If you are among the growing number of people who are actively reading labels in order to avoid harmful additives in food products, then you are probably also concerned about maintaining a healthy oral environment without using minty commercial toothpaste loaded with unpronounceable ingredients.
There are common ingredients in toothpaste today that, by their names alone will give a person pause at the very thought of even putting them in the mouth, much less accidentally ingesting them. A few of these might include:
- Saccharin and other artificial sweeteners
- Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) and other detergents
- Triclosan (a highly toxic and carcinogenic chemical) FD&C Blue Dye No. 1 & No. 2
Most of us have learned over the years to avoid ingesting toothpaste and other over-the-counter dental hygiene products, but when you consider the potential health consequences associated with ingesting any one -much less a combination of the above – avoiding these ingredients altogether begins to make a lot of sense. Symptoms of these products when ingested may include:
Intestinal irritation, heartburn, nausea, vomiting, constipation, bleeding
Slow heart rate
Cancer (a variety)
Auto-immune disorders – lower IQ, exacerbation of Alzheimer’s disease symptoms
Disruption in the endocrine system and eventually; death
Another ingredient commonly found in toothpastes – both those label ‘natural’ as well as the more conventional varieties is carrageenan. There is quite a bit of controversy over this product at the moment, although it is found in many of the products we use today including;
Dairy products and plant-derived milks
Hailed as mostly harmless, carrageenan has a variety of recognized and worrying side effects including; colon cancer, inflammation and a depressed immune system. This ingredient is a polysaccharide made from red seaweed. On a molecular level it resembles plastic and is prevalent in consumable products for just that reason. Carrageenan first began being used as a food additive as far back to 600 BC in China and it began to be used commercially in the west in the 30?s. Today it is also found in milk products to improve viscosity, especially plant-based milks to boost cream-like qualities.
Carrageenan is used medicinally to treat coughs, bronchitis, tuberculosis and intestinal problems. The French use a form that has been changed by adding acid and high temperatures and is used to treat peptic ulcers, and as a bulk laxative. Although carrageenan is believed to be safe for most people there is a chemically altered variety of carrageenan that is increasingly believed to be unsafe – and linked to occurrences of cancer. Since you can’t necessarily tell by reading the label which variety of carrageenan is in a tube of toothpaste, this is one more product that needs to be put into the ‘potentially harmful ingredient’ category.
Avoid the Shiny Film Associated with Glycerin Additives
Most brands of toothpaste, including many labeled ‘natural’, contain the product glycerin. Glycerin is a significant problem in toothpaste precisely because it leaves a long-lasting, difficult to remove, clear coat on teeth. This is a problem due to the fact that a glycerin coating creates a physical barrier that prevents calcium and other essential minerals from working with saliva to rebuild or restore the natural healthy surface of teeth.
Current research shows that, given the proper environment, teeth can actually regenerate to some degree. However, teeth coated with glycerin commonly found in toothpastes are essentially sealed under a slimy, resilient coat that completely prevents re-mineralization and regeneration.
Healthy Homemade Teeth Cleansers
Found in most kitchens, perhaps one of the best ways to clean teeth is baking soda. When combined with a small amount of hydrogen peroxide (three percent) and aluminum free baking soda (which is less abrasive than common toothpaste) a surprisingly refreshing and effective teeth cleaner is created. Not only is this combination a natural whitener it is also safe for the gums.
Baking soda has the added effect of increasing alkalinity in the mouth, thereby reducing the harmful effect of acids produced by bacteria that leads to dental plaque and tooth decay, and it naturally helps to preserve tooth enamel.
Dr. Gerard F. Judd, PhD (re-mineralization)- http://www.healingteethnaturally.com/tooth-remineralisation-demineralisation-saliva-ph.html
Re-mineralization – http://www.healthpartners.com/files/34749.pdf
Carrageenan – http://www.webmd.com/vitamins-supplements/ingredientmono-710-CARRAGEENAN.aspx?activeIngredientId=710&activeIngredientName=CARRAGEENAN
Common ingredients in toothpaste – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Toothpaste