Saturday, July 2, 2016

Earth-friendly & non-toxic alternatives for your dental care

Posted by Amanda Villaruel | |
If you're serious about living a more eco-friendly life, then why not start in the bathroom? :-) Conventional toothpastes contain chemicals, that may be harmful not only to your health, but also to the planet. On top of this, it is estimated that between 850 million and over one billion toothbrushes are discarded every year.1

How does cleaning our teeth make a less dirty planet?
Earth-friendly and non-toxic alternatives for your dental care
Earth-friendly and non-toxic alternatives for your dental care


No toothbrush or toothpaste is perfect from an environmental or animal welfare perspective. However, there are products that are almost 100% environmentally friendly :-)

Earth-friendly toothbrushes

The toothbrush I'm using is from Humble Brush, and the handle is made out of 100% biodegradable bamboo and presumably the fastest growing plant on the earth.

The bristles on the other hand is made out of nylon 6, which according to Humble Brush, is "biodegradable over time".2
Humble Brush - handle made from biodegradable bamboo
Humble Brush - handle made from biodegradable bamboo

I've used the toothbrushes from Humble Brush for over a year and have not thought about going back. I enjoy the length and curviness of the handle. The toothbrush does the job and is truly a viable alternative to regular toothbrush. The only downside is that the bristles cover less teeth area than regular toothbrushes, which means that I have to spend two extra minutes brushing my teeth. I've got big teeth, you know ;-)

Humble Brush is not the only one who offers toothbrushes made from bamboo. You should check out Brush with bamboo. The bristles are made from 62% caster oil bean and 38% plastic. The company is pretty straightforward when they write that although the bristle is biobased, it is not biodegradable. Seller honesty always scores with me!

A third company that sells bamboo toothbrushes is the Australian Environmental Toothbrush. According to their site, the bristles are made from BPA-free polymer, which essentially means plastic. The company is also open about the process and explains how they have tried to acquire biodegradable bristles.

Regular toothpastes = chemicals

Before I introduce you to natural toothpastes, here's a short list of chemicals that are normally found in regular toothpastes:
  1. Wonder what makes toothpaste foam? Sodium lauryl sulfate, known as SLS and a common ingredient in toothpastes. It is used for more "effective cleaning", but can cause irritation of the gums and skin at one per cent.3 According to One Green Planet, SLS has been identified as an environmental toxin by The Environmental Working Group (an US-based NGO, in case you wondered).4 

  2. Parabenes - are widely used as preservatives in personal care products, and have a potential tie to breast cancer.5 

  3. Phthalates - act as hormone disruptors, and can cause allergies, damage liver and kidneys and have been linked to asthma.6  Phthalates are basically "plasticizers", used to soften plastic and also act as binding agents.

    In the US, it is not required to list the individual ingredients in cosmetics (toothpaste goes under "cosmetics" and "drugs" 7 ). This means that US-consumers will not be able to tell if a product contains phthalates or not... which is another strong argument for choosing all-natural alternatives!

  4. You've maybe heard about microbeads? Tiny pieces of plastic? Well, certain toothpastes contain microbeads. These micro culprits are normally made out of polyethylene, and sometimes made out of other petrochemical plastics like polypropylene and polystyrene.8

    Microbeads harm the marine environment. Since microbeads are too small to be filtered by wastewater treatment processes, microbeads are found in fish and aquatic habitats.9  A study suggests that these microplastics are killing the fish.


Earth-friendly and non-toxic toothpastes

Growing up with Colgate in the bathroom, it was weird transitioning to a natural toothpaste. Weird, but liberating considering the chemicals you might find in conventional toothpastes.

The past year we have tried four different natural toothpastes. All of them work in their own way, but we have two, maybe three favorites! :-)

1. JASON - SEA FRESH

Jason was the first natural toothpaste I tried, and is a toothpaste that resembles the consistency of regular toothpaste. Good consistency, slightly foaming and my teeth feels clean after each brush. It is one of my favorites! :-)
Earth-friendly alternative: Jason Sea Fresh toothpaste
Earth-friendly alternative: Jason Sea Fresh toothpaste

Contains: Blue green algae, spearmint and parsley extracts, bamboo powder, calcium carbonate, silica etc.

Does not contain: SLS (sodium lauryl sulfate), preservatives, artificial colors or sweeteners, saccharin, propylene glycol and gluten.

Read more about the product here.

2. KISS MY FACE - TRIPLE ACTION

It was my sister who tipped me off about Kiss my face. It is like using regular toothpaste, without the excessive foaming. It has a nice gel consistency, and leaves my clean teeth and my breath fresh. My boyfriend tried it too, and this was the one he enjoyed the most :-)
Earth-friendly alternative: Kiss my face toothpaste
Earth-friendly alternative: Kiss my face toothpaste

Contains: icelandic moss, horse chestnut, tea tree oil, leaf extracts including olive, peppermint oil, xanthan gum, menthol etc. According to their site, the ingredients are gluten-free and vegan-friendly. The ingredients have not been tested on animals.

Does not contain: SLS, parabenes, phthalates, artificial flavors, artificial fragrances.

Click to read more about the product.

3. EARTHPASTE - SPEARMINT

Frankly, it took us a while to get used to Earthpaste. It eventually grew on me ;-)

After the first trial, my boyfriend said bluntly: "It was like taking a handful of mud and stuffing it into my mouth". Apparently, the toothpaste reminded him of a geological field trip where they had to walk around in the mud, to study different minerals. In other words - he didn't like the toothpaste ;-)

I can relate to my boyfriend's first impression, but I continued using the toothpaste. The Earthpaste gives you a refreshing breath and clean teeth. Sure, the muddy-like consistency is far from appealing, but the toothpaste does the job :-) Compared to Weleda toothpaste, I didn't need to apply twice to clean well.
Weleda Calendula toothpaste and Earthpaste
Weleda Calendula toothpaste and Earthpaste

Contains: Food grade Redmond clay, Redmond real salt, spearmint essential oil, menthol and tea tree essential oil and purified water.

Does not contain: SLS and chemicals like titanium. Their website specifies that the toothpaste is 100% natural.

Click to read more about the product.

4. WELEDA - CALENDULA

This was another toothpaste that didn't impress my boyfriend. His first impression was: "It taste like candy. Babe, I can't have candy taste in my toothpaste" :-)

Me on the other hand thought that the toothpaste was alright compared to the other three. Not fantastic, but OK. The Calendula toothpaste left my breath fresh and I don't mind the candy-like taste :-) But it has a thin consistency and I had to use a generous portion to clean my teeth. The teeth were probably clean after the first brush, but it didn't feel like it, so I applied the toothpaste twice. 

Contains: calendula officinalis flower extract (marigold), myrrh (resin from trees), xanthan gum, liquorice root etc. 

Does not contain: surfactants, synthetic fluorides, flavors, colorants and preservatives. Their website specifies that the toothpaste is 100% natural and contains no GMO.

Read more about the product here.



Have you tried any natural toothpastes? Maybe another brand? Please share! :-)


Sources:

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