Is it just me, or does it seem like everyone is hopping on the all-natural train these days? Last year, Sephora announced the introduction of labels for its clean beauty products, and our Facebook Group members frequently request more and more recommendations for all-natural remedies for things like allergies to anxiety (hello, essential oils).
I've found myself participating, recently doing a clean sweep of my go-to products and replacing my deodorant, body wash, face masks, and so on. Since my tube of toothpaste was on its last leg, I found myself wondering if it was time to switch to all-natural dental care, too.
But does going all-natural necessarily mean that it's better for us? Or is it simply just giving in to the hype? My teeth are pretty damn important to me, because pizza, so I decided to reach out to a dental expert and gain the truth. As it turns out, my intuition was correct—not all natural toothpaste is healthier than mainstream ones. In fact, they might actually be worse for your teeth. Keep reading to hear what a dentist has to say, along with his brand recommendations.
Similarly to selecting foods, many people start out by looking at ingredient lists and labels when it comes to purchasing all-natural products. By choosing a brand that lists few ingredients—and, if you're lucky, ones that you can mostly pronounce—consumers feel more confident that they are putting only what their body needs and avoiding any unnecessary additives like artificial colors and chemicals.
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So what's the catch? Kevin Sands, DDS, a dentist from Beverly Hills who has treated celebrities like Emma Stone and Kendall Jenner, warns that many natural toothpaste brands seem to be missing one key ingredient: fluoride. "We as dentists really advocate for using fluoride. It has been proven to be safe and effective at preventing decay. American Dental Association highly recommends using a fluoridated toothpaste." After doing my own research, the ADA actually requires fluoride to be listed as an ingredient in any toothpaste that receives its seal of acceptance.
Interestingly enough, the type of toothpaste you use may not actually be your biggest problem. "Actually, the most important thing for getting the best cleaning is the type of toothbrush bristle and the amount of time spent cleaning, as well as the angulation of the brushing. So yes: An all-natural toothpaste can clean the surface of the tooth just as well, however, make sure it contains fluoride."
And since I'm on the topic, I decided to ask Sands about investing in natural mouthwashes or dental floss, too. "Same answer here. However, some mainstream floss does contain a form of antibiotics, so if floss is all-natural and not coated with antibiotics, it might be best."
Keep reading for some more dentist-approved natural toothpastes.
Dr. Bronner's toothpaste has no artificial colors, flavors, preservatives, or sweeteners. It's formulated with hydrated silica and calcium carbonate which acts as gentle abrasives, plus baking soda and potassium cocoate that are natural cleansers.
The fluoride-free toothpaste fights plaque and tartar buildup while whitening your teeth. It has a tingly fennel flavor.
This article was originally published at an earlier date and has since been updated.