Our lives are filled with chemicals. Avoiding them would be impossible and sometimes, not recommended. Putting chemicals in your mouth that could be harmful, though, would seem to be the last thing you would want to do.
Yet, many of us have grown up doing just that by using toothpaste, mouthwash, and even dental floss that contain potentially harmful ingredients. Over the years, there have been ongoing arguments about such additives as fluoride and triclosan, with different test results showing different outcomes depending on whether the researcher was for or against the additive.
Without what generally would be considered a definitive statement on the harmful effects of these chemicals from the government, a growing number of families have decided to take the safe route and use natural products for their dental hygiene needs, like fluoride free toothpaste that also does not contain triclosan. Such products are readily available from manufacturers, or you can make your own natural fluoride free toothpaste from recipes listed online.
All natural toothpaste alternatives to chemical-based teeth cleansers can include such ingredients as glycerin and baking soda combined with a pinch of salt. Oils of almond, peppermint or spearmint extract can be added to kill bacteria, which is the main cause of periodontal disease, and to enhance the flavor.
For fluoride free toothpaste that will whiten teeth and fight germs, experts recommend adding a few drops of hydrogen peroxide to the mix. Orange peel can be added for flavor, while adding some powdered sage can reportedly help eliminate germs, fight stains, and act as natural remedies for gum disease.
Natural oral hygiene is not complete without a natural mouthwash, which can help reverse receding gums naturally while freshening the breath. While there are any number of recipes, some of which use vodka as a germ killer, a simple one involves heating glycerin, aloe vera gel, and witch hazel together and adding peppermint oil.
Scientific evidence has been mounting for years that fluoride and other additives do little to help prevent tooth decay or kill bacteria and may actually be harmful. Just recently the FDA announced that it was continuing to study the uses of triclosan in antibacterial soaps and has required companies to show proof of its benefits before it comes out with new regulations in 2016.
Triclosan comes with a bevy of studies showing that there is evidence the substance messes with human hormones and that it is implicated in the rise of super bacteria that are resistant to common antibacterial measures. It also is said to break down into a known carcinogen, dioxin.
While waiting for a definitive ruling by the FDA, environmental scientists and consumer advocates are telling people to go back to just using regular soap and water. That old combination, they say, does as much against germs as the questionable antibacterial soap.
To help consumers some companies have entirely eliminated Triclosan and certain chemicals or they have created a separate brand. These are companies that produce skin care products, hair and bath products, and even health supplements.
Fluoride has long been the object of objections, both against the movement for fluoridated water and its use in toothpaste and mouthwash. There are any number of reputable studies that show that the substance can be harmful to humans, even in the small doses used in toothpaste. So the movement is being countered with a new movement toward fluoride free toothpaste and other natural dental products.
What has spawned the rise in the search for chemical free toothpaste and natural mouthwash has been the release of studies that show fluoride is a poison only slightly less toxic than arsenic. It collects in the bones and makes them brittle and subject to breaking. The substance also is linked to a higher number of cancer deaths in the U.S.
According to a 1990 study by the Mayo Clinic, fluoride used to treat osteoporosis actually resulted in more hip fractures and fragile bones. A year earlier, the Argonne National Laboratories confirmed the ability of fluoride to change normal cells into cancer cells. Fluoride also has been linked to a rare form of liver cancer in mice and oral tumors in rats. Meanwhile, the New Jersey Department of Health has tracked men who were exposed to fluoridated water and found they suffered a higher rate of bone cancer than men who were not so exposed.
The Natural Health and Longevity Resource Center has listed 10 major health dangers that it says can be traced to fluoride use. They include the breakdown of collagen in bone, tendons, skin, lungs, and kidneys; the suppression of thyroid activity and formation of antibodies in the blood; the blocking of white blood cells from being able to attack foreign agents; and the depletion of energy reserves and the premature aging of the body.
Changing to fluoride free toothpaste and natural mouthwash are two steps that can be taken to remove these chemicals and prevent them from entering your mouth. However, you must not forget the floss.
Many brands of coated dental floss contain perfluorinated polymers, or PFCs, that make them slide through your teeth easier, but have now be connected with a higher risk of cancers of the breast, prostate, testicles, and liver. The substance once thought to be inert are now also suspect in birth defects and problems with the immune system.
Remember, you are responsible for your health and that of your children, so be sure to learn more about the many natural alternatives to fluoride toothpaste and chemical products.