by: Sandy Johnson, RDH
You’ve probably noticed “natural” products popping up in stores – even in the oral hygiene section. So what exactly does it mean for toothpaste to be “natural”?
The biggest difference between natural toothpaste and the others is what natural toothpaste doesn’t contain:
- Artificial sweeteners: Some toothpaste contains sweeteners such as saccharin. Natural toothpaste contains natural sweeteners such as the sugar alcohol xylitol or stevia.
- Artificial flavors: Like sweeteners, some toothpaste contains synthetic flavors whereas natural toothpaste contains naturally derived flavors.
- Artificial colors: Some toothpaste comes in a variety of colors like red, green and blue. This coloring usually comes from artificial dyes. Natural toothpaste does not use artificial colors and will typically only come in one color: white.
- Preservatives: Conventional toothpaste uses preservatives like sodium benzoate, methyl paraben and ethyl paraben to keep it fresh and prevent the growth of microorganisms. Natural toothpaste may contain natural preservatives like citric acid.
- Fluoride: Fluoride is a mineral that is great at preventing cavities, but still has some opponents among naturalists. You’ll find some natural toothpaste that has it and some doesn’t.
- Sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS): SLS is a foaming agent often used in toothpaste and is a skin irritant for some people and may also cause canker sores if you’re prone to them. Some natural toothpaste doesn’t contain SLS while others do.
Conventional toothpaste is safe to use, but if you’re concerned about artificial additives, natural alternatives may be the way to go!