The Lowdown On Toothpaste
Toothpaste is something we don’t usually spend a lot of time contemplating before we buy – marketers call it a low-involvement purchase. I used to buy what was on special or a brand for their whitening power!
Toothpaste is something we put directly in our mouth and we need to take care in our decision-making and to consider the effectiveness of natural, safer alternatives.
In late 2012, the World Health Organisation (WHO) listed Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals (EDCs) as an emerging health issue for the world’s decision-makers to consider. These chemicals include any man-made chemicals suspected to contribute to:
- breast cancer,
- reproductive issues,
- delayed brain development in children,
- thyroid problems,
- obesity, and
- a multitude of other health problems.
Most mass market dental products are comprised of ingredients on the list of probable EDCs, such as sulphates, fluoride and parabens because they benefit oral hygiene, keep production cost low and have a longer shelf-life than natural ingredients.
Even though these chemicals may not be confirmed as known carcinogens as yet, the study of their long-term effects on humans is still ongoing, so its worth paying a little more attention to ingredients that minimise the risk to your family’s health.
Some Things to Consider
These controversial antibacterial agents triclosan triclosan – fda and chlorhexadine are both commonly found in toothpastes and mouthwashes to prevent gingivitis, but a 2014 study proved the antibacterial property of the common aloe vera plant works equally as well.
Despite being sugar-free, the majority of supermarket brands use artificial colours and sweeteners to attract consumers, whereas natural alternatives use stevia and natural mint, which serve the same purpose, but don’t carry the same potential health risks.
A Word About Flouride
There is enormous contention on the use of flouride and much research to indicate it’s serious adverse effects. The Harvard School of Public Health has this to say…
“July 25, 2012 — For years health experts have been unable to agree on whether fluoride in the drinking water may be toxic to the developing human brain. Extremely high levels of fluoride are known to cause neurotoxicity in adults, and negative impacts on memory and learning have been reported in rodent studies, but little is known about the substance’s impact on children’s neurodevelopment.
“In a meta-analysis, researchers from Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) and China Medical University in Shenyang for the first time combined 27 studies and found strong indications that fluoride may adversely affect cognitive development in children. Based on the findings, the authors say that this risk should not be ignored, and that more research on fluoride’s impact on the developing brain is warranted.”
This highly debated ingredient can be effectively replaced by a mineral substitute called hydroxyapatite – see Journal of Dentistry
Look out for Greenwashing
With the growing popularity of natural health alternatives, some brands have opted into ‘greenwashing’ their products, rather than reformulating their ingredients. This means they’ll package and market their product to have a more ‘environmentally-friendly’ feel, maybe by calling attention to its naturally-derived ingredients, while failing to mention the man-made chemicals still present in the product.
Check the Ingredients List
I’ve found that natural companies generally will be transparent with their formulas and open about their environmental policies as they take pride in their naturally-sought ingredients and the benefits from ingredients.
The best way to preserve your family’s health is to be a mindful consumer and invest time in researching and choosing the lifestyle products we may have thought to be safe.
We can do this with ease now in the comfort of our home and mobile devices!