Warning: Why You Should Stay Away From Most Children’s Toothpaste

WARNING! Why You Should Stay Away From Most Children's Toothpastes | GrowingUpHerbal.com -- Just because a toothpaste is for children doesn't mean it's good for their teeth or their health. Learn more here.

Ever since I was pregnant with my first son, I realized that there were certain things I did not want to use on him… certain skincare and cosmetic products that I knew were supposedly bad. I didn’t really know why. I just knew that all the “crunchy” mamas out there gave certain things a big thumbs down.

Fluoride just so happened to be one of those things so of course I skipped it… on myself and on my children from that point on. It wasn’t until years later when I wrote this post on why fluoride is actually a big no-no that I had an answer to “why” we should avoid it.

During this time I had been buying different brands of natural toothpaste that didn’t contain fluoride for myself and my kids. One day I happened into the bathroom to find my then toddler sitting in the floor sucking on the toothpaste! He had somehow climbed up on something to reach it in the cabinet, managed to get the cap off, and proceeded to eat it because it was a yummy strawberry flavor. Oy! Kids!

That was the turning point for me. As I took the toothpaste from him, I wondered what exactly it was that he’d just eaten. It was a natural, fluoride free toothpaste, so it couldn’t be that bad, could it? As I read the ingredient list on the tube, I realized that even this natural toothpaste still contained some funky ingredients that I couldn’t pronounce, and I wondered what that was about.

Was it so complicated to make toothpaste? Did it really need all these special ingredients that I had no clue what they were for? Hadn’t people originally made their own toothpaste? They definitely didn’t contain all this stuff! 

All these questions got me interested in looking into common toothpaste ingredients so that I’d know why I should avoid them with my family.

Today I wanna talk about some of the junky ingredients that you’ll find in many brands of store-bought children’s toothpaste so that you’ll know why we “crunchy” mamas say to avoid them and make your own instead.

Dangers of Children’s Toothpaste

Fluoride

I’m not going to go into all the details about why I chose to stay away from fluoride with my family. Basically, it’s because fluoride is toxic to the body, it’s a waste byproduct that was originally used as rat poison, and it’s thought to be more harmful than lead.

I’d also like to make a point here that most toothpastes contain water, and most water (at least here in the US) contains fluoride and other chemicals. Toothpastes don’t specify if the water used in them is distilled, reverse osmosis, or common city water, and even if it were common city water used, from my understanding, they wouldn’t need to list the ingredients in the water… like fluoride, chlorine, and other junk that’s no good for the body. Just something to think about, eh?

Sodium Lauryl Sulfate

Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) is a chemical that originates from coconuts, but it’s definitely not nutritious. It’s used as a surfactant, detergent, and emulsifier in many skincare products, and yes, it’s in toothpaste. It’s what gives toothpaste that sudsy, soapy, foamy characteristic most people are familiar with and expect in their toothpastes.

Dr. Mercola states that the real problem with SLS is in the manufacturing process where it is contaminated with 1,4 dioxane, a known carcinogen, but the EWG Skin Deep database also shows that SLS can cause skin and mucosa irritation, organ toxicity, developmental or reproductive toxicity, nurotoxicity, endocrine disruption, ecotoxicology, and biochemical or cellular changes, as well as possible mutations and cancer. Oh yes, I definitely wanna slather that all over my and my child’s teeth!

From my research the main issue with SLS in toothpaste seems to be that it irritates the mucosa in the mouth to the point that it alters the skin’s structure, making it more susceptible to absorbing other chemicals and toxins found in the toothpaste itself.

No matter, SLS isn’t really necessary at all. I can do without the foam in my toothpaste just to steer clear of all of the above.

Aspartame/Saccharin

Most children’s toothpaste come with some form of artificial sweetener to make them taste good so kids will use them. Aspartame and saccharin are the two most common.

Both of these “sweeteners” have been shown in scientific studies to cause cancers in animals, but it’s debatable whether they cause cancer in humans as studies consistently reveal different findings.

Setting the “proof” of scientific studies aside, I personally steer clear of them as I’ve read too many things that shed a negative light on them, and this mama isn’t willing to risk her or her kids health on something not necessary.

Hydrated Silica

Hydrated silica is found in many children’s toothpastes as it’s a mild abrasive made from a crystallized compound found in quartz, sand, and flint. It helps to scrub off the tartar found on teeth and whiten them, but in doing so has been shown to have a negative effect on the tooth enamel causing problems with remineralization.

As you know, remineralization of children’s teeth plays a huge role in tooth health and in preventing cavities. There’s a lot to understanding tooth health which I’m not going to get into here, but the book Cure Tooth Decay (book/kindle) is my absolute favorite on how amazing our teeth really are. Our teeth were designed to heal themselves and regenerate when damaged, but how we care for them will impact how well they can care for us.

Dyes

Obviously, many children’s toothpastes are loaded with dyes (most commonly blue 1, blue 2, and red 40) in order to make them appealing to kids, but did you know most FD & C dyes are linked with many healthy problems like ADHD, severe allergic reactions, asthma attacks, headaches, nausea, fatigue, nervousness, lack of concentration, and cancer even! And besides the negative health associations, they’re also a synthesized petroleum based product… so that means your child’s toothpaste has crude oil in it.

Now some may argue that these dyes aren’t being swallowed, but it’s no surprise that our skin and the tissues in our mouth are very absorbent. This means that even if you child is brushing and spitting, these dyes and other chemicals may still be entering into their blood stream… especially if their toothpaste contains sodium lauryl sulfate in it.

Parabens

Parabens are used in toothpastes (among other skincare products) as a preservative, and they’re thought to effect the endocrine system, disrupt hormones, and are even linked to cancer. BTW… how many carcinogenic products have I mentioned so far… all in children’s toothpaste?

The FDA continues to approve parabens in products because when they’re used in such small amounts they are relatively harmless, or so they say. But what happens when they’re in all of your products? How much is your body absorbing then? And how much worse is it for a child than an adult?

Just some questions to ponder.

Glycerin

Many store-bought toothpastes contain glycerin because it helps give toothpaste a nice, smooth texture so that it will squeeze out of the tube easily into that nice pretty strip on top of your toothbrush. Although this ingredient isn’t necessarily harmful to your body (it’s a great ingredient to use when making children’s herbal tinctures), it’s just that it’s not so good for teeth. Here’s why.

Glycerin has a tendency to coat the teeth when it’s brushed on, sealing them like a wax would, which prevents tooth remineralization. This can lead to decay over time as the teeth need to be able to absorb the minerals in our saliva which strengthens them. Supposedly, it takes 22 rinses to remove 1 use of glycerin from the teeth!

Things To Consider 

A couple things I found interesting about glycerin is that one, it’s marked as a safe ingredient (with a score of “0”) by EWG’s Skin Deep, an organization that rates the safety of ingredients found in common cosmetics, and two, it can be animal sourced or vegetable source glycerin.

I’m assuming this safety rating is based on healthy safety, not whether it’s good for teeth health or not. So if you browse that site, and I highly recommend you do when looking for good, better, best brands, just be aware of the fact that you still need to look into the ingredients of products with “0” ratings. Just sayin’. And as far as the possibility of it being animal sourced glycerin, how do you know if it’s from clean, well cared for animals? I just have a feeling it’s not from organic, gmo-free ones, don’t you?

Making Your Own Toothpaste

People have long been making their own products. For crying out loud, that’s how all these big companies first came to be. Someone originally started making something with 5 little ingredients and it’s continued on from there, turning into much of the junk found in our stores today all for the sake of money and shelf preservation.

Seriously, do we have so little time that it’s better to compromise our health for the sake of driving to the store to get a tube of toothpaste when it’s so simple to make your own?

Here’s a post I wrote a while back on making your own coconut oil based toothpaste for yourself and your kids. We love it, but it’s not so squeezable when the weather gets cold. Be sure to come back Wednesday to get my newest DIY toothpaste recipe that’s remineralizing for your teeth… and no, this is different from the many other remineralizing homemade toothpastes you’ll find on the web. It uses a special herb and it’s so yummy!

A Natural Toothpaste for Kids That Gets the Growing Up Herbal Stamp of Approval

Now I’m not against buying toothpaste as long as they’re truly natural and good for my kids. Below is the only brand that I’ve found that really are good and my kids like… cuz I know we busy moms don’t always have time to make our own.

Concerned about lead in your bentonite clay? CLICK HERE to see what I have to say about that!

What are your thoughts on this? Are the ingredients in your kids toothpaste a big deal to you? What do you use to brush your kiddo’s teeth with? Share with me in the comments below!

REFERENCES:

  • http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2010/07/13/sodium-lauryl-sulfate.aspx
  • http://smartklean.wordpress.com/2011/09/08/top-10-reasons-to-avoid-sodium-lauryl-sulfate/
  • http://www.naturalnews.com/017804_triclosan_toxic_chemicals.html
  • http://www.fda.gov/forconsumers/consumerupdates/ucm205999.htm
  • http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/factsheet/Risk/artificial-sweeteners
  • http://health.howstuffworks.com/skin-care/beauty/skin-and-lifestyle/parabens.htm

61 thoughts on “Warning: Why You Should Stay Away From Most Children’s Toothpaste”

  1. Great post Meagan! We use the bulk herb store homemade toothpaste kit and really like it, our two year old too! I love that it doesn’t matter if he swallow it and our dentist said it’s fine!

    1. That’s great that your dentist doesn’t mind you using it. It seems hard to find a dentist these days that are okay with not using a fluoride toothpaste.

  2. Melissa Mendez

    Oh man, I love that you listed the resources you used! So many articles are all “I don’t like this because of this” but don’t link to any resources so that other people can check them out to decide for themselves. Love that you did that and that really raises your credibility in my eyes! Oh and I’ll be checking out those toothpastes for kids that you mentioned. My oldest could use something better for his teeth, as he’s gotten a lot of cavities in his baby teeth. Gotta keep those new adult teeth healthy! Of course getting him to brush every single day, twice a day has helped. Considering that, I really want to find something better for him than commercial toothpaste.

    1. You’re welcome Melissa! I try to always give sources for things that can be a little sticky just because I want readers to see that this maybe be my opinion and a path I’ve chosen for my family, but here’s why I’ve chosen it or said it. Plus, my purpose here at Growing Up Herbal is to teach parents to take charge of their children’s health, and you can’t really do that if you don’t know how to find information and make an informed decision on your own.

      As for the teeth part, check out this post on healing your child’s teeth with food. There’s a lot of researched info in it and examples of others doing it that have had great results. I’m not sure if you’ve ever seen that info around before, but it’s good stuff! Thanks for your comment!

  3. Great article! We try to avoid the ingredients you listed in all our household products. We are big fans of Earthpaste. Lemon for the kids, peppermint for the adults. Combined with oil pulling and salt rinsing, my teeth feel super clean.

    1. Thanks for sharing Wendy! I’ve heard great things about oil pulling, and I’ve tried it once or twice, but I’ve never really researched it fully. I’ll have to look into it sometime.

  4. Jamie Larrison

    I have literally spent hundreds of hours studying toothpaste and overall mouth health. So much so that I started selling my own toothpaste! I wanted to note a few things about your article, which is great btw!
    Deionized water is what is used to make storebought toothpaste. Ions that may interfere with the mixing process are removed, but the water is not necessarily distilled. Sodium, chloride, iron oxides and the like are removed. I’m not sure, but I believe this also removes fluoride, since having it in the water can interfere with the formulation.
    Also, sodium coco sulfate is commonly used in “natural” products to replace SLS. This is another one to watch out for because it is commonly tainted with the same carcinogens as SLS and is processed almost identically.
    Thanks for this great information!

    http://chemicaloftheday.squarespace.com/qa/2011/9/26/sodium-coco-sulfate.html

    1. Oh wow! Thanks for sharing that Jamie. Well, the water part doesn’t sound so bad. I’ve not really looked at deionized water before so I’ll have to check that process out. As for the natural toothpastes, it seems that they can be just as bad as the mainstream brands in grocery stores which is a bummer. Thanks for the info and the link BTW!! I appreciate it!

  5. jeanette galarza-belmar

    hi. I thought xylitol was bad for you. I read it causes stomach cramps and gastro problems. my son was chewing gum with xylitol and he was having unexplained stomach aches for the longest till I discovered he was chewing gum on a daily basis and getting stomach problems on the daily too. so no more gum for him and he is pain free now. so my thoughts are xylitol is not good for everyone and its the first ingredient in the jack n jill toothpaste raspberry flavor. we need a diy toothpaste Meagan please?

    1. Yes, Jeanette… xylitol is not something I recommend for internal use. I’ve read too many negative things about it, and I try to stick with as many “real foods” as possible so I don’t use it as a sweetener in our home.

      However… in toothpaste, it’s been shown to be beneficial in helping decrease bacterial adhesion to teeth. This post on DIY coconut oil toothpaste explains it better. Plus, there’s less chance that your kiddo will swallow the toothpaste so they probably won’t have any issues with it being in there. The Earthpaste is a great brand, and I believe the Jack and Jill is as well if you’re looking for good ones to buy. Here’s another post I just put up on a DIY herbal remineralizing toothpaste, but it too contains stevia or xylitol… you’re choice. No matter, in DIY toothpastes, you need something to make it taste good that’s not glycerin!

  6. I was surprised you listed the Jack and Jill toothpaste because it has glycerin and silica in it. Also, not to be too gross, but it has natural raspberry flavor which is often castoreum derived from beaver “castor sac and scent gland…secretions.” It’s really impossible to know the exact source of “natural flavors,” and in the large scope of things its not the worst thing to have in a toothpaste, but I just found that fact to be interesting.

    1. What!!! I thought I looked over that better than that! How did I miss glycerin! For crying out loud… thank you for pointing that out. I’m glad someone is double checking me. I’ll take it off. Good grief… no more late night posts for me! My research must suffer after a certain time. And, I did not know that about the “natural flavor” thing… gross. I’ll look into that too. Glad I usually make my own or use Earthpaste. Yuck!

    2. I was wondering about the Jack and Jill brand. On EWG it lists it has fruit extract, but on the bottleit list “organic natural fruit flavor” what the heck is that?! ?

      1. My guess is that “organic natural fruit flavor” is the fruit extract that EWG lists. They’re probably the same thing. I’m assuming it’s as EWG says it is… an extract of the actual fruit to flavor it. Sorry I can’t be of more help. If you have questions about the ingredients, you can probably email Jack and Jill customer service, and they can probably better answer your questions.

  7. We’ve been looking into getting safer toothpaste for our children. One thing that we discovered recently that is in a lot of products and not good for you is carrageenan. It’s mostly in ice cream, yogurt, etc. However, I found it in my children’s toothpaste! So, we switched to a “non-carrageenan” toothpaste. But, it looks like I still have work to do going by your list. sigh Being healthy is hard work! Too bad so many companies out there are only interested in making money and not actually helping consumers or using quality natural ingredients. Thanks for the info! I don’t always have time to do the research myself so am very thankful when I come across someone else’s. =)

    1. Yes, I hear you. It’s nice to find companies that can make a great product that works while keeping it simple. I also love being able to make things myself too though. And yeah, carrageenan is a bummer. I’ve recently learned about that one to… which now has me making my own coconut and almond milks when needed. Thanks for your comment!

  8. Megan, great article! Working in the dental industry, I found my self behaving the same way you have been with your kids. I tried to use many organic and non irritant products i.e toothpaste, soap, shampoo. Although, upon my initial research SLS was the ingredient I have learnt to say away from. A non-foaming toothpaste can do a better job in my opinion! Thanks Megan!

  9. Hi,
    I am also looking for an all natural toothpaste for my chile and was about to order the earthpaste toothpaste till I read that it contains a small trace of lead. Any idea about this?

    1. Hey Karen. I know I’ve looked into this before, but I can’t, for the life of me, find that info anywhere. However, I did find this post on the Redmond Clay site that talks about their clay containing small amounts of lead (as well as small amounts of many other minerals) and how it’s safe. I will say that it’s not just their clay. I’d assume all bentonite clay has the basic mineral make-up and these small amounts of metals can be found in many of them since they are natural parts of the earth. Just my guess though. You could email them and ask them if you want a more thorough answer.

  10. Glycerin is such a confusing one for me – there is so much conflicting information about it online. Many bloggers state it coats the teeth and block the remineralization, where for example Weleda writes on its site that it is only bad with conjunction with bleaching teeth. There isn’t really any alternative left for my 2-year old son, he still swallows the toothpaste and I don’t want to use the clay one based either as it contains metals from earth. Why there is no one definite answer! We are not scientist to decide which of those are actually harmful or not! I’m tired 🙁

    1. I hear you Fanta. It is frustrating, and I’ve thought the same thing myself. That’s where doing your own research and making your own decision comes into play. You don’t have to defend your decision to anyone. You just have to make the one you feel is best and be done with it.

      For me, I was more concerned with remineralization and cavities than I was with the metals in the clay which is why we use clay toothpaste over glycerin toothpaste. In my research I found so much info on the metal content in clay to be very minimal, and the fact that clay draws metals to it, flushing them out of the body, gave me a lot of peace knowing that the metals (no matter how minimal they were) wouldn’t be staying in my child’s body. Now that’s me… no one else but me.

      As far as the Weleda info goes… I’ve not looked into their claims and there may be something to what they say, but I am weary about trusting what companies say about their products. Of course they’re gonna say great things… it makes them money and they want people to buy it. I’ll have to look into that so thanks for sharing it with me.

      I too wish there was one right answer for many things we mamas face with our kids, but our kids aren’t all the same so choices don’t come easy. It’s hard enough being a parent when you go along with everything society says is okay… when you don’t agree and go a different way, things can be even harder!

      Best of luck to you mama in making your decision. If you feel that glycerin is best… go for it. I will add that coconut oil mixed with some age appropriate essential oils works wonders. Many times my kids and I prefer that over the taste of clay. We switch things up ever now and then and it seems to work well for us.

      1. Hi Meagan!
        You’re my “go-to” for natural remedies! I so appreciate all the recipes and information you share. On the topic of glycerin…that one is a question mark for me too. I didn’t see your source listed about this ingredient. I totally get why you wouldn’t trust a company’s own statement of benefit. I came across this article written by a natural dentist and thought you may find it interesting as well. Just a different perspective 🙂
        http://www.myfamilydentist.ca/glycerin-and-remineralization-of-teeth/

        1. Thanks for your kind words Kim, and thanks for the link. It seems like the information we’re presented with is constantly changing so I think it can be difficult to make a definite stance if there’s no actual evidence to back up the claims.

          I too have noticed that a lot of people who say “glycerin coats teeth and prevents remineralization” either don’t provide a source for that info or they cite Dr. Judd’s research. On the other hand, I’ve also seen natural toothpaste companies who use glycerin in their toothpaste claim that it doesn’t prevent remineralization, but they’re also not providing sources for those claims either. I think this is one of those issues that needs further research. I’d love to be able to use glycerin in my homemade toothpaste. It would make it so much easier and taste better, but until I’m sure it’s not doing more harm than good, I can live without it.

          With that being said, from the info in the article you linked to, I don’t think it’s fair for that dentist to say that Dr. Judd’s info should be discredited because he’s a chemist and not a dentist or medical doctor. Chemistry has a lot to do with how products are formulated so I’d think that he should have a say. Perhaps other expert’s input is needed, but I think he does have a say. Secondly, this dentist says that it would seem that glycerin is okay because only a small amount is used. A small amount compared to the other ingredients? Most toothpaste has glycerin listed as one of the primary ingredients meaning there’s a larger amount of it than the other ingredients. Plus, I’m pretty sure we have seen how small amounts of chemicals can still be harmful to a person. I personally don’t think, “it’s just a little bit,” is a good argument for glycerin toothpaste. Lastly, the dentist then goes on to say that if Dr. Judd is going to say glycerin is harmful to the teeth, then glycerin must be harmful in soap as well. That doesn’t make sense either! Dr. Judd was specifically talking about bones… not skin. They work differently and you can’t say if it’s bad for one it must be bad for all.

          There may be a lot of holes in Dr. Judd’s research, but there are a lot of holes in this dentists view too. I respect his opinion as he has more experience than I certainly do, and if he’s okay with glycerin that’s fine; however, I’m not sure I’d be trying to discredit Dr. Judd seeing as how there’s no clinical evidence backing up either claim.

          Again, thanks for the link, but I’m gonna stay here in the “no glycerin in toothpaste” camp until some evidence shows up showing it’s okay. Thanks for sharing this with me Kim!

      1. Hi, oh that’s awesome! But I was actually asking about a toothpaste for them…for their first teeth…I am trying to get a jumpstart on healthy teeth!

        1. Oh I see! I like this recipe for babies because of the coconut oil, but plain coconut oil and a baby toothbrush will work just fine. At that age you just want to get them used to the toothbrush in their mouth and work at getting the few teeth they have clean. Coconut oil works great!

  11. We’ve been using jack and Jill for a couple years now. Never knew glycerin was a problem. They list it as glycerin from coconuts so I’m wondering if that’s really a problem? I suppose there would be glycerin residue on teeth from the homemade coconut oil toothpaste but maybe it is different when it comes in the form of coconut oil as opposed to glycerin derived from coconut? I notice too that silica is on the ingredient list so I’m guessing between that and the glycerin that jack and Jill is not so great for demineralization. What do you think?

    1. From my understanding, food grade glycerin can be derived from several sources, but it all acts the same way in that it coats and seals the teeth. I’m not sure how BIG of a deal it is… I guess it boils down to your child’s teeth and if they’re having problems or not. If they get plenty of minerals from their food then their teeth should be strong and remineralize. The glycerin issue boils down to minerals in the saliva not being able to absorb into the teeth because they’re sealed by the glycerin. At least that’s my understanding of it. We skip it, and it works for us. Also, glycerin isn’t found in coconut oil itself so using an oil based toothpaste doesn’t mean it has glycerin in it. Hope that helps and answers your questions for you.

  12. Great post, Meagan. As, mommas we really have to stick together. Finding a good toothpaste can be tricky, especially when living a toxic-free lifestyle. Have you tried Poofy Organics Mouthcare Care line? That’s what my family uses & we LOVE it. Their toothpastes are USDA Certified Organic & Flouride Free. They also offer an organic tooth powder, an organic mouth rinse & organic breath spray. I am extremely proud to be a Guide with Poofy Organics. Spreading the word & helping people make educated choices to live a better life is so very important to me. I welcome you to contact me for details.

    1. I agree that it’s something that shouldn’t be ingested in large quantities, but I’m okay with putting it in homemade toothpaste to sweeten it and discourage bacteria from adhering to teeth. There have been several studies that show it’s effective against plaque formation so as long as you aren’t eating your toothpaste, I feel like that’s fine.

  13. I bought Earthpaste, but when it came, I got freaked out about all the lead warnings, especially because it cited birth defects as a potential outcome. Then once I started looking it up, I read many negative posts regarding the safety of Earthpaste. What are your thought?

  14. WARNING: Earthpaste has a warning that states it may contain lead, probably because it contains water from only God knows where (city, perhaps).

  15. Hi Megan,

    Thanks for the wonderful post describing the safe and dangerous ingredients in toothpaste for babies. I am very interested in the Earthpaste toothpaste you recommended. Yet when I looked on the EWG site,it actually has a higher risk score compare to some of the other brands mentioned (e.g. Jack n Jill). Especially for the verbena oil, it got a sticking hazard score of 8. Now I’m confused.

    1. That’s so interesting Amy! Overall, the lemon flavor got a 3 on their site compared to the cinnamon and peppermint which got a 1. When I looked into why the lemon was higher, it was the essential oils themselves were rated higher (that’s where the 8 came from). My guess is because they’re citrus essential oils and some people are sensitive to citrus. I find that rating funny because cinnamon and peppermint both can cause skin reactions, but they were given a 1. I’m not really sure how they come up with the ratings… especially for essential oils, but for now, I’m sticking with Earthpaste (and my homemade toothpaste versions) as I personally find them better than the versions with glycerin.
      Ultimately, it’s the evils of glycerin on teeth versus the evils of essential oils on mucous membranes. You simply have to choose which is the less of two evils for you. And just know, we as parents, will never get it all right. We’re not perfect. You may choose glycerin for now and move to essential oils later. And remember, from what I could find when I researched for this post, there was no hard evidence against glycerin… only A LOT of speculation from quality sources that all agreed it wasn’t best for teeth.
      Sorry I can’t be of more help. Perhaps the coconut oil toothpaste recipe would be a better fit for you?

  16. hi I just want to share my experience with toothpaste. I’ve read soooo many blogs about kids toothpaste, soaps and shampoos and even wipes… I’ve been so health conscious and I always had the desire my baby to grow healthy and not swallow any of those gross chemicals. I’ve tried some “natural” toothpaste for my child but never liked them. and thankfully she never did. That’s why I’ve been letting my child use VIRGIN coconut oil instead of toothpaste, and i do not have to worry about anything, like swallowing it. and the best thing is that she loved brushing her teeth then. I observed that the next morning her breath has no foul-odor. And also lately my mom read a blog about a study that shows, that coconut oil is a powerful anti -bacterial and would prevent kids teeth and helps it to keep it stronger as they grow…and i really felt satisfied and happy that i made a right decision.Hope this one helps you to 🙂

    1. Thanks for sharing what you’ve been doing with your little one! Coconut oil is a great product and has SO MANY uses. I use coconut oil mixed with baking soda or clay with my kids, but it could definitely be used alone if they don’t mind the taste. Plus, it the actual brushing that give you the most bang for your buck when it comes to keeping teeth healthy. Even dentists say that the “toothpaste” you use doesn’t do all that much compared to brushing alone. Again, thanks for your comment!

  17. What do you store your toothpaste in to make it easy for the kids? I don’t want to use a plastic tube but all I can come up with is putting it in a glass jar which is messy and could get broken. Any ideas?
    thanks!

    1. Honestly, I store them in small glass jars. Each kid has their own, and yes, we’ve had spills and breaks. I tried using GoTubes as they’re silicone. They work well, but I can’t seem to get them completely clean and dried well enough. I’ve had several batches of liquid toothpaste go bad in them. It’s easier for me and the kids to just put their toothpowder or toothpaste in their own individual jars. Hope that helps!

  18. sylvana stahl-flores

    Hi Megan! Im getting a page not found message When I click on the link from your post on why to avoid fluoride. Could you please fix that? I’m trying to convince my husband to stop using his mouth wash….
    Thanks! This post really helped my find a good toothpaste for us and our baby!

  19. HI I read a few of the comments, I am currently using Jack & Jill, and I am a bit worried cause my son tells me he shallows it sometimes, can you help me out and explain to your understanding what may be a consequence of that. He is 7 years old. I have a 1 year old and not sure if I should use it for him 🙁 I thought it was organic … Also a friend gave me a toothpaste from a company called Melaleuca or something like that and it has a little black spot on the bottom which I read it meant it was pure chemicals but I was told it is organic. Any thoughts on this toothpaste? thank you sooooo much to all!

    1. I personally think that the best toothpaste to use is one you’ve made yourself. However, I realize that isn’t always possible so it’s good to know about healthy store-bought options. My favorite “store-bought” toothpaste is Redmond Clay’s Earthpaste. It’s clay based with xylitol and essential oils. It works well and tastes great. As far as the Jack and Jill brand goes, it’s a great one too, but the big issue with it is that it contains glycerin. Now, glycerin in toothpaste is a bit debatable as some experts think it seals the teeth and prevents mineral absorption (which is a must for healthy teeth) and others don’t believe that. I personally stay away from it, and we’re happy with the homemade clay toothpaste. As far as swallowing it goes, I’m sure it’s fine. It’s rated a “1” on the Skin Deep database which is really good. And yes, it is organic. I don’t know much about the Melaleuca brand. They put fluoride in some of their toothpaste so I don’t really look into what they have to offer that much because it’s not for me. Hope that helps, May!

  20. This is all great and looks fun. But how about just brushing our (kid’s) teeth with an unrefined sea salt (preferrably a grey one rich in minerals)?

    1. You can do that, but I’d suggest grinding it into a fine powder first so it doesn’t scratch their teeth. Also, most kids don’t like the taste of straight salt as a toothpaste so it’s a good idea to mix it with other things to lessen the salty flavor, and sometimes, straight salt can be a bit irritating to the gums. I’d suggest the homemade toothpaste recipes linked in the post, but you can always give the salt a try and see how it goes.

  21. Hello,

    Thank you for your article! I just discovered a few days ago that my 2-year-old’s tooth has (super hard for me to describe) a sort of line near the gums, on her two front teeth, where it looks like the tooth sort of started being melted away… Sounds insane and I wish i could take a picture, but she doesn’t like opening her mouth super wide – and this is why I feel it took me so long to see it. I checked my 4-year-old and she also has similar front teeth – except not corroded yet, just sort of shaded…

    I had no idea what this was and assumed somethib along the lines of vitamin D deficiency… but then tonight I suddenly realized that every single night these past few months they have brushed their teeth and I have then “checked” (aka, brushed) their teeth – using ine of those “safe” fluoride-free toothpastes. I was suddenly convinced, because it made so much sense: the toothpaste stays on their teeth, they go to sleep… and week after week after week, that tiny bit of corrosion has started eating at their teeth!!!!! Aaaaah!!!!

    So I’m super mad – because I just read your article and assume it’s Hydrated silica + Glycerin….. and now I wonder what to do because I PUT that stuff there, and nkw of course feel the need to fix it. Can teeth be fixed? Will this somehow cause her adult teeth to be weaker or something?

    I’m going to read your make your own toothpastes articles now…. In any case (sorry for this novel) Thanks!!!

    1. Hi Yara! I’m sorry for your trouble and stress. I certainly know how that feels. First off, let me encourage you to give it a few nights of you brushing their teeth really well for them before assuming something is wrong. I’ve noticed that when my boys don’t do a good job brushing their teeth that a line of plaque is often still on their teeth, right at the gum line. You’re right that it can eventually cause decay so it’s good to get it off there, but I’m not sure that the toothpaste (even if left sitting on their teeth) will cause the decay. All I’m saying in this post is that teeth are bones and they need to be remineralized. That happens because of diet mostly, but it can happen due to saliva coming in contact with the teeth. Supposedly, if you brush your teeth with a glycerine toothpaste, it seals the teeth for a certain amount of time, keeping the minerals in the saliva from coming in contact with the teeth. That isn’t a solid, proven fact, however. I simply prefer to stay on the safer side if at all possible. Definitely check out my other articles on dental health for more info on supplements and diet for teeth. Just search “teeth” or “fluoride” in the search bar.

  22. Hi I’m a scientist and not a doctor, but the first thing I think about when I see a clay toothpaste is lead. Have you sent Redmond Clay Earthpaste to a lab to have it tested for lead? Mind you that no amount of lead is safe. Other ingredients’ toxicity becomes negligible when you compare it to lead toxicity. I am always surprised when moms panick over whether their kids cheerios are organic yet they live in a house with lead dust.

    1. I totally hear you. I remember being alarmed when I first read about lead in bentonite clay, but I did some research on it to find out more. I shared what I found in this post here, and it seems that the lead isn’t available to the body as it’s tightly bound with the clay. Now, I’m not a scientist, but scientists have done studies on clay showing that it attracts lead and binds it rather than releasing it. I know that there’s a lot of debate along these lines of clay and lead so it’s best to do what you feel is right with your own children. Hope this helps.

  23. Thank you SO much, Meagan! You are a Godsend. I have been searching everywhere and reading hours and outs of articles online for “organic” toothpastes and NONE of them really are organic. I don’t have the privilege of much time on my hands but the one toothpaste you did provide (Redmond Earthpaste) is a safe one! I just wanted to thank you so much for writing this for parents like me struggling to find a safe toothpaste. I was able to find many fluoride free ones, but then they would contain silica, or other types of harmful ingredients. I appreciate this so much! God bless you! ??

    1. Meagan Visser

      You’re welcome, Ashley. Just a heads up… the Redmond Clay toothpaste is a bit controversial to some. You can see this article I wrote about it just so you’re informed on the issue. I personally still use it, but I think everyone should be informed. Thanks for your comment!

      1. Hello. You say that you use the Redmond Clay toothpaste. Do you use it with children? My kids are 3, 6.5 and 9. Thanks!

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