Toothpastes are Not All Created Equal
As the toothpaste aisle grows in all of its variations, there can be much confusion for those wanting to improve their dental hygiene without compromising overall health. Here is a list of common ingredients used in conventional toothpaste we may want to avoid:
• Artificial preservatives such as parabens mimic estrogen and are linked to breast cancer. No direct relationship has been proven, but because we’re exposed to parabens from many sources, it’s recommended to avoid them when possible.
• Triclosan, an antibacterial agent, forms carcinogenic chloroform when it comes in contact with water that contains trace amounts of chlorine. Unless brushing with purified, chlorine-free water, it’s best to avoid triclosan.
• Sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) is used to make products foam. SLS can irritate the lining of the mouth. Because toothpaste goes in our mouths, where it can be absorbed and swallowed, SLS should be avoided in toothpaste. There’s really no use for it besides creating bubbles.
• Artificial colors, some of which have been linked by studies to ADHD, are used in many conventional kids’ toothpastes. If a toothpaste has a color with a number associated with it, we may want to reconsider using it.
• Artificial sweeteners are used to sweeten toothpaste. Saccharin has neurotoxic effects in some people that consume it in sugar-free foods. Try using toothpastes with more natural sweetening alternatives such as stevia.
Which toothpaste we should be using depends on what we’re looking for and the condition of our teeth. Ask a holistic/biological dentist to recommend a more natural toothpaste for your individual needs. There are a few you can get at your local health food store with generally good, simple and natural ingredients:
Bernice Teplitsky, DDS, is a general dentist with a holistic approach. Her office, Wrigleyville Dental, is located at 3256 N. Ashland Ave., in Chicago. For appointments, call 773-975-6666 or visit WrigleyvilleDental.com. See ad in the Community Resource Guide.