Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Natural Toothpastes for the Grown-ups! And I Digress. A lot.

As promised (and I'm sure you are super excited for!) here is a list of my favorite natural toothpastes.

It's an easy list because there is really only one I've ever liked.

But let me back up a minute. (Follow the yellow highlights for the Reader's Digest version)

(Digression 1)

When I was at The Minimalist talk the blonde guy mentioned that with every interaction he has he always tries to add value to other people's lives. Which got me to thinking about the ways I could add value. And add value to this blog specifically.

So what do I know about? One of the easiest things I came up with is my ten years of experience, research, and knowledge of natural and chemical-free products. I've been obsessed with using toxin-free home and beauty products way before I ever got diagnosed with something directly related to toxins. And that's not to say I'm perfect in my usage. Because I am most certainly not. Sometimes only bleach will do. And, as mentioned in my diaper chat, I'm a marketer's romantic dream. Put the right color and font on a package and bam! my credit card is quivering in it's sleeve. But I try and try again. And since there is nothing cheap about natural products it's taken me a while (and added to my credit card debt) to explore all the different products out there. So it's time to share!

Which brings me back to....

TOOTHPASTE  (come back down here)

First things first. What is wrong with regular toothpaste?

(Digression 2)

According to the grand poobah of toxins, Environmental Working Group's Skin Deep database, toothpaste is one of the least toxic products on the market - even when you buy conventional brands. Colgate regular paste, for example, rates only a 2 out of 10. The worst ingredient in Colgate regular toothpaste is flavor. It's only when you get into whitening, tartar prevention, extra foaming, and extreme flavors that the toxin rates of toothpastes start to rise.

I'm also not big into caring about fluoride vs. fluoride-free. I haven't really read compelling evidence for fluoride's benefit or toxicity. I shy away from toothpastes with fluoride because I drink tap water with fluoride in it already so I don't think I need more. And I was told over and over again when I had braces 3x (yes 3) that I needed to swish with a fluoride solution (Phos-Flur) all the time (which I did religiously because I liked the flavor) to prevent staining and all sorts of other stuff that happens underneath braces. Well guess what, it didn't. So I'm not convinced of fluoride's curative powers. But I'm not an expert.

So, again, why do I care about toothpaste?

Simple answer: I'm a hippie at heart.

If I could avoid chemicals all the time I would, even though my biologist and chemistry loving bestie constantly reminds me that not all chemicals are bad. True. I'm very glad for lots of chemicals in my life like the chemicals that made this computer I'm typing to you on.

Anyhoo. There are some things in regular toothpaste that I personally would like to avoid. Mainly dyes, artificial flavors (EWG score of 4), and the worst offender in my book - fake sugars like saccharin - which have been linked to neurological problems, among other things. While the EWG only gives saccharin a 1 (with limited data), my anecdotal evidence of watching my family gulp down fake sugars all day long and have many a health problem is enough for me to stay away. Plus one time I used Crest Pro-Health and my mouth went numb for a day. (Google it. I'm not alone.)

Bottom line though: I'm not going to freak out if I have to use regular paste for awhile.

START AGAIN HERE (Whoops that was a long digression)

There are lots of products I still find inferior to their chemically laden brethren (laundry detergent and shampoo top my list) and toothpaste was one of them until I got smitten with the packaging at Honest Company and tried almost everything they offer.

After 10 years of searching. The WINNER!

Like swishing with ocean water if you like that sort of thing.
Their toothpaste is hands down the best I've tried in a decade of searching. The two things that plague natural toothpastes are mouth feel and flavor. Pastes feel too sticky/pastey (I think I made that word up) and gels feel too gooey. Without Sodium Lauryl Sulfate to foam it up you don't get that "clean" feeling.  In the flavor department the flavors are either too intense (did you ever make "Wintergreen" smell in your science class?) or too bizarre - like this Salt one from Weleda.

Honest Toothpaste has a great mouth feel. The most comparable to regular toothpaste I've found. While the flavor isn't super awesome it is minty and not overwhelming or fake tasting. Honest toothpaste also foams slightly and leaves your teeth feeling clean. Especially when brushed right after a nice oil pulling sesh.

As Lil'D moves up into the toothpaste world I'll be trying out new natural toothpastes for her. I've already given this strawberry one a solid B. Taste was a B+ (Good, Acceptable, Could be Better), but mouth feel was pastey gross. B-/C+ 

In a pinch, this will do.

So there. Now you have it folks. 

(Skip to here)

Honest Toothpaste is the Winner!

Unfortunately you can only order through Honest at this time, but I'm a big fan of a lot of their products so I recommend trying a bundle.
If you have a specific natural toothpaste in mind... feel free to ask me about it! 

There is a 95% chance I've tried it.

Hearts and Pups,

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