstructure of these materials. Then those contacts stiffen thereby increasing the stiffness of the materials.
The study - published in the journal Nature Materials - has some broad-ranging implications because there are a lot of types of problems where this type of contact aging may be really important.
Many toothpaste materials - known as dense colloidal suspensions - stiffen as they age. Changes in the loads the materials undergo over time are partly responsible, but for decades experts have suspected that there’s more going on inside these materials.
The less chemicals you use in your oral hygiene routine, not to mention overall in all areas of your life, the healthier you will be. Ditch the chemicals and look for natural options, though do remember that even natural things like glycerin aren’t helpful for healthy teeth.
By being informed, you can make a better decision for your best oral care! Always read the labels on everything, especially toothpaste. It’s something you use two to three times per day. You trust it to clean your teeth, but these ingredients prove that it is doing more harm than good. You can get clean, healthy teeth and gums by using toothpaste with natural ingredients instead.
19. Natural cleans teeth in a safe way
In a natural toothpaste, you won’t get any of those chemicals listed above. You want to avoid those chemicals because not only can you swallow them and cause danger, but also you expose yourself to them daily. And daily exposure will allow your body to absorb these chemicals and affect your nervous system, hormones, and internal organs.
You won’t likely notice until years from now when the constant contact you’ve made with these chemicals has taken its toll on your health. By choosing natural, you get clean teeth plus a clean conscience knowing you will have a cleaner bill of health by avoiding harmful ingredients.
20. Nice and fresh breath
There’s an odd stigma about natural toothpastes and their ability to freshen breath. But rest assured, toothpastes that use natural and organic ingredients can freshen your breath just as well, if not even better.
What’s better to keep your mouth feeling minty and clean than essential oils like spearmint, peppermint, almond or tea tree? These have a great and fresh taste without exposing you to chemical additives. Plus, essential oils like these are naturally antibacterial, tackling bad breath at the source to keep your mouth feeling clean.
Even cinnamon, which is known for reducing inflammation, makes a lovely nature flavor for toothpaste that keeps you feeling fresh.
21. Better for gums and soothing pain
For those with sensitive gums, mainstream toothpastes are for too aggressive. By going with a natural toothpaste made from plant-based ingredients and calming plant extracts from tea tree essential oil to aloe vera, you get real care for your sensitive gums with gentle ingredients that improve your issues rather than make them worse.
The way to help irritated gums is certainly not to further antagonize them. Proven healing ingredients like aloe vera also add a soothing component to quell irritations so you’ll feel comfortable again.
22. No worries with your kids
Teaching proper oral hygiene to children begins when they’re toddlers. While they do make toothpastes for kids, there is still a risk for them swallowing the toothpaste. You won’t have to worry when they use natural toothpaste because they won’t be gulping down harmful chemicals.
Of course, this doesn’t get you off the hook from watching them while they brush - and likely whine about the task of brushing - but you will feel much better knowing you’re giving your child the healthiest and safest path toward good oral care in a non-toxic way.
So, stand and supervise as you should. And show off your own tooth-brushing skills to your little ones. When you do and put natural toothpaste on your toothbrush, you’re showing them to choose healthier avenues which will hopefully help them keep an eye out for the healthiest choices in every part of life as they grow.
23. They’re safe for everyone
Kids can use natural toothpaste. You can use natural toothpaste. And people with sensitive teeth and gums can use it too. Everyone can! The ingredients gently clean teeth and gums while offering freshening powers from non-synthetic sources.
In time, what you encounter by brushing your teeth with mainstream chemically-formulated toothpastes can do damage to your teeth as well as your overall health. With natural options, it only makes sense to make the switch for your best health inside your mouth and throughout the rest of your body.
24. Excellent option for those with allergies
Do you have allergies? You might be allergic to the ingredients in your toothpaste and not even realize it. That’s because you wouldn’t think common allergens would be so rampant in something everyone needs to use.
If you’re gluten-sensitive, gluten-intolerant, or have celiac disease, you’ll want to make sure you’re not using something that contains gluten. Fluoride may cause allergies for some as well as the flavoring.
But now that you know, you can try switching to a natural, chemical-free toothpaste so you won’t risk an allergic reaction. And even if you don’t have allergies, one alarming fact about regular toothpastes is that they may contain inflammatory ingredients. This can worsen your dental health rather than improve it so be careful!
25. Gets rid of stains
Contrary to popular belief, you do not need to use chemicals to get a whiter, brighter smile. In many chemical formulations for whitening toothpastes, the ingredients are more harmful than you think. But there are natural whitening toothpastes that combine silica, a natural mineral, along with baking soda, a natural whitener.
Together, they can help gently and effectively remove stains from your teeth. That will give you more to smile about for sure. You’ll have brighter and healthier-looking teeth without ingesting even more chemicals or disturbing the enamel on your teeth.
26. Protects your enamel
And speaking of enamel, natural toothpastes will protect it better. You need that enamel to stay strong and healthy. When it’s healthy, it protects from cavities and keeps the rest of your mouth in good condition. Plus, healthy enamel looks nice and white. Once it wears away, there is no getting it back so guard that enamel like it is Fort Knox!
27. The ADA approves
When choosing toothpaste, you should always look for that symbol from the American Dental Association (ADA). However, what you might not realize is that the ADA puts its seal of approval on natural toothpaste formulations too. If you’re not sure which natural toothpaste is the best for you, you can ask your dentist or look for this symbol.
28. How to Choose a Natural Toothpaste
You may need to try several different brands of natural toothpaste until you find one that you like best. But regardless of the brand you choose, there are a few tips that will help you find your match with natural toothpaste.
29. Consider Charcoal Toothpaste
One natural alternative to chemical-filled toothpastes is charcoal toothpaste - which is on-trend and growing in popularity. It is a natural alternative to standard toothpaste but it’s still important to understand the implications of charcoal toothpaste for your dental health before using the product.
The charcoal used in toothpaste is professionally treated and transformed into activated charcoal, which has more surface area than standard charcoal. As a base rather than an acid, it binds to and removes damaging, acidic elements from the mouth. Charcoal toothpaste has several dental health benefits, but it also carries a certain amount of risk.
Activated charcoal is present in many health products due to its qualities as a base. Because it binds with and removes acidic elements from the body, it can aid in digestion, help curb hangovers, and improve dental health. However, some brands might supply a balanced mixture that’s formulated to provide the most possible benefit to your smile.
On the other hand, excessive use or use of charcoal toothpaste that’s too abrasive can lead to dental complications. It’s recommended to only brush with charcoal toothpaste two to three times per week. Brush with gentle strokes or leave it on your teeth for five to 10 minutes at a time, without brushing, and then rinse.
Specific oral health benefits associated with activated charcoal toothpaste: it removes surface stains, removes plaque, reduces bad breath, is less painful than peroxide whiteners, can prevent excess acidity in your mouth, and is a natural alternative to standard toothpaste.
Keep in mind that adverse affects of charcoal toothpaste include: it may damage your enamel, excessive use can increase the risk of gum inflammation, and can increase tooth sensitivity. If you’re considering using charcoal toothpaste, reach out to your dentist. Ask them for an opinion of your enamel health and recommendations for trusted charcoal toothpaste brands.
Charcoal toothpaste can yield many benefits, but it’s essential only to begin using a new dental product under the supervision of a qualified dentist. Charcoal toothpaste is the only toothpaste that also includes the risk of interfering with oral medications and any fillings or dental restorations, so it is important to consult with your dentist to see if this is the right toothpaste for you.
30. Avoid fluoride
A better option is xylitol which is like the natural version of fluoride. It will help protect your teeth from cavities. But do use caution as some brands will mention xylitol but not include enough of it to make it effective. That one caveat aside, xylitol is non-toxic which means your children can safely use it.
31. Understand all the ingredients
As we’ve discussed, the ingredients you can’t pronounce are most likely chemicals. And perhaps you’ve gotten good at not swallowing them, but they do get absorbed through your gums, tongue, and cheeks so what’s in your toothpaste really matters.
32. Make sure all flavors are natural
Botanical ingredients can lend a wonderful freshness to your mouth. If you ever see anything that says “natural and artificial flavors” or “natural and artificial sweeteners” on a tube of toothpaste, run for the hills.
They can legally say this without further explaining what it means, much in the way soaps, lotions, shower gels, skin, and hair care products can simply say “fragrance.” There could be loads of hormone disruptors and other disgusting chemicals in it so steer clear!
Now that you know more about natural toothpaste, you can see it is truly the natural choice to make when you want to do more for your health and the health of the world too!
Looking for a 100% all-natural liquid tooth oil and mouth rinse? Check out OraMD Original Strength and OraMD Extra Strength. Subscribe to our Trusted Health Club newsletter for more information about natural living tips, natural health, oral care, skincare, body care and foot care. If you are looking for more health resources check out the Trusted Health Resources list.
Jennifer Raskin is a freelance writer, wife and mom that loves cold weather despite her location in Florida, cooking, reading, watching ‘80s movies, weight-lifting, and wine tasting.
With over 30 years of writing and editing experience for newspapers, magazines and corporate communications, Kevin Kerfoot writes about natural health, nutrition, skincare and oral hygiene for Trusted Health Products’ natural health blog and newsletters.
Founder Ray Spotts has a passion for all things natural and has made a life study of nature as it relates to health and well-being. Ray became a forerunner bringing products to market that are extraordinarily effective and free from potentially harmful chemicals and additives. For this reason Ray formed Trusted Health Products, a company you can trust for clean, effective, and healthy products. Ray is an organic gardener, likes fishing, hiking, and teaching and mentoring people to start new businesses. You can get his book for free, “How To Succeed In Business Based On God’s Word,” at www.rayspotts.com.