Monday, December 17, 2007

Fluoride Toothpaste and alternatives

Typical toothpaste is regulated as a drug by the FDA because an average tube contains enough fluoride to kill a small child. Most people in the United States have been living under the false assumption that fluoride toothpaste is essential to preventing cavities, when in reality it is a dangerous poison.

Too much fluoride can lead to fluorosis, a discoloring of your teeth and breakdown of enamel -- itself a result diametrically opposed to the dental health it supposedly is meant to prevent -- and more serious developmental problems such as lower IQ. Excessive use of fluoride also increases your risk of osteoporosis and can damage your nervous system, not to mention its links to:
  • Cancer
  • Developmental and reproductive toxicity
  • Endocrine disruption
  • Organ system toxicity
  • Neurotoxicity
As the word about the dangers of fluoride gets out -- even the American Dental Association admitted this year that fluoride is bad -- more of you are seeking out natural toothpaste varieties.

Others are seeking natural toothpastes because they’re catching on to the importance of limiting your exposure to as many artificial chemicals as possible. And rest assured that fluoride is not the only skeleton hiding in your typical toothpaste’s closet.

A quick reading of the ingredients in one leading brand of toothpaste reveals:
  • Triclosan: A preservative and cosmetic biocide that has been linked to endocrine disruption, organ system toxicity, and bioaccumulation
  • Sodium lauryl sulfate: A cleansing agent linked to cancer and developmental and reproductive toxicity
  • Tetrasodium pyrophosphate: An oral care agent that animal studies have found impact your brain and nervous system at low doses
  • Hydrated silica: An anticaking agent that bioaccumulates in people and wildlife
  • FD&C Blue 1: An artificial coloring linked to cancer
You would think, then, that a natural toothpaste label would be much more, well, natural. Some, in fact, are. But you must be careful to read the label and know what you’re buying. For instance, here are some of the ingredients in a leading non-fluoride natural toothpaste:
  • Sodium monofluorophosphate: An oral care agent linked to neurotoxicity, developmental and reproductive toxicity, and possibly cancer.
  • Sodium lauryl sulfate: Same as above.
The bottom line is that personal care products are not regulated, and those that claim to be natural can be far from it.

Look for a simple natural, non-fluoride toothpaste with only familiar ingredients, and skip all of the bells and whistles like “whitening,” “enamel strengthening,” and “multi-action.” If you’re looking for a safe way to make your teeth whiter, you can try this truly natural formula using strawberries and baking soda.

Many people think their non-fluoride toothpaste is healthy. However, it is much more difficult to find toothpaste that doesn't contain Sodium Laurel Sulfate (originally created as an engine degreaser).

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