Why You Should Swap Your Traditional Toothpaste for Natural Activated Charcoal Toothpaste
We use it twice a day, so isn’t it concerning that many are looking for the best all-natural toothpaste? Does this mean we’re introducing our teeth to toxins every morning and night? Unfortunately, the conventional solution for pearly whites comes with ingredients that are anything but pure.
If you’re considering an oral care overhaul, here are some reasons why natural toothpaste is the way to go.
Harmful Chemicals Found in Commercial Toothpaste
But first, why are we even talking about natural, toxin-free toothpaste? Well, we may have never given a second thought to our 120 seconds of brushing, but questionable toothpaste ingredients and additives should have us doing exactly that.
Conventional toothpaste typically contains one (or several) ingredients with proven links to health concerns.
- Sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS): The surfactant/detergent may be found in many personal care products (shampoo, toothpaste, body wash, etc.), but given its association with canker sores and skin irritation, many are asking about SLS free toothpaste instead.
- Propylene glycol: This chemical—also an active ingredient in antifreeze(!!)—may make toothpaste smoother, but it’s also been known to cause skin irritation, reproductive issues, cancer, and more.
- Fluoride: Why choose fluoride free toothpaste? Although fluoride showed initial promise in its ability to minimize cavities and tooth decay, it can actually lead to oral concerns and complications that impact the entire body. These include damage to the parathyroid gland, a painful bone disease, or cognitive disorders—to name just a few.
- Peroxides: Often used as a teeth whitener, peroxide can cause damage to tooth enamel, gum and tooth sensitivity, and inflamed gums.
What is Natural Toothpaste?
More people are catching on to the harmful side effects of chemical-based products and how they can negatively impact both our bodies and Mother Earth. As such, safer, more natural alternatives are becoming more popular. So what is natural toothpaste and how can it holistically help your mouth?
Natural toothpaste provides a non-toxic alternative to traditional toothpastes. Free of artificial sweeteners, synthetic flavors, and other chemically-derived ingredients, natural toothpastes include more ingredients of natural origin, like coconut oil and baking soda.
But is natural toothpaste effective?
In most cases, natural toothpastes are equally effective to their traditional counterparts, while offering additional benefits. As an example, natural remineralizing toothpaste—like options made with hydroxyapatite—has been found to be just as effective as toothpaste containing fluoride. Similarly, charcoal serves as an effective alternative to toothpaste containing traditional whiteners, like harsh peroxides.
Charcoal Natural Toothpaste for a Safer Smile
Charcoal, a black carbon residue derived from organic materials, is a negatively-charged compound that binds to positive compounds. In doing so, it can trap compounds in your mouth associated with plaque, tartar, and bacteria build-up along your teeth and gums. When you spit, you’re ridding the mouth of these harmful compounds.
This process also creates naturally-balanced pH levels in your mouth. This reduces bad breath, prevents damage from acidic compounds, and minimizes risk for adverse oral health concerns, like tooth decay, cavities, gum inflammation, periodontal disease, cardiovascular disease, and more.
Charcoal is a powerful cleansing agent that is very effective when it comes to removing years’ worth of plaque and stains from the surface of your teeth. Breaking down tough-to-remove plaque and tartar is what’s responsible for charcoal’s special whitening effect. Unlike peroxides, the process doesn’t contribute to damaged enamel either.
When you pair charcoal with natural teeth-strengthening ingredients like xylitol, a birch-derived sugar that helps to restore minerals and strengthen enamels, you create a powerful charcoal natural toothpaste that will clean, protect, and strengthen your pearly whites.
Why Choose Natural Toothpaste?
Using ingredients like charcoal, coconut oil, mint, and neem isn’t exactly new. Ingredients often found in organic or natural toothpaste have been those used for millennia. Combined with other natural minerals, plant extracts, and essential oils, these ingredients offer a more gentle, natural, effective way to clean teeth and fight bacteria.
If our ancestors used naturally-derived ingredients and didn’t need those created in a lab (and often derived from petroleum), then we can learn a lot from ancient oral care practices.
But is natural toothpaste safe for kids? Yes, natural toothpastes are also generally better for those with sensitive mouths, including children. If you’re concerned about your child and accidental swallowing, it’s time to opt for a tube of natural toothpaste.
Traditional Toothpaste & Children
Starting a child’s oral care routine on the right foot is crucial. In fact, it’s thought that choosing the right toothpaste for children is just as important as choosing children’s aspirin over that which is adult-strength!
Making the right toothbrush and toothpaste decisions can really help to support a child’s overall oral hygiene, and regular brushing can help them develop good habits early on. Unfortunately, as parents or consumers, this requires us to perhaps be even more critical of conventional toothpaste than we would when considering swapping out traditional toothpaste for ourselves.
Because of their smaller bodies and undeveloped metabolisms, chemicals have a greater impact on children. This is an especially important consideration for kids under three years of age, because they have yet to develop their spit reflex and will likely swallow more than they’re able to spit out.
For these reasons, many look to children’s natural toothpaste options that are free of some common ingredients in traditional toothpaste. These include peroxide, brighteners, whiteners, antimicrobials, and ingredients that are too abrasive for a child’s thinner enamel.
Children's Natural Toothpaste
In fact, avoidance of harsh, chemical-based ingredients is one of the first ways children’s toothpaste stands apart from those formulated for adult teeth. Children’s toothpaste is typically free from these additives—as well as the strong minty taste that’s too intense for young taste buds.
Beyond avoiding dangerous chemicals, many parents also seek out the best natural fluoride free toothpaste for kids. Fluoride is recommended for kids and babies—but only a very, very small amount. For children under three, just a smear of fluoride-containing toothpaste (an amount equivalent to a single grain of rice) is recommended.
What about those who want to avoid fluoride over concerns about fluorosis and other potential complications? There are studies indicating that xylitol toothpaste for toddlers is a good alternative to fluoride. Even better, xylitol improves dental hygiene in a variety of ways—by maintaining a neutral pH and providing anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties.
Choosing Natural Toothpaste for the Whole Family
While shopping for the best natural toothpaste, consider that not all natural toothpastes are created equally. This is because the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has yet to regulate what it is to be a “natural” personal care product. Worse, “natural” has become a trendy buzzword that some companies may take advantage of just to boost their profits.
What does this mean for consumers? First, we should spend a little extra time to think about what “natural” means to us, and be sure to find toothpaste brands that actually meet our needs. For many, it means looking for the best fluoride free toothpaste. Some opt for toothpastes containing gentle exfoliants like diatomaceous earth. Others may look for toothpastes with bacteria-fighting xylitol.
Once you’ve recognized what it is that you want in a natural toothpaste, it’s time to get out the magnifying glass and check the ingredient list of your favorite toothpaste brands. If they don’t clearly list each ingredient and why it’s used, then you may want to look for an alternative.
Switch to Terra & Co.’s Charcoal Natural Toothpaste Today
Before we started Terra & Co., we spent hours looking for natural, safe toothpaste for our then-pregnant co-founder. When we kept coming up empty-handed, we started formulating our own natural toothpaste recipe. We’re proud to share the 11 ingredients of our Brilliant Black natural toothpaste and can’t wait for you to try it for yourself.