The hidden truth about traditional oral care products
Traditional oral care products no longer have a place in an advanced society. It’s time we uncover the ugly behind the scenes of obsolete oral care.
Behind the scenes in traditional oral care products
We are thankful for everything the traditional oral care products have done for humans in the past when there were few or no alternatives. However, in 2020, there are much healthier, eco-friendlier, safer, and more conscious options, and there is no excuse to keep being stuck in the past. This is the ugly truth behind traditional oral care products.
Most of the traditional oral care products are tested on animals. Many animals are subjected to painful tests and experimentations, by being forced to ingest or inhale various substances, or by having cosmetic or medical ingredients rubbed onto their eyes, ears, or skin to look for allergic reactions. The bigger the concern about the ingredient in question, the harsher and longer is the testing.
Traditional oral care relies heavily on some kind of animal product, be it toothbrushes, toothpaste, mouthwash, dental floss, and others. Some of the animal-derived ingredients commonly used in traditional oral care products are glycerine and glycerol – although it’s possible to extract glycerine and glycerol from vegetal sources, it is immensely cheaper to extract it from animal bone marrow –, calcium phosphate/E542 (from animal bones), lanoline (from oil glands of sheep, commonly used in oral care and hair products), propolis (resin made from honeybee saliva and beeswax, mainly used for cosmetic products, like lip balm or lotions, and toothpaste), boar or horse hair (for toothbrush bristles).
There are hundreds of known dangerous chemicals being used in traditional oral care products, and this is after many having been banned already. For example, mouthwash contains at least four ingredients that are dangerous for human health: chlorhexidine gluconate, ethanol (ethyl alcohol), hydrogen peroxide and, methyl salicylate. If we look at toothpaste, there are suspected carcinogens, substances that disrupt endocrine function, substances that weaken the immune system, or ulcer-inducing chemicals, in a great deal of the products in the market. Look out for triclosan, aspartame, and saccharin, carrageenan, diethanolamine, parabens, propylene glycol, sodium lauryl sulphate, tetrasodium (tetra potassium) pyrophosphate, or titanium dioxide – they are not your friends.
As for dental floss, these are normally made of plastic and other petroleum derivatives and contain per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). These PFAS are man-made, very persistent in the environment and the human body, and tend to accumulate over time. There’s enough evidence that prolonged exposure to PFAS can be related to cancer, thyroid hormonal disruption, and weakened immune system.
Last, but not least, toothbrushes – and we don’t even know where to start. Traditional oral care products such as toothbrushes are just a nightmare when it comes to toxic and dangerous chemicals. A normal, regular toothbrush is made of a combination of a dozen plastics, at least, from handle to bristles. N, N-Dimethyl acetamide, 1,1,2,2-Tetrachlorethane, 3,5,5-Trimethyl-1-hexanol, Carvone, 2-Methyl-benzene sulphonamide, 344-Methyl-benzene sulphonamide, Benzyl-butyl-phthalate, 2-Butoxy-ethanol, 1-Butoxy-2-propanol, Naphthalene, 2-Butoxyethyl acetate, 1-Methyl-2-pyrrolidinone and Nickel are just some of the most harmful substances found in various toothbrushes by a 2004 study by the Danish Technological Institute. But there are others.
Microplastics are not only very difficult to detect as they are nearly impossible to get rid of. As such, they end up polluting our planet, mainly seas, and oceans, and one of the main fears is that microplastics will end up being integrated into organisms, and ultimately into human bodies and that in the long run, it can be very problematic for animal and human health. Traditional oral care products, especially conventional toothpaste, are filled with microplastics – namely plastic microbeads – which act as abrasives, and that are marketed as “pearls” that will make your teeth whiter. In fact, there is little to no evidence that the microbeads in toothpaste and other traditional oral care products actually help your teeth become cleaner, whiter or healthier, so it’s quite probable most brands use them for marketing purposes. Check here How to Avoid Microplastics in Your Toothpaste.
As a rule of thumbs, beware of ingredients whose name starts with “poly”, such as polyethylene (PE) or polypropylene (PP), polyethylene terephthalate (PET), polyethylene Glycol (PEG), polylactic acid (PLA), polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA), and nylon.
Difficult to recycle and toxic for various environments
Your average toothbrush is very hard to recycle. Toothbrushes as well as some packaging of traditional oral care products are made from many plastic components, some derived from petroleum, some from rubber, and some that are a complicated mix of various other plastics. They are also extremely sturdy, making it impossible to biodegrade in a human lifetime – it might take up to 400 years! –, difficult to recycle due to the difficulty in separating the components, and very unusable for energy recovery via combustion. Wouldn’t it be nice if you could have a toothbrush that is easily recycled or even composted? Well, we might have a surprise for you.
Every buying decision you make has the power to change the world. That’s why conscious consumption is so important nowadays, for your health, our economy, our ecosystems, and our Planet.
We invite you to start looking deeper into your product labels and make more conscious decisions about what you buy and use in your body. Research before you buy some product, buy local, talk to business owners, see what is “behind the scenes”.
Take a look at The Bam&Boo Natural Toothpaste as well as the Bamboo Toothbrush and the Charcoal Dental Floss! They’re vegan, CF, natural, eco-friendly, and completely free from microplastics and harmful chemicals – once you try them, you won’t want to go back to traditional oral care products, we promise! Also, make sure to read our list of ingredients: 100% transparency, 100% natural.
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