Natural vs. Traditional Toothpaste: What you need to know

Too many choices can be overwhelming, and that’s what you’ll probably find when you browse the toothpaste aisle. The abundance of natural or organic toothpastes can make the decision even harder. Understanding the difference between traditional toothpaste and the natural variety can help you choose the one that’s best for your family.

‘Natural’ Defined

Including terms, like “natural,” can make anything sound healthier, but what do they really mean? The American Dental Association defines “natural” as being free from artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives. However, the ADA’s Seal of Acceptance Program only tests safety and effectiveness and doesn’t verify that the ingredients in natural toothpastes. Also, the FDA’s lack of guidelines means that just about any toothpaste can call itself natural.

The lack of an ADA seal doesn’t mean the product isn’t effective, because toothpaste makers have to pay to apply for an ADA seal. But, you should be wary of “natural” labels and always ask your dentist about the brand before using it.

Toothpaste’s Top Ingredients

The brand and type of toothpaste doesn’t matter as much as you may think. What does matter is the ingredients. Most toothpastes—regular and natural—contain four things:

  1. Abrasives that scrub plaque
  2. Flavoring in the form of artificial sweeteners
  3. Humectants making it gel-like
  4. Detergents to make it foam up

Traditional toothpastes also contain fluoride and sometimes tartar control ingredients. Most natural toothpastes leave the fluoride out of their ingredient list.

Why Fluoride Matters

Fluoride is a mineral that occurs naturally in water sources, and some communities add it to their water supply. It has been shown to prevent cavities, make tooth enamel stronger, and help remove plaque, which can cause gum disease and tooth decay. The ADA recommends toothpastes with fluoride for adults and children.

Still interested in trying a natural toothpaste? Let’s talk. We can give you a full exam and recommend what’s best for you.

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