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Originally published December 8 2007

Beyond Non-Toxic Toothpaste: Tips for Healthy Teeth

by Lynn Berry

(NaturalNews) Fluoride and triclosan are toxic ingredients that are contained in most commonly used toothpastes ( If we want to avoid these products, what toothpastes help protect our teeth from cavities and are also healthy for us? Perhaps we should take a leaf out of the papyrus manuscripts of the Egyptians where the earliest reference to a toothpaste was found from the 4th century AD ( . The toothpaste consisted of a mixture of salt, pepper, mint leaves and orris.

Orris is the root of a species of iris. Used in perfume, talc, gin, and ras el hanout (a middle eastern spice mixture), it is used to add flavour to toothpaste. Some non-toxic, natural toothpastes today use orris. These ingredients are preferable to the reputed use of human urine by the Romans, and the British use of pulverised brick and chalk, in toothpastes.

Bicarbonate of soda (BoS) or baking soda, the main raising agent in baking powder, has a history of use in cleaning teeth; it was used in tooth-powders around the 18th century. BoS is made from soda ash which is mined from Trona ore. BoS can also be produced synthetically by a process called the Solvay method but the chemicals used are pollutants that lead to waste disposal problems. So companies are tending toward basing the production of BoS on trona mining.

Towards the end of the 19th century, tooth-powders using BoS were mass produced; and then in 1982, Dr. William Sheffield introduced toothpaste in a collapsible tube. Sheffield's company later became Colgate.

As BoS helps in regulating pH levels (levels of alkalinity and acidity) it has versatile uses in cleaning, deodorising, and cooking. It can also be used to whiten teeth.

A big factor in the health of our teeth is the health of our insides. Even the best toothpaste or zealous brushing will not protect against decay if our diet is high in refined foods, particularly sugar and flour. Refined foods lead to higher acidic levels in our bodies which isn't good for teeth or gums, nor for calcium absorption and healthy bones.

Research into the dental health of people from different cultures (typically primitive cultures isolated from modernisation) with good teeth, free from decay, found that their diet was much higher in vitamins and minerals - particularly calcium and vitamins A and D. Vitamins A and C are needed for the absorption of calcium, and calcium is an important element in our teeth. Sea vegetables are rich in calcium and most green plants have good amounts of chlorophyll, phosphorous, vitamins A and C, all of which are needed for calcium absorption.

What this means for teeth is that chlorophyll reportedly helps build enamel and prevents tooth decay, and vitamin C helps reduce plaque from building up.

According to Carla Oates, an expert on natural beauty, we also need to encourage healthy bacteria to live in our mouth to prevent harmful bacteria from getting at our teeth. Yogurts and lacto-fermented vegetables are good for this. Lacto-fermented vegetables are vegetables fermented in a salty brine and include the well known kimchee (Korean cabbage dish), pickles, and sauerkraut; but most vegetables can be fermented in this way, see ( for recipes. Oates also suggests washing our mouth with a mixture of probiotic powder and water to prevent plaque build up.

Robert Gammal of Bio Compatible Dentistry says that to clean teeth we need to remove plaque from the surface which is easily done using a toothbrush. To assist in removing plaque with the brush, we can use ingredients such as BoS.

If you've been conditioned into using fluoride toothpastes with flavouring and BoS doesn't do it for you, try combining BoS with a little spearmint or peppermint essential oil. Otherwise, try the many natural toothpastes on the market including Weleda and Tea Tree.

If a toothbrush is not there when you need one, buy some strawberries and rub them against your teeth and gums. You can actually swallow these.

Top tips for teeth health

1) eat lots of sea and green vegetables

2) reduce or eliminate sugar and other refined foods

3) eat yogurts and lacto-fermented vegetables

4) brush your teeth

About the author

Lynn Berry is passionate about personal development, natural health care, justice and spirituality. She has a website at

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