Ask your dentist about natural toothpaste: Is it as effective as commercial toothpaste?

As more people become aware of the numerous chemical ingredients in household products, natural products...

As more people become aware of the numerous chemical ingredients in household products, natural products are appearing rapidly on the shelves of our stores. Most household, beauty and health products offer a natural alternative to the commercial brand, and among these are toothpastes. But are they as effective as commercial toothpastes?

Healthy smiles and strong gums are important to your overall health and well-being. So let's take a look at the difference and you can decide, with the advice from an Atlanta-based dentist, which type of toothpaste is perfect for you and your family.

Commercial vs. natural toothpaste

Commercial toothpastes often contain abrasives that may do more harm than good. Silica, calcium carbonate or chalk is often used to help dissipate film on your teeth. Yet, these same ingredients that help remove stains and plaque from teeth may also be highly damaging to the enamel.

Natural toothpastes usually contain gentle alternatives to harsh chemicals. Instead, they use essential oils, herbal extracts and other elements, such as xylitol, a natural sugar substitute that assists in fighting decay-causing bacteria.

Keep an eye out for certain ingredients

Scrutinize the ingredient lists on all toothpaste packaging, whether it is a natural toothpaste or a commercial one; the listings on both packages can be misleading.

Many commercial toothpastes contain sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS), a foaming agent that causes the lather when you brush. SLS is known to cause damage or extremely tiny tears in the soft tissue of your mouth including the gums. Also, keep an eye out for toothpastes containing propylene glycol, used as a solvent but it is an active component in some anti-freezes.

Natural toothpastes can still contain ingredients that cause damage to the mouth, like sodium lauryl sulfate. SLS can be derived from natural ingredients like palm kernel oil and coconut oil, so the packaging can still claim to be a natural toothpaste.

The RDA factor

The main factor in choosing a viable toothpaste for a healthy smile is the RDA or Relative Dentin Abrasion score. An RDA factor of 100 is considered highly abrasive and any score above 150 can be potentially damaging to enamel. Unfortunately, most of the popular toothpastes, especially the pastes with extra whitening agents are above the 100 RDA score.

RDA scores of popular toothpastes

Commercial Brands

  • Arm and Hammer Dental Care 40
  • Aim 80
  • CloseUp 80
  • Crest Vivid White 200
  • Colgate 2-in-1 Tartar Control 200

Natural Brands

  • Squigle Enamel Saver 44
  • Tom's of Maine Sensitive 49
  • Colgate Herbal 110
  • Kiss My Face Tartar Control Unknown

Despite the debate of commercial toothpastes versus natural toothpastes, a study published in the Journal of Periodontology suggests that the mechanics of brushing is more effective against tooth and gum disease than the use of toothpastes.

If you are trying to choose a toothpaste or want to change your type of toothpaste, talk to your Atlanta dentist. The dentist should be able to guide you and provide more information on natural and commercial toothpastes.

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