For some people, using oral hygiene products with synthetic ingredients is a no-go. Whether they fear these ingredients for some reason or simply don’t like the taste or feel they leave behind, these people are often drawn to products containing more natural ingredients. But while natural products may leave your mouth feeling good, they aren’t always as good for you as you might think. That’s because these products don’t often offer as much protection as the typical over-the-counter products, and some of them contain ingredients that can be downright dangerous to the teeth.
Just ask Dr. Raul Garcia, a dentist based in Miami, Florida. Garcia says natural products may seem like a good idea, but when it comes to one particular ingredient, it’s best to steer clear.
“Charcoal toothpaste is bad for your teeth,” he says. “It not only doesn’t do what it claims, but it can be very abrasive to the tooth enamel, and that’s not fixable.”
That’s because once you damage your tooth enamel, you can’t regrow it. As for charcoal toothpaste not living up to its claims, Garcia says it only removes surface stains – it does not whiten the teeth, despite what some users might think.
Then there’s the issue of fluoride. Many natural toothpastes omit this crucial ingredient. Fluoride helps keep the tooth enamel strong.
“Fluoride gets a bad rap, but it’s so beneficial for keeping teeth strong and healthy,” Garcia says.
But, according to Garcia, mainstream toothpaste is starting to get the message that people are looking for more natural products.
“One major brand has released a natural, vegan line that has no dyes, no artificial flavors and no preservatives or sweeteners. This push for all-natural products is a positive one, because it shows that businesses are listening to consumers,” says Garcia. “At the same time they are not compromising the integrity of their products to do so.”
Garcia says another way companies are showing their commitment to more natural oral health care is through biodegradable or organic toothbrushes, which are often made with recycled ingredients.
“Natural toothbrushes are a great way to keep plastic brushes out of the landfill, and they work well,” he says.
Though natural brushes are a bit more expensive than traditional plastic-bristle brushes, they are worth the investment for eco-conscious consumers.
“Basically, there is a huge market for all-natural dental care, but you have to do your homework about which products are safe and not safe,” Garcia says. “If there’s ever a question, you can definitely ask your dentist what he or she recommends.”