Best Natural Toothpastes For Kids

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Nightshade berries aside, what one person considers safe someone else might not, so it pays to become informed and then make your own decisions.

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Why buy a special toothpaste for kids?

Firstly, many little kids (and some not so little) don’t like the taste of ordinary toothpaste. If they don’t like the taste, or even the smell, you’ll be lucky to get the toothpaste near their mouths.

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Secondly, most children’s toothpastes are formulated differently to take account of a particular trait of small children: if they do like the taste, they will suck it off the brush. Even if they don’t, children aged two or under are rarely able to spit toothpaste out, so will swallow substantial amounts. This can have adverse health effects, including excess fluoride causing damage to the teeth! Because of this, even dental associations now recommend that non-fluoride toothpaste is best for toddlers.

Whether or not to buy a toothpaste containing fluoride for older children is a matter for individual parents to decide. Of the toothpastes reviewed here, only one contains fluoride.

Which natural toothpaste is best?
Which natural toothpaste is best? | Source

Why buy natural toothpastes?

Besides fluoride, there are many other toothpaste ingredients you may not want your child to swallow, so it pays to read labels.

For instance, on Amazon.com there is a toddlers toothpaste that contains the ingredient: FD&C Blue No. 1.

This is what the FDA has to say about FD&C Blue No. 1: “FDA alerted healthcare professionals of several reports of toxicity, including death, associated with the use of FD&C Blue No. 1 (Blue 1) in enteral feeding solutions.”

Enteral feeding is tube feeding (through the nose down to the stomach) so your toddler will not be administered toothpaste or FD&C Blue No. 1 in this way. But, given its toxicity, would you even want it in your little one’s mouth?

Or what about Poloxamer 407, which some scientists now believe can cause raised cholesterol? For you and I this maybe doesn’t matter much in a toothpaste, because we spit most of it out. But, of course, what do toddlers do with toothpaste?

Water is a common ingredient in toothpaste!
Water is a common ingredient in toothpaste! | Source

Ingredients in Natural Toothpastes

Although no two of the toothpastes listed here contain the exact same ingredients, there are some that often crop up. Let’s take a look at the most common.

Calcium Carbonate

This is just chalk! Actually, in toothpastes it is specifically dental grade chalk.

Glycerin or glycerol

Glycerin (or glycerine) is a thick colorless liquid with a sweet taste. Glycerol is a thick sweet liquid. Sound the same? That’s because, without getting too technical, they are pretty much the same. Glycerin keeps moisture levels stable and also acts as a preservative.

Glycerin is derived from fat, and can be made from animal or vegetable fats. In almost all natural toothpastes it will come from vegetable fats, although not all list the source. If you are strict vegetarian or vegan you may want to check with the manufacturer.

Aqua

This is just water!

Some Controversial Ingredients in Natural Toothpastes

The ingredients below all appear in at least one of the toothpastes reviewed, and have all created some argument amongst experts. This doesn’t mean that they are definitely unsafe, but it is wise to treat them with caution. The ingredients are not listed in any particular order regarding safety.

Sodium lauryl sulfate

This is a foaming agent, commonly used in toiletries. It makes the toothpaste spread more easily through the mouth to remove food.

The main concern with sodium lauryl sulfate is that in some people it causes irritation, particularly round the eyes. Sometimes sodium lauryl sulfate is made from petroleum, but it can also come from plant sources: coconut oil or palm kernel oil. The version used in natural toothpastes is made from plant sources. (Palm kernel oil has its own issues, since some rainforest destruction is due to felling trees to plant palms.)

With regard to the safety of plant based sodium lauryl sulfate, a good place to look is at the American website EWG (Environmental Working Group.) This group evaluates the safety of cosmetics and toiletries and is much more rigorous in its testing than the FDA. They class sodium lauryl sulfate as low concern, with moderate concern regarding toxicity in non-reproductive organs. (Overall it receives a rating of 1 – 2, which is low concern.)

My view is that for very young children it would probably be safest to avoid sodium lauryl sulfate, and for older children who can spit toothpaste out, it is probably okay – so long as you can be sure the origin is plant rather than petroleum. But if your child has allergies it may be best avoided.

Sodium Lauroyl Sarcosinate

This ingredient sounds similar to sodium lauryl sulfate, and is used for the same purpose. It is made from caffeine or creatine. Some manufacturers claim in it is a safer alternative, but EWG rate it at 3, which is of moderate concern. It is approved by the FDA under the following conditions: for use in rinse off products such as shampoo or in concentrations of less than 5% in products that are left on. This also leads me to think that of the two, sodium lauryl sulfate is the safer option.

Sodium Hydroxymethylglycinate

This is a preservative that some companies producing natural toiletries use instead of parabens, but other sources consider it no safer. The EU has classed it as safe to 0.5%, and it is commonly used in considerably smaller quantities. Nevertheless, under certain conditions it can release formaldehyde and therefore could be potentially carcinogenic. EWG includes it in a list of preservatives of particular concern, but somewhat confusingly, when listing it individually the site classes it as “medium concern.”

Sorbitol

This is a sugar alcohol, and is often used instead of sugar. Some people say it is safe, because it is not fully absorbed by the body. However, it has a long list of possible side effects, from diarrhea and bloating to dizziness, and breathing problems. The FDA does not recommend this sweetener for children under the age of three. Yet, it appears in 2 of these toothpastes.

Xylitol

Xylitol is not related to sorbitol, and is usually considered to be more natural. Dentists like it because it is not harmful to teeth. But it can also cause stomach pains and diarrhea in relatively small amounts. It’s unlikely your child would consume those amounts by swallowing toothpaste during brushing, but like sorbitol, it’s probably best avoided.

Silica

Silica is basically ground quartz, which is a hard rock. For this reason some people are concerned that it could damage tooth enamel. Others say that because it is used in very small quantities is it safe, and that a hard toothbrush would cause more damage. It is not otherwise harmful to the body. All but one of the brands reviewed here contain silica.

Carrageenan

This ingredient is derived from red seaweed, and acts as a thickener in a similar way to gelatine. Recently there has been some controversy about its use in foodstuffs and toiletries, but this appears to be because there are two types of carrageenan. One type, known as degraded carrageenan, can cause inflammation of the colon and cancer in rats. Studies on humans are so far inconclusive. This type of carrgeenan is also known as poligeenan, and is not generally used in foodstuffs. Undegraded carrageenan has been used in foods for almost a century. It is also known as chondrus crispus, and is considered safe by the FDA.

Fluoride

Interestingly, although the EWG strongly oppose fluoride in tap water, it supports its use in toothpastes. Opinions on fluoride vary widely and I think it is a matter of choosing what feels right to you. If you live in an area where water is fluorinated or your children are very young, its probably best to avoid fluoride in toothpaste.

Esculin

This is an extract of horse chestnut, and protects against tooth decay. It is classed as low hazard by EWG, but I have found several references to its toxicity. It certainly would seem wise to avoid it for anyone with an allergy to horse chestnut.

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The Toothpastes Reviewed

All of the toothpastes clean teeth well, so I do not include that in individual reviews. All come in plastic tubes except Weleda, which is in a metal tube. All have screw caps.

The reviews take into account the following:

The post Best Natural Toothpastes For Kids appeared first on Esta Health Care.

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