Ooh, toothpaste and dental floss…what a sexy blog topic, huh? 😉 I wanted to share some information about dental products, though, because — like so many things in our lives that we haven’t thought twice about — it might be worth taking a look at what’s IN the products you’re using to keep your mouth healthy so you can potentially make some better choices.
I also just went to the dentist yesterday (it was great to squeeze in my appointment before Baby Boy arrives!), so this topic is especially top of mind for me. (I got a great report and was told I have beautiful teeth. Yay!)
(A little side note here: Moving toward a healthier place with products and habits can be a daunting task, and it does NOT happen overnight. Our family has been taking baby steps over the past several years to get to a healthier point, and there’s still plenty left to “clean up.” A good mindset to have is to know you don’t have to change everything all at once, and instead it can be helpful to replace products as you naturally run out of them with safer options. Doing your research before those products run out makes the transition even easier.)
In this post, I wanted to share the dental products I use, and why I switched from some of the more conventional options to these. I’d love to hear from you about what you enjoy using to keep your pearly whites healthy, too!:
1) Dental Floss
Who knew dental floss might potentially be unsafe? (I know — it feels like yet ANOTHER thing to add to the list of things to clean up in your life.) But I have good news for you: I’ve discovered a brand of dental floss that’s not only safer than traditional flosses, it also MAKES ME WANT TO FLOSS REGULARLY. (Did you just roll your eyes? I don’t blame you, but I promise it’s true. Ask Kevin and he’ll tell you I rave about how amazing this floss is. And, okay, he will often give me a slight eye roll in response to my floss enthusiasm.)
See, the thing about traditional flosses is that many of them contain PFAS (the same stuff that’s used in Teflon to make pans non-stick, which we now know to avoid because PFAS has been linked to increased risk of health issues like cancer and thyroid issues) to help them glide easily between your teeth. There are several non-toxic floss options available now that don’t include PFAS, though, including Cocofloss, which is what I use. (The mint flavor is my go-to!) Plus, there are floss options now that are more sustainable environmentally. (Cocofloss can be refilled so you don’t have to buy a new container all the time!) Oh, and you can shop Cocofloss on Amazon if you prefer to use that channel.
2) Tongue Scraping
This sounds like such a hippie dippy thing to do, but I really enjoy it — and there’s been research done showing that it has oral health benefits including the removal of bacteria that can cause bad breath and tooth decay. It might even help improve your sense of taste, which is pretty cool. (You can grab a tongue scraper — the same one I use — in a two pack for just $5 on Amazon. His and hers Valentine’s Day gift idea for you and your main squeeze, perhaps…? 🤣)
There are a couple of schools of thought when it comes to whether or not to include fluoride in your toothpaste or not, but fluoride aside there are other ingredients to be aware of in traditional toothpaste. For years, I used Colgate Total toothpaste, for example, and it rates a 5 on Environmental Working Group (EWG) when measured for ingredient safety. (On their scale, 1 is the best and 10 is the most unsafe, and it’s interesting to dig into each EWG rating to see which ingredients they’ve flagged to make their assessment.) Common questionable ingredients found in toothpaste include propylene glycol (also an ingredient in antifreeze), triclosan (potentially tied to thyroid hormone issues), and sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS — an irritant for some). If you’re using a fluoride-free toothpaste, a good ingredient to look for is xylitol, which helps to prevent cavities by fighting bacteria growth in your mouth.
For kids, it’s often recommended to go with a fluoride-free toothpaste since it’s not great to swallow toothpaste with fluoride and kiddos often love eating their toothpaste. We love the Hello kids’ toothpaste for Maggie. It rates a 3 on EWG solely due to the fact that its watermelon flavor is listed as “natural flavor” and the brand doesn’t disclose what’s actually in that flavoring. (That can always be tricky because it might be just fine, or it might be slightly questionable. In this case, I’ve done my research and trust this company to use good ingredients in their flavoring.)
As for me, I like using David’s Toothpaste (their Peppermint flavor is wonderful). The toothpaste is free of SLS, fluoride (it contains xylitol instead — yay!), triclosan, propylene glycol, parabens, and more. I also appreciate that their packaging is thoughtfully sustainable. The toothpaste comes in a recyclable aluminum tube and also comes with a metal tube key so you can squeeze every last bit out of your tube.
One last note that feels appropriate to include here: From a toothbrush standpoint, Kevin and I LOVE using Sonicare electric toothbrushes. Kevin loves to tell the story about going to a recent dental appointment and having the hygienist ask him if he was using a Sonicare. She says she can always tell when patients use them because they’re the best of the best at keeping teeth clean and healthy.
Have you made some changes in your dental health products after learning more about safer options? (If so, I’d love to hear about brands you’ve discovered and loved!) Does this make you consider looking into different products if you’re using more traditional ones?