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Thursday, 30 June 2011

Do we really need fluoride in our toothpaste?

There is so much controversy over whether we really need fluoride in our toothpaste to promote oral hygiene. We are all led to believe that the role of fluoride in toothpaste is to prevent dental caries (tooth decay) and help rebuild the tooth surface. But many people have not thought about whether fluoride has adverse effects and whether it is really needed in our toothpastes. Would we be better off without it?

So what is fluoride? 
Fluoride is a fluorine ion, which is a gas that can be bonded with other substances to form compounds such as calcium fluoride. Fluoride is found everywhere. It is a naturally occurring substance found on the earth's crust. It is found in small amounts in our water supplies, plants and food. In our toothpaste, fluoride are in higher concentrations than what is found in nature and are in various forms such as sodium fluoride, stannous fluoride, olaflur (organic salt of fluoride), and sodium monofluorophosphate. Although fluoride is a naturally occurring substance, there is also some toxicity associated with this substance if ingested. For example, if you swallow 2-5 grams of sodium fluoride you can die from it. Similarly, if a child ingests a typical tube of toothpaste in the one go, it would be enough to cause death. Toothpaste is not made for consumption though, but if you are concerned about the toxic effects of fluoride toothpaste, it is best to use a fluoride-free natural toothpaste. 

What role does fluoride play in toothpaste?
Fluoride acts as an enzyme inhibitor to prevent dental caries by killing those germs in your mouth. But there are non-toxic alternatives that does the same thing. Furthermore, healthy teeth and gums are associated with your diet and oral hygiene, not whether toothpaste has fluoride or not. 

What's the difference between commercial vs natural toothpaste?

Commercial toothpaste comprises of 24-42% of water and has three major components: abrasives, fluoride, and detergents. A typical toothpaste constitutes at least 50% of abrasives to help remove plaque and prevent cavities or gum disease. The most common detergent used in toothpastes for effective cleansing of teeth is sodium lauryl sulfate. This ingredient is also another nasty ingredient found in many personal care products such as shampoos and shower gels. 

Natural toothpaste are good alternatives to commercial ones because they are made with natural ingredients and may also include organic ingredients as well. They are better for your health and also the environment. There is a demand for natural and organic alternative toothpaste as consumers are becoming more aware of nasty ingredients found in commercial toothpaste. Salt and baking soda are some of the most common ingredients found in natural toothpaste. Essential oils may also be included in the toothpaste as well. 

Is baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) abrasive?
Baking soda is actually the least abrasive material for cleaning teeth. That is why it is always been considered such a healthy choice in oral care. By dissolving into fine particles, baking soda gets into areas deep between teeth and along the gum line that other toothpastes cannot reach. It also penetrates into the tiny crevices in tooth enamel to dissolve intrinsic stains. Baking soda in toothpaste not only has ample scientific support, it has a proven track record. Today, dental professionals are realising that baking soda remains a near-perfect ingredient for toothpaste because of its biological compatibility, ubiquitous nature and especially its low abrasivity.

Other benefits of baking soda?
Baking soda is effective in removing plaque and stains and gives you whiter, brighter teeth. It is also a natural buffer and maintains the mouths natural pH even after brushing. It protects against bad breath as well.

What kills the germs in my mouth?
Sea salt and essential oils have natural anti-bacterial properties that will effectively kill the bacteria in your mouth.

Some people make their own natural toothpastes, which is pretty easy to make with a bit of water, baking soda, sea salt, and essential oils. But if you don't like to make your own, you can purchase Miessence Toothpastes. They have three different flavours available: Mint, Lemon, and Anise. They also have other oral care products such as mouth wash and breath spray. Take a look now!

1 comment:

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