Everybody has heard about fluoride in commercial toothpaste, but recent research has revealed that there is another unsavory chemical lurking in it. And, believe it or not, this chemical might be even more dangerous than the dreaded fluoride for one specific reason: it has been linked to cancer.
Toothpaste Health Risks
The chemical in question can be found in only one major toothpaste brand, and it goes by the name of triclosan. Although Colgate is the only major toothpaste brand known to use triclosan, it is one of the most mainstream toothpastes used by Americans and is exposing many of them to the health risks of triclosan. It is added to the toothpaste to supposedly reduce the risk of bacterial infection, however, studies have found that the health risks associated with it may outweigh any benefits that it can provide.
Several animal studies conducted on triclosan revealed that it has a major affect on the hormone balance of mammals. This means that it has an impact on male and female hormones such as testosterone and estrogen as well as our thyroid system.
Disrupting the balance of certain hormones, specifically estrogen, has been linked to various diseases, most notably breast cancer. This is because breast cancer cells are generally receptive to estrogen, meaning that having an excess amount of estrogen can cause them to grow. If triclosan exposure really does increase the amount of estrogen in our bodies, which many studies show that it is a reasonable possibility, then it is safe to conclude that exposure to triclosan can greatly increase our risk of breast cancer.
Aside from being linked to cancer, triclosan’s antimicrobial properties have also caused experts to worry about the possibility of “super-bugs”. These are bacterial strains that have become resistant to triclosan’s antimicrobial properties and will eventually spread without any form of medication able to stop it.
Here are some natural toothpaste options that will help you avoid harmful, commercial pastes while still keeping your teeth white and clean!
Baking Soda and Hydrogen Peroxide
Baking soda and hydrogen peroxide both have natural whitening and antimicrobial properties. To use them, all you have to do is mix them together and apply them to your toothbrush the same way you would any normal toothpaste.
In order to properly make baking soda-hydrogen peroxide toothpaste, make sure to use less baking soda than hydrogen peroxide. Mix about two tablespoons of hydrogen peroxide with one tablespoon of baking soda. Make sure that it isn’t gritty. After brushing with the paste, let it sit on your teeth for about a minute to get the full whitening effects of both ingredients.
Coconut Oil and Peppermint Leaf
Coconut oil is another great, all-natural bacteria killer. Although you can use coconut oil on its own, add peppermint leaf for that distinctive fresh, minty flavor. Simply mash up some peppermint leaf (mixing in peppermint extract instead works as well) and brush your teeth with the mixture.
Unlike other antibacterials, coconut oil is not an immediate solution, instead, it breaks down bacteria and plaque over time. This means that it may take prolonged use before you notice any noticeable effects.