In the world of personal dental care, toothpastes labeled natural, organic, or fluoride-free have risen in popularity. Because some regular toothpastes contain harsh ingredients, these natural toothpastes have become popular thanks to claims that they perform just as well or better than the typical formulas that have stocked supermarket shelves for decades.
Is natural toothpaste the right option for you? Let’s take a look at some of the key features of these products — and whether they’re a good choice for you and your teeth.
Regular toothpaste contains the foaming agent sodium lauryl sulfate, which has been found to be an irritant to soft tissues in the mouth and can cause canker sores, gum irritation, or mouth ulcers. Natural toothpastes often do not contain any foaming agents at all, and instead rely on detergents that contain natural, microbial ingredients to keep your teeth pearly white.
However, some natural formulas can still be irritating to your mouth. Many of these toothpastes are flavored using essential oils that, in larger doses, can irritate soft tissues or cause allergic reactions in some people.
Both natural and regular toothpaste employ chemical whiteners such as peroxide in their formulas, though it’s more common in the latter. Both also utilize abrasive elements to scrub tooth enamel of stains, but these elements are not created equal.
One of the environmental downfalls of many regular toothpaste formulas is the use of microplastics as abrasive tooth-whitening elements, which end up in the water supply and often pollute local ecosystems.
Natural toothpaste companies’ response to this problem involves abrasive elements derived from nature, such as clay or charcoal powder. While these ingredients are better for the environment, they can often be too caustic for your tooth enamel.
One of the primary differences between many natural kinds of toothpaste and regular formulas is the inclusion of fluoride. Safety concerns surrounding fluoride are not unfounded, as too much fluoride has been shown to cause several health issues, including digestive problems, tooth mottling, and oral dark spots.
While fluoride is not a completely harmless chemical in itself, the amount in regular toothpaste doesn’t even come close to a concerning amount. In fact, the benefits of fluoride in these doses far outweigh the risks. Fluoride protects and remineralizes enamel, which can prevent tooth decay and even reverse it in some cases.
You’ll find plenty of both regular and natural toothpaste formulas that contain fluoride on the shelves, so you can still reap the benefits of fluoride in toothpaste while using a natural product. If you’d like to skip it altogether, some people opt for a mouthwash that contains fluoride in smaller doses in addition to a fluoride-free, natural toothpaste.
Toothpaste, by definition, is supposed to cleanse your teeth and clear out plaque and harmful bacteria that contribute to tooth decay. Many regular toothpaste companies add additional cleansers that claim to boost the scrubbing action of your toothbrush.
Natural toothpaste manufacturers, on the other hand, don’t add these chemicals and rely heavily on the mechanical action of your brush. Fortunately, you don’t need these chemicals for a clean, bright smile. Just the act of brushing and flossing can dislodge and clear out plaque and food, whether you use natural or regular toothpaste.
A consistent, steady dental care routine with any toothpaste that contains beneficial, dentist-approved ingredients is primarily what you need to maintain a bright, white smile. If you don’t know whether natural or regular toothpaste is right for you, your dentist can help to guide you toward the best option for your oral health. Contact the professionals at Accent Dental to make an appointment and talk about the best hygiene practices for you and your smile.