My readers that follow the Mommy Footprint fan page are aware of my latest chapter of research and have been very helpful with suggesting questions & information on the topic of greener dental care. I’ve been working on research since last Spring and because I’m not a dentist or doctor, I’m having a tough time finding research or a subject matter expert I trust. But like any new journey, I’m going with my instincts but please know I’m writing this series as a parent – not a subject matter expert. With such a small percentage of dentists actually practicing holistic or ‘green’ dentistry it seems to be an uncharted area of parenting. What started with questions about sealant to use on cavities my kids have has become a huge topic of research. The first change I’m making in routine dental care for my family is switching toothpastes. I had seen sites talking about how bad fluoride is for health, but I assumed I didn’t need to worry since all my kids used Oral-B kids toothpaste (made and marketed for kids!). Because there is a Winnie The Pooh character on the front I guess sub-concisely didn’t think any bad ingredients would exist in the tube. I know…I’m slow to the dance. After quickly checking the medicinal ingredients, fluoride is listed. And for those (my husband) who might think I’m paranoid, have you ever wondered why all toothpaste tubes warn you not to swallow & only use a pea size helping of paste? If you read up on fluoride…you’ll actually find very little that it provides health benefits…it’s actually the opposite. I’m a pretty high strung parent and Googling fluoride did nothing to help my confidence in parenting. It is suggested it’s quite toxic in nature & linked to many diseases, bone cancer, brain development, muscle disorders, etc. I have a son that complained of body pains on a regular basis last year so this information really freaked me out. Finding reports on fluoride being one of the biggest medical frauds in medicine is not a good feeling when your children have always used it in their toothpaste.
If you look closely at your bottle of traditional toothpaste you’ll notice warnings not to swallow toothpaste & only use a pea sized amount. Yet commercials encourage these sorts of visuals for toothpaste measurements (image below)!
It’s all enough for me – I’ve pulled the traditional toothpaste from our house & made the following changes. I’ve been trying different brands of organic toothpaste with the kids & the hardest part is finding a brand that tastes good to them. I’ve also learned of an ingredient I want in my toothpaste called xylitol because it’s known to strengthen teeth in lieu of fluoride. My biggest concern of not using fluoriated toothpaste anymore is suddenly having a huge cavity problem on my hands because I’ve also cancelled fluoride treatments at our dental checkups & checked with my city to find out if our drinking water contains fluoride (it doesn’t). So without any fluoride will my children’s teeth be okay?
After talking with a super helpful person at Planet Organic, I learned about xylitol and the benefits of this natural sweetener that is naturally occurring in many of the foods we eat. Xylitol gum or mints you can chew after each meal stops acid attacks that would otherwise cause cavities. For more information on this process click here. For people reading this that are very prone to cavities or have weak teeth it’s not a good idea to go crazy with xylitol – 6 to 10 g is enough. I’ve read that too much will give you diarrhea & this sweetener is not good for animals.
How else to strengthen kids teeth if you replace fluoride? Brushing teeth, flossing teeth, extra calcium for teeth & bones, xylitol in toothpaste, xylitol brands of chewing gum/mints form for after meals, and overall diet. These are the steps I’m taking to be proactively removing fluoride from my children’s bodies, hopefully without causing future problem with cavities…but after researching fluoride…I’m happy with having xylitol in my arsenal to help keep their teeth stronger.
What brands of natural toothpaste am I currently using? I like Grants made in Australia for myself. The tea tree oil ingredient gives a refreshing taste & the mint oil is similar to the traditional toothpaste ‘taste’ I’m used to. My kids are not huge fans. I think it’s important to support the Canadian made Green Beaver brand too. I would have purchased it, but I didn’t see xylitol listed as an ingredient on the packaging. The Green Beaver website and Gwen from Nayla Naturals confirms that Green Beaver toothpaste does contain xylitol so I will buy this brand next – hopefully they have a more ‘kid friendly’ tasting flavor. Another thing I like about the Green Beaver website is their category called “Ingredients to Avoid” and why. You will find many of the ingredients to avoid if you read the ingredients on the toothpaste you are using right now: sodium lauryl sulfate for one. Read why here and check out this handy section of their site. So with toothpaste well in hand, next up is to try the xylitol mints & gum I found (they are expensive) at Planet Organic for some extra help with cavity prevention after meals. I know my kids will happily oblige popping a goodie after meals.
The next article on greener dental care will be what I’ve learned about dental sealants. Children get cavities – what options are there for sealing a cavity?