Sustainable Smile with Natural Dental Care

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We all know that taking care of our teeth is very important. What makes a health and sustainable smile? Let’s consider tooth brushes, their impact on our environment, and our toothpaste.

The Toothbrush: Did you know that in the US every year some 450 million plastic toothbrushes make their way to landfills?. Most of those toothbrushes will not biodegrade in our’s, or our children’s, children’s lifetime.  Because of that, I was eager to try a new toothbrush from World Centric which is made from a plant based resin called Ingeo  and NOT petroleum. And it is certified compostable by the Biodegradable Products Institute (BPI). Not only is it gentler on the planet as a waste product, but Ingeo uses less energy to produce these toothbrushes  than it’s petroleum based plastic counterpart. Because of how landfills work it won’t properly biodegrade in the landfill, so if you don’t have access to commercial composting facility in your area, World Centric will even provide a prepaid envelope to return your toothbrush and case and they’ll do it for you. How’s that for easy? They haven’t perfected biodegradable bristles, but their working on it. In the meantime, they’ve designed the brush so it can be easily broken off at the bristle bit so it can be disposed of separately. You can find the toothbrush in many health food stores and Whole Foods Markets or find it online at: www.worldcentric.org

I’ve been using one now for the last month. It does a fine job of cleaning up my teeth and I like the shape.  Have you looked in the toothbrush isle in the grocery or pharmacy lately? Yikes! It seems like they want you to compete to have the biggest and the brightest toothbrush. How are some of those colors made? The World Centric toothbrush has a wide enough handle for good control but not so heavy that you feel compelled to skip the gym.

World Centric is committed to developing sustainable alternatives to plastics and Styrofoam by making products made from annually renewable plants including sugarcane and wheat fiber, which are by-products of the agricultural industry. And here’s the best part, they donate a full 25% of the company profits to grassroots social and environmental organizations. Pretty dang cool, if you ask me.

Toothpaste: Is your toothpaste destructive to your tooth structure? You might be surprised. On my last visit to my dentist, Dr. Scaff, I asked about the space that seems to be growing between my teeth and my gums. Can you say “long in the tooth?” He told me about a recent study that illustrates how most of the toothpastes people have been using is causing the problem. Even some of the “natural” choices in toothpaste are too abrasive for our teeth and are wearing away the enamel and dentin. I was quite surprised when I saw the list. Basically he said, try some on your finger, if it feels abrasive, it is abrasive. Stop using abrasive toothpaste. Oh and have you seen the volume of toothpaste choices in the grocery or pharmacy? Double Yikes!!

There is an index for abrasiveness in toothpaste called the RDA index. The higher the number, but more abrasive the toothpaste.

Abrasivity of common toothpastes:

RDA – Dentifrice brand and variety
04 ADA reference toothbrush and plain water
07 plain baking soda
08 Arm & Hammer Tooth Powder
30 Elmex Sensitive Plus
35 Arm & Hammer Dental Care
42 Arm & Hammer Advance White Baking Soda Peroxide
44 Squigle Enamel Saver
48 Arm & Hammer Dental Care Sensitive
49 Arm & Hammer Peroxicare Tartar Control
49 Tom’s of Maine Sensitive (given as 40′s)
52 Arm & Hammer Peroxicare Regular
53 Rembrandt Original (“RDA”)
54 Arm & Hammer Dental Care PM Bold Mint
57 Tom’s of Maine Children’s, Wintermint (given as mid-50′s)
62 Supersmile
63 Rembrandt Mint (“Hefferren RDA”)
68 Colgate Regular
70 Colgate Total
70 Arm & Hammer Advance White Sensitive
70 Colgate 2-in-1 Fresh Mint (given as 50-70)
79 Sensodyne
80 AIM
80 Close-Up
83 Colgate Sensitive Maximum Strength
91 Aquafresh Sensitive
93 Tom’s of Maine Regular (given as high 80′s low 90′s)
94 Rembrandt Plus
94 Plus White
95 Crest Regular (possibly 99)
101 Natural White
103 Mentadent
103 Arm & Hammer Sensation
104 Sensodyne Extra Whitening
106 Colgate Platinum
106 Arm & Hammer Advance White Paste
107 Crest Sensitivity Protection
110 Colgate Herbal
110 Amway Glister (given as upper bound)
113 Aquafresh Whitening
117 Arm & Hammer Advance White Gel
117 Arm & Hammer Sensation Tartar Control
120 Close-Up with Baking Soda (canadian)
124 Colgate Whitening
130 Crest Extra Whitening
133 Ultra brite
144 Crest MultiCare Whitening
145 Ultra brite Advanced Whitening Formula
150 Pepsodent (given as upper bound)
165 Colgate Tartar Control (given as 155-165)
168 Arm & Hammer Dental Care PM Fresh Mint
175 Colgate Luminous (given as 150-200)
200 Colgate 2-in-1 Tartar Control/Whitening or Icy Blast/Whitening (given as 190-200)
200 FDA recommended limit
250 ADA recommended limit

My dentist recommends NOT using toothpaste at all. Water is best or dipping your toothbrush in mouthwash. If you have to use toothpaste, pick one that is valued at 45 or less and only use a tiny bit. 

I hate to say it but I grew up on Colgate and Crest. Fortunately I have been using lower numbers for some of my adult years, but I am now taking Dr. Scaff’s advice and NOT using toothpaste.

image of happy tooth via shutterstock
image of toothpaste via shutterstock

About the author / 

green diva lisa
lisa@thegreendivas.com'

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