For most of us, brushing our teeth is an everyday habit we don’t put much thought into. Whether it comes to the brushes we use or the brand of toothpaste we buy, there’s no doubt that a majority of us grab our oral care products off the shelf without much consideration.
Sounds familiar? Well if it does, maybe it’s time to start paying attention, because as it turns out, the ingredients in your toothpaste can actually have numerous harmful effects for your body. Yikes!
What actually goes into your toothpaste?
According to recent findings, commercial toothpastes actually contain a myriad of ingredients and chemicals that are toxic for us. This is especially worrisome considering how our mouths are one of the most absorbent places in our bodies.
So, what are some of these aforementioned ingredients and chemicals? These are the ones most commonly found in the toothpastes off the shelves:
This ingredient was banned in soaps a few years back in the US, with research proving that the addition of the chemical did not make it more effective in getting rid of germs.In fact, it was found that Triclosan does more harm than good, with it increasing the risks of infections, altering the gut microbiome, and spurring bacteria to become resistant to antibiotics.
This, of course, led to the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) to ban Triclosan and 18 other antimicrobials from soaps in the US. Unfortunately, the ingredient is still prevalent in commercial toothpastes up to today!
Why hasn’t the FDA banned Triclosan in toothpastes as well? According to studies done, this is apparently because Triclosan can be effective at helping to prevent gingivitis and plaque. However, it doesn’t change the fact that it promotes antibiotic resistance as well as disrupts hormone signaling. To be specific, thyroid, testosterone, and oestrogen regulation.
What is the best way to avoid using toothpastes with Triclosan in them? Well, reading the ingredients list before purchasing your toothpaste is a good way to start, or you can simply opt for toothpastes that are free of common chemicals.
Parabens are most commonly found in your shampoos, deodorants, as well as a whole host of other beauty and household products— including your toothpastes. What you don’t know, though, is that there are signs that parabens could affect oestrogen production and interfere with your endocrine system.
3. Sodium Hydroxide
Brace yourself, because this revelation might just turn the world as you know it on its head. Sodium Hydroxide is the chemical name for lye, which is, in fact… a drain cleaner. Yup, you’re effectively putting something that is used to clean drains into your mouth on a daily basis!
You might be wondering why this ingredient is found in toothpastes. Well, this mostly has to do with how Sodium Hydroxide becomes very alkaline when dissolved in water. Hence, it is used to neutralize the acidic pH of the other ingredients in your toothpaste.
It can be toxic when ingested, which is definitely not reassuring in the least considering how easy it is to consume some since toothpaste goes into our mouths
4. Propylene Glycol
An industrial grade mineral oil, this ingredient is also used in antifreeze, paints, enamels, and airplane de-icers. Research is still ongoing as to the harmful effects of Propylene Glycol, but it is known to be a skin, eye, and lung irritant, which consequentially, could lead to organ system toxicity.
Derived from red algae, Carrageenan is actually widely used as thickening agent in foods and healthcare products. Sounds harmless, right? Nope. Unfortunately, research has found that degraded and processed Carrageenan can cause gut irritation, large bowel ulceration, and even cancer amongst animals! More research is still ongoing as to the dangers and side effects of Carrageenan, but it supposedly has already been banned from organic foods and baby formula by the World Health Organisation.
Are there any alternatives to commercial toothpastes?
Organic and natural toothpastes contain fewer chemicals and additives, instead having more natural whiteners and essential oils.
Our top pick? Botanique by Himalaya Toothpaste. Having been around since 1930, Himalaya believes firmly in the development of herbal healthcare and personal care products.
Their range of premium toothpastes are made with 100% USDA organic certified ingredients, is made from 97% natural sources, and is free from the 9 common chemicals normally found in commercial toothpastes. They contain premium natural flavours and natural ingredients instead, such as Pomegranate, Neem, and Pineapple that allows users to achieve optimum results all without resorting to using chemicals and toxic ingredients.
Pomegranate, for instance, is rich in polyphenols, which are known to exhibit anti-inflammatory and anti-astringent activity, thus reducing gum inflammation and helping with gum strengthening instead. Just as Neem possesses anti-bacterial, anti-cariogenic, and anti-plaque activity!
There are five variants within the range to pick from: Under the Botanique Complete Care range, there’s Peppermint, Mint, and Cinnamon, while the Whitening Complete Care comes in Peppermint and Mint. With 97% of the product made of natural sources, The Botanique by Himalaya Toothpaste allows you to maintain your oral health without risking your overall health. It is also free of SLS, Fluoride, and Gluten, further ensuring your peace of mind when using the product.
Where can I get my hands on the Botanique By Himalaya Toothpaste?
The Botanique by Himalaya Toothpaste is available at Redmart, selected Watsons and Giant outlets, Watsons online, as well as the Himalaya Retail Store located at Far East Plaza. It retails at SGD8.90 for a 150ml pack.