Choosing the Best Toothpaste

Wondering what the best toothpaste is for your family and your dental health? Here are some things we discovered in our search for the world's best toothpaste.

Choosing the best toothpaste

Photo from Flickr by Joan. 

How to Choose the Best Toothpaste for Your Family

Are you concerned about your dental health? Wondering which toothpaste is the best for your family, the one that promotes strong, healthy teeth and gums?

Taking chances with your dental health is risky. What if we sabotage our dental health by switching toothpastes? What if the new toothpaste makes the condition of our mouths worse? What if we really need a particular ingredient in commercial brand toothpastes to prevent cavities, gum disease, and tooth decay?

We've been taught that dental issues like cavities and gum recession cannot be reversed. But studies are showing that it is possible to heal cavities and gums, not through extensive or costly procedures at the dentist's office, or worse at the oral surgeon's office, but with natural, cost-effective changes we can make in our own homes. Is it really that simple?

When searching for the best toothpaste, the number one question is this: what exactly is the world's best toothpaste?

That's a big question and one we sought to answer. Here are some things we discovered about toothpastes, tooth and gum health, and the dental health industry that might surprise you.

The Issues in Finding the World's Best Toothpaste

The trouble with finding the best toothpaste is that there are many ideas on what the best toothpaste actually is. Is it a commercial brand fluoride toothpaste that strengthens enamel and fights against cavities, one that is backed by extensive laboratory testing, is it a natural and organic toothpaste, or is it a toothpaste we can make in our own homes?

There is no easy answer.

It makes sense that we would leave the toothpaste to the experts, but what if we're looking for a more natural, non-toxic toothpaste? And one that won't cost us an arm and a leg?

The do-it-yourself movement combined with the increase in the number of people interested in holistic health and medicine has paved the way for significant changes in the brands of products we choose to purchase and use in our homes. But the toothpaste experts aren't likely to stand behind homemade toothpaste recipes. Where is the money in that?

All motives aside, too many dental industry experts still believe that fluoride toothpaste is best for our dental health. Not only this, but they also believe that fluoridated water, albeit at a limited amount, is necessary to reduce dental health issues in the United States. If we can medicate the entire population with fluoridated water, the country will experience a decrease in tooth decay and other dental health problems. Right?

The problem: fluoride has gotten a bad rap as an endocrine disruptor that causes a whole slew of health issues including trouble with fertility, early puberty in children, bone damage, and thyroid damage. It has even been banned in many countries including China, Austria, Belgium, Finland, Germany, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, the Netherlands, Hungary, and Japan. And according to Dr. Mercola, fluoride isn't even approved by the FDA for the prevention of cavities.

What's even more disturbing is this: "Prior to 1945 when communal water fluoridation in the U.S. took effect, fluoride was in fact known as a protoplasmic poison that alters the permeability of the cell membrane by affecting certain enzymes." (Source: Dr. Mercola)

But how much of the fluoride really gets absorbed into our bloodstream? And how dangerous is the fluoride when we're simply brushing our teeth with it? Two more really good questions. And again, the answer depends on who is providing it. Who do we trust?

According to the European Union, there is no proved absorption of fluoride in the mouth. It is only when ingested that the fluoride is absorbed into the bloodstream via the stomach and intestines. This same source also states that there is no data on fluoride absorption through the skin.

The United States Centers for Disease Control recognizes water fluoridation as one of the top ten public health achievements of the twentieth century.

Fluoride supporters claim that fluoride helps prevent tooth decay, but countries that have banned fluoride in their drinking water have experienced the same level of dental health improvement. Approximately 97% of the western European population drinks non-fluoridated water. While the supporters claim that dental health has improved, studies have shown that the dental health in the United States has actually declined since the induction of water fluoridation. In other words, the dental health in the United States has gotten worse despite the fluoride in the drinking water.

All discussion of the dangers and effectiveness of fluoride aside, the best toothpaste is one that is effective at cleaning the teeth, removing plaque buildup, and remineralizing the enamel to promote strong and healthy teeth.

So, with that in mind, what is the best toothpaste?

Natural Solutions to Toothpaste and Dental Health

Some sources, for instance Natural Dentistry, say foaming and flavored toothpastes are just a gimmick and that brushing with a toothbrush and water in addition to flossing with dental floss is just as, if not more, effective, not to mention safer and healthier, as toothpastes that foam.

Other sources, such as Dr. Josh Axe, recommend using a homemade toothpaste recipe that includes coconut oil, baking soda, trace minerals, xylitol powder, and essential oils.

Either option is perfectly fine, according to Dr. Mark Burhenne, family and sleep medicine dentist. His recommendations for a homemade toothpaste include coconut oil, trace minerals, crushed cacao nibs, bentonite clay, xylitol, baking soda, and essential oils.

Let's take a further look at the ingredients Dr. Burhenne recommends for a homemade toothpaste.

Coconut Oil

The benefit to using coconut oil is that it can help boost the microbiome in your gut and prevent candida growth in the mouth. It is also thought to reduce or eliminate the bacteria in the mouth. Coconut oil contains a fatty acid called lauric acid. This fatty acid is proven to be antimicrobial, killing bacteria, fungi, and viruses in the mouth.

Trace Minerals

According to TraceMinerals.com, our bodies rely on ionic minerals and trace minerals to conduct and generate billions of tiny electrical impulses. And without these impulses, our muscles, including the heart, are unable to function. The brain would not function and the cells would be unable to use osmosis to balance our water pressure and absorb nutrients. Adding minerals to our diet and to our toothpaste can help us get the minerals that our bodies need.

If you drink reverse osmosis water, adding trace minerals to your toothpaste is especially important because this filtration process removes not just the bad stuff but also the good stuff in the water.

Crushed Cacao

Believe it or not, cacao is a great addition to a toothpaste. It is the purest form of chocolate we can consume and is thought to be the highest source of antioxidants and magnesium of all foods. The compounds in cacao beans promote remineralization more effectively than fluoride. Crushed cacao can also be a safe abrasive to break up biofilm on the teeth, depending on the grain size.

Bentonite Clay

Bentonite clay is a natural polisher that is rich in minerals. It's not too abrasive and its alkalinity helps to reduce the acidity in the mouth. Using the clay helps promote a good balance of bacteria in the mouth, protecting us from illness and promoting tooth remineralization.

Xylitol

Xylitol is a great sweetener for homemade toothpastes. It also helps to reduce harmful bacteria in the mouth that causes cavities and tooth decay.

Baking Soda

Adding baking soda to your toothpaste will help neutralize the acids in our mouths so we can maintain a proper pH.

Essential Oils

When combined with brushing and flossing, essential oils can aid in fighting plaque and gum disease. They also add flavor to the toothpaste, making it more pleasant to use. Popular essential oils include cinnamon, clove, and peppermint.

Dr. Burhenne also says to leave out hydrogen peroxide and anything acidic. The reason for leaving out hydrogen peroxide is that it is ineffective as a teeth whitening agent when it is in toothpaste form. It needs to sit on the teeth for a lot longer than just a few minutes to have an effect. And ideally, the hydrogen peroxide never comes in contact with the gums, tongue, and the soft tissues of the mouth. As for acidic ingredients, the ideal pH for a homemade toothpaste is 7 (neutral) or higher so you want to avoid adding anything that could cause the pH to be too low and lead to tooth decay or trouble with remineralization.

Another important consideration is diet. Studies have shown that we can improve our dental health simply by improving our diet. When our bodies receive all of the vitamins and nutrients they need, they are given a good chance to fight infections and heal themselves. Even cavities have been healed through the proper diet [proper diet {link to article on healing cavities naturally}].

So, when it comes to choosing a toothpaste that is right for you, what it really boils down to is this: what are you comfortable with? Do you prefer a flavored toothpaste that foams? Or do you prefer a homemade toothpaste made with coconut oil and baking soda?

Resources:

http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2015/06/20/fluoride-deception-continues.aspx

http://ec.europa.eu/health/scientific_committees/opinions_layman/fluoridation/en/l-2/2.htm

http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2010/11/13/cdc-and-ada-now-advise-to-avoid-using-fluoride.aspx

http://naturaldentistry.us/697/whats-the-best-toothpaste/

http://www.traceminerals.com/trace-minerals/why-you-need-ionic-minerals

 

   

 

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