For a couple years now, we have been using fluoride free toothpaste. Our drinking water here is fluoridated--which I wish it wasn't--and I don't feel confident enough in the research that has been done to demonstrate the safety and efficacy of fluoride. There's a lot of into on the internet, and even books have been written--I borrowed The Fluoride Deception from a friend and though I didn't finish reading it (I wish I would have now), the first 100 pages were more than enough to convince me!
The kids have been using Tom's of Maine fluoride free silly strawberry and I have been using various other fluoride free Tom's of Maine flavors. Chris has been using a toothpaste that we brought back from Germany (which I really like, too, but I feel bad using it; I have no clue as to the ingredients, but I think it's more "natural").
I had a recipe for a homemade tooth powder. I love making my own stuff: saves money (yay for my budget!); saves packaging (yay for the environment!); and I'm in control of all the ingredients (yay for QC!). However...it was disgusting. I gagged a few time during the initial use. I toughed it out for a few days, in which it got slightly easier, but I normally look forward to brushing my teeth (thank you, Sonicare, my personal mouth massage), and I was dreading it every morning and night with this stuff. It's main components are baking soda and white clay powder, then it had myrrh, dried peppermint and raspberry leaves, yellowdock root, and essential tea tree and peppermint oils. It was really salty (I think maybe the white clay powder?); it looked disgusting when spitting out (like chewing tobacco--all yellow); and the herb leaves kept getting stuck in my teeth (I had given it a good spin in the blender, in the mason jar I mixed it in, but to no avail, apparently). The powder texture wasn't doing it for me either, but I think that has something to do with being pregnant, and I think I could overcome that problem. It did do a good job of cleaning: my mouth felt nice and fresh. I feel like my teeth were getting slightly dingy with it though (yes, coffee will do that to ya, but my other pastes were tackling the problem fine).
So yesterday at Fred Meyer's, I was back to purchasing my Tom's of Maine, and for some reason decided to look at the ingredients: imagine my surprise when sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) popped up on there! I started checking all their toothpastes, and every Tom's of Maine toothpaste at my Fred Meyer's contained SLS (their website does address SLS concerns, and apparently they have a line of SLS-free toothpastes, but probably not as widely available). Then I checked Burt's Bees new line of toothpastes, and yep, SLS in all of theirs I could find also.
I'm not sure if the SLS has been there all along or if the buyout of both of those companies (Colgate now owns Tom's of Maine, and Clorox owns Burt's Bees) brought about formula changes. I've become more discerning in my label reading and in what ingredients make my "natural" cuts, and I'm bummed that this one slipped through the cracks for so long. Skin Deep only lists SLS as a 3 on their scale of 1 to 10, making it a "moderate hazard", but I've been avoiding it in shampoo, conditioner, and body washes, so why in the world would I put it in my mouth?!
In the end, I chose Jason Powesmile all-natural whitening toothpaste.
SkinDeep review: it scored a 2 and the highest concern comes from contamination of the grapefruit seed extract; I suppose I'm not going to get rid of that unless I am mixing my own toothpaste and purchasing the ingredients from a highly reputable source. Plus, it tastes fine and my teeth look nice and bright and feel good when I'm done.
I'll probably be keeping my eyes out for another toothpaste recipe; anybody have any to share?