Can You “Go Green” When it Comes to Your Toothpaste?

From organic fruits and vegetables to all-natural shampoos and soaps, “going green” is becoming more of a lifestyle and less of just a trend. Consumers are becoming more conscious about the types of products they choose to use in their households. When it comes to oral health, what should you look for in a natural toothpaste?

Sodium lauryl sulfate is a chemical found in common personal care products, including toothpaste, shampoo, lotion, soap and facial cleansers, that has been linked to allergies and sensitivities. To avoid exposing your family to toxins and harsh chemicals, select an SLS-free toothpaste or one that has baking soda, which can help promote a neutral pH.

Keep in mind that all natural toothpastes are not the same. All types of toothpaste should help neutralize the overall pH of your mouth, which prevents acid from plaque buildup and enamel destruction.

“Natural toothpastes must have ingredients that are not synthetic,” Jack Gruber, D.D.S. says.

Should you buy fluoride or fluoride-free toothpaste?

Fluoride is one of the most common ingredients in toothpaste as it’s said to help prevent tooth decay. However, fluoride is highly toxic if swallowed in large amounts. As an alternative, it has been reported that xylitol is also effective in tooth decay prevention.

Choosing fluoride-free toothpaste means it contains safer and gentler ingredients overall.

Still, keep in mind that whichever toothpaste you select, it should be “slightly abrasive, taste good and do no harm,” Dr. Gruber says.

How to Make Brushing Teeth Fun for Your Kids

Keeping your kids’ teeth and gums clean is essential, but you can’t always count on your kids being willing to brush. Even though brushing only takes a matter of minutes, some kids find it boring or tedious to do. The trick for getting them excited about daily dental care is to make brushing fun, and there are quite a few ways to accomplish this.

Brush to the Beat

Play one of your kid’s favorite songs while they brush, and let them know that they can stop brushing when the music ends. Make this even more fun by letting them do a few very simple dance movies as they brush. You can let your kid pick out the song for their daily brushing routines or let the song be a surprise so they have something to look forward to. Or be a bit more creative and come up with your own silly song.

Reward Them

Rewards work. Tracking their progress and keeping score on their brushing habits can be just the incentive they need to adopt a best practices approach to brushing their teeth. This works equally well for kids who are just learning to brush their teeth and those who know how to but just don’t want to do it. Set up a chart, and keep track of your kid’s progress. Place a sticker on the chart for each successful tooth brushing session. Once your kid earns a certain number of stickers, give them a bigger reward, such as taking them out for ice cream, a special surprise visit from the tooth fairy or a special item they have been asking for. You can gradually do away with the reward chart as your child gets older and/or reaches their goal or even better, stops giving you a hard time about brushing.

A Brush with Greatness

Don’t just grab any toothbrush from a store shelf. Invest in one that provides the most comfort while brushing and leaves kids with a mouthful of teeth that feel extra clean.PeriClean’s patented design is a kid favorite. And you can be assured that the bristle-less brush will not damage tooth enamel or bother their gums. Since kids like to be involved, let them pick out the kind of kids’ toothpaste they want and their floss.

Play Follow the Leader

You’ve probably noticed that your kids like to imitate some of the things you do. You can use this to your advantage when it comes to making brushing fun for kids. Get your own toothbrush ready, and show them how to brush properly. Show them one step at a time, and give them a chance to mimic what you do. This provides them with the opportunity to learn how to brush their teeth by themselves, gives them some control and makes them feel a bit independent.

Abrasive Toothpaste – Are Your Oral Habits Hurting Your Teeth?

You use toothpaste to help clean food particles and plaque from your teeth, similar to washing your hands with soap to remove dirt and bacteria. What is the best kind of toothpaste to get teeth clean?

You may not know that there are ingredients in toothpaste that affect your teeth in surprising ways. Some manufacturers incorporate crystals or grit into their toothpaste to be more abrasive, claiming whitening action and cleaning power. These abrasive agents can cause serious damage to your tooth enamel. The enamel that protects your teeth is as thin as an eggshell and brushing too hard with this type of toothpaste might be harmful to the tooth.

Must all toothpastes be abrasive to work?

There are different ingredients used to make toothpaste and tooth powder, which are regulated by the Food and Drug Administration.  The category of relative dentin abrasivity, or RDA value, is used by the American Dental Association to test and score the abrasion of the toothpaste.

The ADA test utilizes real human teeth that are mounted within a brushing machine and then subjected to a constant stroke speed and pressure for a period of time, using the toothpaste. Based on the test results, the toothpaste is scored between 1 and 250. The ADA considers anything over 100 is considered to be highly abrasive, and recommends scores below 200, as follows:

  • From 0 to 80 = low abrasion
  • 70 to 100 = midrange abrasion
  • 100 to 150 = highly abrasive
  • 150 to 250 = considered harmful to teeth

Very few manufacturers publish their RDA scores on the toothpaste tube or box. Here are some examples of well-known toothpastes, ranked from low to high:

  • Arm and Hammer Dental Care – 35
  • Colgate Regular – 68
  • Sensodyne – 79
  • Crest Regular – 95
  • Colgate Whitening – 124
  • Crest Multicare Whitening – 144
  • Colgate 2-in-1 Tartar Control – 200

Avoid Abrasive Toothpaste – Use an Ultra-Soft Toothbrush

Whether the abrasivity of a toothpaste is high or low, the toothbrush itself is key to the potential for abrasion. Many people either brush too aggressively or they use a standard, hard-bristled toothbrush that can wear away tooth enamel over time. Sometimes, a person will hurriedly brush fast and hard to get the job done sooner. When a highly abrasive toothpaste is used in this scenario, it greatly increases the potential for damage to the tooth enamel over time.

It’s Up to You

You can improve your dental health by being alert to brushing too hard and carefully selecting a less abrasive toothpaste that will not hurt the enamel. Erosion of enamel leads to yellowing of the teeth (the dentin layer becomes visible through thinned enamel), dents in teeth, cracks, chipping, pain, discomfort and sensitivity.

When you clean your teeth with an ultra-soft toothbrush, one with a soft, gel-like textured tip, you will remove the plaque from the surface without scraping the enamel. Your aim is to leave your teeth feeling clean and reduce any abrasion that can cause permanent damage to the enamel and your smile.