You brush before you go to bed and before you leave the house in the morning. It has become so much a part of your daily routine that you probably don’t even think about it—and maybe you don’t really think about what’s in your toothpaste, mouthwash and other daily oral care products, either.
What we do know: Oral care is critical not just for healthy gums and teeth but research increasingly links it
to whole-body health, too. Good oral hygiene habits can keep bacterial infections from starting in the mouth and spreading elsewhere in the body.
For example, science shows there is a connection between periodontal disease (which can stem from severe gum-tissue inflammation caused by bacterial buildup) and cardiovascular disease. But when it comes to “natural,” some early products left a bad taste—quite literally—in our mouths.
According to market research firm Mintel, early natural oral care product flops may have disappointed. But thankfully, manufacturers have gone back to the drawing board, with much-improved outcomes.
Why the sudden surge? Today’s products taste good, freshen breath and fight bacteria and plaque with innovative natural ingredients instead of caustic synthetics. They rely on xylitol, neem, sea salt, peppermint and even cocoa in lieu of triclosan, alcohol, artificial colors and fragrance and other potentially harmful ingredients found in conventional oral care products.
Natural brands also appeal to health-minded consumers by carrying a USDA Organic or Non-GMO Project Verified seal, and catering to special diets, including vegan, gluten free and paleo.
Further fueling innovation in this category: alternative delivery systems based on traditional oral care practices—think tooth salts and brushing powders. Such products may be new to many customers, but natural brands are taking a leap of faith. So now’s
the perfect time to freshen up your oral care routine.
Here are a few of our new favorites.
Desert Essence Natural Neem Mouthwash.
Conventional mouthwash may freshen breath, but a mouthful of chemical surfactants and artificial flavors and colors is not what we’d call clean. Desert Essence’s refreshing alternative tackles a range of oral concerns with a blend of plant and mineral ingredients. Neem extracts dissolve bacteria buildup, zinc citrate reduces plaque, and calendula, sage and aloe soothe irritated gums. Swish. Gargle. Rinse. And, go ahead, repeat!
Dr. Bronner’s All-One Toothpaste.
This just-launched toothpaste line upholds Dr. Bronner’s long-held commitment to clean products. These pastes use mild abrasives such as organic coconut oil and coconut flour and come in three flavors: peppermint, cinnamon and (our favorite) anise. Made with 70-percent organic ingredients, All-One has earned the NSF/ANSI 305 “contains organic ingredients” certification. And did we mention these toothpastes are vegan and non-GMO? Now that leaves a good taste in our mouths.
The Dirt Natural Toothpaste.
Paleo has transcended food and crossed into personal care. Paleo followers will want to check out this innovative product: a paleo mineral tooth-brushing powder. The Dirt uses natural ingredients like bentonite clay and baking soda to strengthen teeth and organic spices and essential oils to keep breath fresh. We like the unique packaging, too.
Vermont Soap Neem Extra Strength Toothsalt.
Strange but true: Salt can enhance your oral care routine because it’s a natural disinfectant and can calm any mouth tissue swelling. Vermont Soap combines a handful of natural ingredients that are good for teeth and gums—baking soda, table salt, neem and essential oils—to emulate the ancient practice of gargling with salt water to maintain oral hygiene. Sprinkled onto a wet toothbrush, this formula quells bacteria and strengthens teeth.