Another edition of Wellness Wednesday coming in hot! As we began our journey into improving our overall wellness and trying to take baby steps in ditching unhealthy ingredients, I never would have guessed how far-reaching it would be. Processed foods? Obviously. Chemicals in our cleaning products? A no-brainer. But even dental products? It’s surprising to discover the harmful ingredients lurking in your toothpaste, you know? And with all of the changes our family has made, I have always found myself wanting to know as much as possible. And let me tell you, this one was quite the rabbit hole (no pun intended given the information I am going to share).
Like a lot of people, I trusted what was on our store shelves for the most part. Especially if it was made for keeping our teeth healthy, I figured the toothpaste I bought was created for the job it was designed to do. And of course that deceptive marketing really does the job, right? “Whitening & Brightening” and “Breathe Fresh”. Or how about, “Cavity Protection”. However, when we know better we do better. Even though I still find myself sometimes cringing at the thought of how long our family was in the dark – I mean, my kids were using these products! I’m just happy to now have learned about this and the changes we have made since.
So, let’s break down these harmful ingredients found in the toothpaste we see on our store shelves, shall we?
You know when you are brushing your teeth and work up a really good lather? Those suds make you feel like it’s getting the job done, things are getting clean. Sodium lauryl sulfate is a compound used as a foaming agent in cosmetic products, cleaning products, shampoos, soaps, and in your toothpaste.
The problem with this ingredient, that also happens to be used in insecticides, is that it can irritate your mouth and strip away the lining. This can cause something as simple as canker sores to something more serious like organ toxicity. How? Because even though we don’t ingest our toothpaste, it is being absorbed through the mucous membranes in our mouth.
Unfortunately, product manufacturers will also list sodium lauryl sulfate by other names so keep an eye out for the following when checking the back of the box: sodium dodecyl sulfate, sodium salt, sulfuric acid, sodium salt sulfuric acid, monododecyl ester, monododecyl ester sodium salt sulfuric acid, Aquarex methyl, or Akyposal SDS, A13-00356.
A study on rabbits
I came across a study from 2005 that was done using domestic rabbits. For 8 weeks, they rubbed a 5% solution of Sodium Lauryl Sulfate on the backs of each rabbit, 5 males and 5 females. Each rabbit developed hair loss, skin irritation, and even skin legions. The animals were observed as dull, depressed, and became emaciated from a loss of appetite. If you have the stomach for it, you can browse this study here along with the documented visuals.
And this was in the toothpaste our family was using. Enter all disturbing emotions here.
Flouride is another ingredient we want to stay away from and there’s no surprise that there is a lot of drama surrounding it. A federal lawsuit went to trial last year regarding the use of fluoride in the nation’s municipal drinking water supply. Did you know they started using flouride in the 1940’s to combat tooth decay on a large scale in our country? Did you also know that extensive studies have been done and show that high exposure to flouride can harm the development of children’s brains and nervous systems? It can also harm bone development.
If you are like me and prefer to consume as much information as you can on a subject, here are some links and reading material for you:
Two points to go along with this. First, are the amounts of flouride found in a tube of toothpaste small? Most likely. However, think about how often we use toothpaste. And those trace amounts are being consumed each and every time. My belief is that those unhealthy and harmful chemicals in products compound over time and we wonder why chronic illnesses are rampant these days. And secondly, history has shown that the government getting involved under the guise of caring for the health of its citizens? It’s never really as it seems. I could go on, but I will stop there.
I’m sure we have all heard about this one which is why you see a lot of “paraben-free” marketing on shampoo bottles, soaps, and more.
Parabens are chemicals used to extend the shelf life of a product. I mean, no one wants to open a tube of toothpaste to see a moldy, discolored substance being squeezed out, right? The problem is the FDA is still reviewing studies done on the safety of parabens! Don’t worry, in the meantime, they are allowing it because heaven forbid we put off convenience a bit to make sure something isn’t harming the health of people.
Parabens are known to disrupt hormones, thyroid levels, cause allergic reactions, and also are absorbed quickly by the skin.
This ingredient is one that the FDA classifies as GRAS (generally recognized as safe). Does that sound like a solid bet to you? That’s because it’s not. The industrial-grade form of propylene glycol is used in things like paint and anti-freeze. Why in the world would that be used in a product like toothpaste then? So your toothpaste has a smooth texture of course! Like I always say, convenience will forever be the downfall of our society.
Here is an article from Healthline regarding the effects of propylene glycol on our health.
There are actually a handful more ingredients that we want to avoid, but the good news is that we can do this easily. By simply choosing better products, we can ditch the harmful and unhealthy junk in our toothpaste and other products. Here is a list of better options that I have come across. I have not tried any of these, but definitely worth looking into for yourself:
It probably comes as no surprise that the toothpaste we prefer is from the Thieves line by Young Living. All of our personal care products, my makeup, our supplements, vitamins, cleaning products, and more come from Young Living. We have loved what we have tried so of course, our toothpaste would also come from there as part of our monthly loyalty rewards box.
(The only product we haven’t been impressed with was the deodorant so for now we are sticking with Native.)
Anyway, a whitening tip for my fellow Young Living oil users? Add a drop of orange essential oil right on top of your toothpaste! It literally tastes like an orange Tic-Tac (anyone else obsessed with those as a kid?!), but also adds to the whitening power! You will love it.
There are also plenty of recipes out there to make your own homemade toothpaste as well!
Have you made the switch to an all-natural toothpaste? Which one have you tried and loved? (We also switched to bamboo toothbrushes as a more sustainable option, but that’s a story for a different day.)
If you want to know more about the clean products our family enjoys and the changes we are making, come join me for Wellness Wednesday’s right here and join me over at The Well Life Society on Instagram. And if you ever have any questions about Young Living specifically, don’t hesitate to reach out and let me know because I would love to link arms with you!
P.S. You can enjoy more wellness reads right here!