Questions about toothpaste come up often, but unfortunately there are currently NO perfect options that I know of. I’m not going to get into why, but so many toothpaste ingredients (even “natural” ones) are problematic for toxicity, heavy metals, or possible negative effects on teeth: Silica, glycerin, xylitol, flavor, xanthan gum, titanium dioxide, calcium, bentonite clay, propandiol, artificial colors and flavors, SLS, triclosan, essential oils, Hydroxyapatite, etc.
Kids Toothbrush: Radius: Amazon Affiliate link: https://amzn.to/3tWqbNC
Adult and Kids Toothbrushs: Quip is a brand to look into. At the least, they don’t use dye on their bristles.
Floss: Radius Amazon affiliate link: https://amzn.to/3ogXKXl or Desert Essence. I greatly prefer Radius. Almost all other brands contain PFAS chemicals. To make it easier with kids, you can get reusable floss pick devices to use with regular floss (Affiliates link: https://amzn.to/3CXjptn).
Flossing the back teeth at night is most important.
Toothpaste: This was one of the deepest and darkest rabbit holes to research, because there was no light at the end of the tunnel; no perfect options. All toothpastes contain at least one ingredient that some people think is problematic: SLS, glycerin, xylitol, silica, bentonite (has lead), calcium carbonate (has lead), coral (lead risk), essential oils, nano silver, Hydroxyapatite, and not to mention, fluoride (a neurotoxin that may not be very effective for cavity prevention and may affect children’s development or IQ).
Toothpaste for adults: I decided to just use or nothing (just wet the brush with water), or sometimes use plain baking soda. Some say it’s too abrasive, but I read a compelling source that actually compared abrasiveness of compounds and found it was safe for teeth. My dentist also approves and says my enamel is great, even when I used to brush with baking soda every day. My husband uses Dr. Bronners, which is one of the best options, yet doesn’t seem “too hippie” to him.
Toothpaste for kids: For kids up until age 4, no toothpaste is needed; just water is fine. You can also try straight coconut oil, especially for kids who won’t like the taste of baking soda. A successful idea I had is to put it into a “Squeezey Snacker” silicone squeeze bottle to make it easier to put on a toothbrush (as long as it doesn’t get too cold and hardened). Amazon affiliate link: https://amzn.to/3tV1m4I.
For ready made kid toothpastes, I used Jack n Jill for a while for my toddler because it doesn’t have ingredients risky for lead, which was my foremost concern because at her age, she ended up swallowing most of it. They have great flavors. It does contain citric acid that the company says is derived from corn. I’d still prefer no citric acid (because it’s usually derived from mold cultures). If she would use just coconut oil I would do that, but she doesn’t like it. I have since switched back to just water. What I might try is making a DIY toothpaste with coconut oil, baking soda, and some kind of flavoring… maybe vanilla or monk fruit ?
Titanium dioxide is another ingredient sometimes seen in toothpaste. It is most dangerous when inhaled, so isn’t as dangerous when bound in a product like toothpaste. Still isn’t great to swallow more than small bits, so personally I wouldn’t feel good using for a small child. But if your child spits and rinses thoroughly you might consider it. I almost considered Hello brand until I realized some of them contain this ingredient.
For more information about lead in toothpaste or in general, check out Lead Safe Mama and/ or the NBM group, links all listed in my blog home page.
Nutrition for Healthy Teeth
Remember that teeth are alive and part of the body, which needs to be supported by good nutrition from the inside out. Check out this article about nutrition for teeth, including why milk may not be great. Sugar is definitely not good for teeth.
Bonus Brushing Tips (if you’re having difficulty)
-Play a short video on your phone or tablet about teeth brushing (or just a fun video) while you brush. We are a low-screentime house, but this was a game changer and had the additional benefit of making our daughter actually be excited and willing to start bedtime instead of fighting it.
-Try One of those silicone brushes that goes on your finger (but watch out for biting).
-Give the child a toothbrush to hold, help use on herself, or use on you.
-Try a toothpaste that tastes good, such as Jack and Jill.
-Has daddy tried? For some reason my son is awesome… when my husband does it.
-Try a different position. Standing, sitting, laying in your lap.
Bonus Dentist Visit Tip
Instead of that aspartame tasting tooth polish, you can ask for plain pumice. Doesn’t taste like anything and is the same stuff without added flavor or color. Or, the polisher tool can still work with just water. That’s what I do for my kids, because they don’t like the taste of the paste and I don’t like the ingredients.
Stay tuned for teeth whitening tips!
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