Brush off conventional toothpastes
The main difference between natural toothpastes and conventional toothpastes is the ingredients they contain. And these little things can make a big difference. Let’s take a closer look at some of these potentially harmful ingredients:
There’s growing concern about the health effects related to over-consumption of fluoride, especially among children1. Unlike fluoride toothpastes, natural toothpastes don’t contain fluoride and are even safe to swallow.
Natural and conventional toothpastes don’t contain sugar because it contributes to tooth decay. But conventional toothpastes do contain some type of artificial sweetener such as saccharin to improve their taste. The health effects of artificial sweeteners have been open for debate.
Instead of an artificial sweetener, many natural toothpastes contain a sweetener called xylitol. Xylitol is naturally found in the fibres of many fruits and vegetables. And unlike sugar and artificial sweeteners, xylitol is actively beneficial for dental health. It can help reduce cavities and promotes remineralization2.
Synthetic or animal glycerin and propylene glycol
Both types of toothpaste often contain glycerin to create a smooth texture. Conventional toothpastes tend to use synthetic or animal-derived glycerin. Many natural toothpastes are vegan, so the glycerin used is 100% plant-based.
Some popular conventional toothpaste brands use propylene glycol instead of glycerin. Propylene glycol is derived from petrol. All-natural toothpastes don’t contain any petrol-derived ingredients.
Synthetic detergents and foaming agents
Conventional toothpastes use synthetic detergents and foaming agents such as sodium lauryl sulfate and sodium laureth sulfate to help clean your teeth. Instead of using synthetic agents, natural toothpastes will clean your teeth with coconut-derived coco-glucoside which is edible and biodegradable.
Artificial dyes and flavours
Conventional toothpastes are more likely to contain artificial dyes such as D&C Yellow No. 10 and FD&C Blue No. 1 as well as artificial flavours. Natural toothpastes don’t contain any artificial dyes and only use edible natural flavours.
Chemical antibacterial agents
Some conventional toothpastes contain a chemical antibacterial agent called triclosan, commonly found in antibacterial hand soaps. Triclosan was first used as a pesticide3. But natural toothpastes contain grapefruit seed extract to help eliminate bacteria that can cause bad breath.
Phosphate-based tartar control agents
Tetrasodium pyrophosphate is commonly used in conventional toothpastes as a tartar control agent. It’s also sometimes used in household detergents and contains phosphate which can promote algae growth4. But, by brushing daily with a natural phosphate-free toothpaste, you can naturally prevent tartar build-up.
Plastic microbead abrasives
Some conventional toothpastes use petrochemical plastic microbeads as an abrasive agent and to create colourful sparkles5. Plastic microbeads are washed down the drain and end up polluting rivers and oceans6. Natural toothpastes contain natural mineral silica to act as a gentle polish to safely clean your teeth.
Alain Ménard, microbiologist, co-founded The Green Beaver Company with biochemist Karen Clark. They were both appalled by the amount of chemicals found in kid’s shampoos, bubble baths and other products. With their new family in mind, they decided to do something about it. They left the pharmaceutical and pesticide industry behind to create healthier natural products. Alain regularly gives seminars on the potential health risks and environmental hazards associated with the chemicals found in everyday personal care products.