I was shopping at Trader Joe’s the other day and saw that they had a number of natural toothpastes to choose from so I decided to pick one up. They had both Tom’s and a Trader Joe’s brand. I opted for the Trader Joe’s brand and picked this one:
Haven’t tried it yet but honestly, I grabbed it without much thought and without doing my homework first. So I started looking at the label a little closer when I got home. Here are some of the things it says:
- Contains no artificial sweeteners. Ya! one of my goals with a natural toothpaste!
- No Sodium Laurel Sulfate Sweet! Also on my list!
- No Propylene Glycol Cool – according to EWG’s Skin Deep Cosmetics Database: “Propylene glycol is a small organic alcohol commonly used as a skin conditioning agent. It has been associated with irritant and allergic contact dermatitis as well as contact urticaria in humans; these sensitization effects can be manifested at propylene glycol concentrations as low as 2%.”
- Active Ingredient: Sodium Monofluorophosphate .76% – anticavity toothpaste This doesn’t sound very natural but it’s basically fluoride. I think for now I’m ok with using a fluoride toothpaste for me and my husband. Baby’s toothpaste is fluoride free.
- Inactive ingredients: Calcium Carbonate, Glycerin, water, Sodium Bicarbonate, Sodium Stearoyl Lactylate, Hydrated Silica, Menta Piperita (Peppermint) oil, Sodium Cocoyl Glutamate, Chrondos Crispus (Carrageenan).
- All Natural. No animal testing. No animal products. I like that.
I’m confused though. I don’t understand the definition of “natural.” So I thought I’d break down some of these ingredients (and PLEASE take this with a grain of salt. I did this research at a very surface level. I’m no expert with this type of thing):
- Sodium Monofluorophosphate: (MFP) – inorganic compound that is a salt, that is believed to protect tooth enamel from cavity causing bacteria
- Calcium Carbonate – commonly found in rocks, and is the main component of egg shells, pearls, snails. According to wikipedia, the majority of calcium carbonate used is extracted by mining or quarrying
- Glycerin – This one confused me somewhat. Again, according to wikipedia, glycerol is largely created as a by-product of soap making. I don’t understand how this is natural.
- Sodium Bicarbonate – Baking soda…I’ve often wondered why this is considered natural. Apparently it is commonly extracted from the ashes of many plants but is synthetically produced in large quantities for industry. I wonder where the sodium bicarbonate in my toothpaste came from..
- Sodium Stearoyl Lactylate – A foaming agent and sugar replacer that is non-toxic, biodegradable and safe. But I don’t see how it’s natural either. My gut tells me it’s better than SLS and artificial sweeteners, though.
- Hydrated Silica – Found in opal. Used as an abrasive to clean away plaque.
- Peppermint OIl – Not going to research this one 🙂
- Sodium Cocoyl Glutamate – Extremely mild, gently sudsing surfactant derived from the amino acid glutamic acid and coconut fatty acid
- Chrondos Crispus – Irish Algae used as a thickening agent.
Man a few minutes of googling and you learn a lot. So I’m not 100% satisfied that it’s ALL NATURAL but I’ve drank the Kool-Aid for now and do think it’s better for me than my usual Colgate or Crest. Aww…I’ve been a Crest kid my whole life. Times are a-changing. In case you’re wondering, here’s what’s in the Colgate tube in my cabinet:
- Active Ingredients: Potassium Nitrate, Sodium Fluoride
- Inactive Ingredients: water, hydrated Silica, glycerin, sorbitol, PEG-12, PVM/MA copolymer, sodium laurel sulfate, flavor, poloxamer 407, trisodium phosphate, sodium hydroxide, cellulose gum, sodium saccharine, xanthan gum, titanium dioxide
Some of the same suspects but way more chemicals, especially in the inactive ingredients. I’m glad I don’t swallow too much of this stuff.