The foundation of today’s dental philosophy is similar to the mainstream medical model in that it focuses on treatment and not prevention. When most dentists detect a cavity, they suggest filling it, usually without thinking twice. Once drilled and filled, teeth are weakened and susceptible to further decay.
I believe that if we focus on prevention, we can avoid most cavities and subsequent oral health decline as a result of filling cavities. However, what if teeth could be remineralized through a proper diet and oral hygiene routine? There are several factors involved in tooth remineralization, mainly diet, Ph of saliva, and oral hygiene practices. Diet and saliva are interrelated and quite complex. Toothpaste cleans teeth and removes plaque, which is beneficial. If your goal is to maintain healthy teeth through a proper diet, mainstream toothpastes will work against your efforts. Furthermore, they contain questionable ingredients that may do more harm than good.
Glycerin – Certainly not bad in and of itself if properly sourced, but its use in toothpaste may not be ideal. Some suggest it may leave a layer of film on the teeth that prevent remineralization. It can also be dangerous to our health if processed with dangerous chemicals, and I assume most toothpaste contain the cheapest possible source.
Sodium Laurel Sulfate – SLS is a known carcinogen. Some natural companies still stand behind its use and claim it is safe, but I prefer to stay on the safe side here.
Saccharin – This was the first ingredient I questioned when I started to rethink my approach to dental health and toothpaste several years ago. I avoid artificial sweeteners like the plague, as most of them are proven carcinogens, several contribute to obesity and other health problems, and some are excitotoxins, meaning they cause rapid firing and death of brain cells. And yet, we see the artificial sweetener, saccharin, in our toothpaste.
Fluoride – You knew I’d get to this one. I don’t claim to be an expert on fluoride, but from my basic understanding, Fluoride is highly toxic in the form found in toothpaste and never found in nature in this state. If you’re trying to rebuild tooth enamel, just like with glycerin, a “protective” layer of fluoride is not ideal. It is also suggested that the layer it forms on teeth is much thinner than originally thought and is useless against protecting teeth from decay anyway.
A Safer Alternative
If you’re looking for a safe alternative to the common toothpastes, there are many options, from the more expensive natural toothpastes (be careful– some contain some of these questionable ingredients) to simple recipes you can make at home.