Why Natural Toothpaste is Good for You and the Environment
Sunday, 26 July 2020 | Nicola Wood & Ken Shaw
Why Zero-Waste Toothpaste Is Better For The Environment
Brushing your teeth is a mundane but essential daily task. So mundane that, beyond choosing a toothbrush and toothpaste that meet your needs, you probably don't give the task much thought. When you're running late because your teenager's hogging the bathroom, there isn't really time for a toothpaste-related existential crisis.
However, if your health is a priority, and you want to live more mindfully, you should take a long, hard look at your choice of oral care products. That seemingly innocent tube of minty-fresh gel hides a dirty secret that can negatively impact your health and that of the planet. Here's why ditching the commercial toothpaste tubes for the eco-conscious stuff is a smart move.
The Pros and Cons of Regular Toothpaste
Regular, commercial toothpaste does have its advantages: it's easy to use, it's a convenient and familiar option, and you can pick it up relatively cheaply during your weekly shop. All sounds harmless enough, right? So what's the issue?
The problem with traditional toothpaste is that most formulas contain toxic chemicals and even plastic! Each time you brush, the chemicals and plastic get washed down the drain into lakes and oceans, where they poison wildlife. Take a look at this horror-show of ingredients:
- Triclosan: a chemical antibacterial agent widely used in toothpaste and other personal care products. Known to inhibit marine animals' growth and hormones
- SLS (sodium lauryl sulfate): the #1 bad guy in terms of human health. This foaming agent has links to many problems including skin irritation
- Microbeads (microplastics): included in many toothpaste formulas to remove stains and polish teeth. When marine animals ingest microbeads, they not only kill wildlife but can also end up on our plates via seafood!
Regular tubes of toothpaste sometimes contain unsustainable palm oil or animal products, which is not ideal for an eco-conscious vegan toothpaste; this is irrespective if it's a fluoride toothpaste or fluoride-free. The formula may have been through animal testing; something that large, international corporations still do, although a banned practice in the UK.
Finally, commercial toothpaste tends to come in a plastic tube with a plastic lid. Neither is reusable, and the different types of plastic often can't be recycled. Ugh.
The Pros of Natural Organic Toothpastes
The main advantage of natural toothpaste is two-fold: it's far better for your health and the environment. The ingredients list is often shorter and more convenient to understand; there are no chemicals in natural, eco-friendly formulas.
Natural toothpaste often tastes nicer too, as it contains only natural ingredients and doesn't have the synthetically sweet flavour of commercial toothpaste. Some natural toothpaste, like Denttabs, comes in toothpaste tablets that you chew to create a paste for brushing. It is also a whitening toothpaste as it contains baking soda.
Some are powders that you mix with water and some are similar to regular toothpaste but without the chemical nasties. These products often come in biodegradable packaging, glass jars or recyclable containers like a cardboard box.
It's even possible to make your own natural toothpaste or to use a product already on your shelf. For instance, some of The Natural French Soap Company's shampoo bars can double as toothpaste in a pinch or when you're travelling! They are made from organic ingredients and enriched with natural essential oils.
That means you can nail your buy-less-waste-nothing goals and save yourself some cash. And if you're striving for a 100%-eco oral care routine, choose a natural bamboo toothbrush; we have sizes for adults and children at The Natural French Soap Company.
The Cons of Natural Toothpaste
With all those benefits, you may be wondering if there are any downsides to using natural toothpaste. Admittedly, eco toothpaste can sometimes be more expensive, and it is harder to find in regular shops. Also, depending on which type you choose (powder, tablets, or other) you may find it fiddly to use or dislike the texture.
Natural Toothpaste Vs Regular
Using regular toothpaste is one of those mindless habits we can't help but perpetuate. But switching to natural toothpaste will make you feel so much better, health-wise and morals-wise! You'll at least know that your oral hygiene isn't harming the planet, but still helping to fight tooth decay.
Like every aspect of your eco-lifestyle, changing your toothpaste is about finding the perfect balance. If you're willing to invest a little time and money into trying natural zero waste, plastic-free toothpaste, the pros will outweigh the cons. You can whiten teeth, protect your body, your tooth enamel and the environment!
Tell us in the comments below what you use as a toothpaste. Have you considered making the switch to a zero-waste, more eco-friendly option?
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