Triclosan got you down? This mysterious sounding ingredient is used in many consumer products, including antibacterial soaps, cosmetics and toothpastes. It’s also in furniture, toys and clothing. What makes this ingredient stand out from all the other mystery ingredients in modern products? The FDA is warning that high doses of triclosan may possibly decrease thyroid hormones, at least in animals, and is no longer allowing it to be included in antibacterial hand and body washes. Triclosan exposure might also increase bacteria’s resistance to antibiotics. Is this the case in humans as well as animals? Who knows?
A related question: Who cares? An increasing number of both consumers and companies are worried about triclosans. They figure if the FDA doesn’t want it in hand wash, why would we want to put it in our mouths? That’s why Oral Essentials has concocted triclosan-free toothpaste. The company sent me a couple of tubes to try out.
So far, I’ve brushed with the original formula. What does it contain? As Oral Essentials puts it, “None of the junk—just the essentials!” Most of the ingredients I recognized, including clove, spearmint leaf oil, peppermint oil, Dead Sea salt, holy basil and carrageenan. And only a couple of ingredients I needed to look up, such as sodium methyl cocoyl taurate, a sodium salt made from coconut that’s used as a foaming cleansing agent.
So what doesn’t Oral Essentials include? Sodium lauryl sulfate, fluoride and, of course, triclosans.
How does it work? It feels on par with my usual toothpaste, Trader Joe’s anti-cavity peppermint toothpaste with baking soda and fluoride. Yes, I am pro-fluoride. I grew up in San Diego, where we had fluoride in the water supply. I always felt like it made my teeth stronger, and I never noticed any bad reactions.
I like the taste of the Oral Essentials, especially that hint of holy basil. I would encourage anybody worried about triclosans and fluoride to try this toothpaste. It’s available on the Oral Essentials website for $9.99 for a 3.5 ounce tube. Mouthwash and several other sizes of toothpaste are also on offer.
Why Dead Sea Salt?
Dr. Hessam Nowzari, DDS, conducted a study of homeless children in the Philippines who had gum disease. He instructed them to rub sea salt on their gums twice a day. After ten years, the children were all free of gum disease. Another dentist, Kourosh Maddahi, was inspired by Nowazari’s findings. He advised patients to rinse their mouths with sea salt. He was bewildered by all the products on the market with artificial dyes, alcohol, or other unnecessary ingredients. His research led to Dead Sea salt being the best choice for formulating a natural mouthwash. Dead Sea salt contains potassium, magnesium, calcium and other minerals.
The two dentists eventually teamed up to form Oral Essentials.
So after reading this, you might be asking yourself why on earth would any company have put these blasted triclosans in toothpaste in the first place? Back in 1997, the current research showed that triclosan in Colgate Total toothpaste effectively prevented gingivitis. To be fair, we need to remember that scientific knowledge is always changing. Companies often include ingredients because they believe them to be beneficial – not because they’re evil corporate giants.
But as consumers, as the information available changes, it’s up to us to constantly reevaluate our choices.