In this podcast, Dr. Nammy explains why you should avoid toothpaste with sodium lauryl sulfate, dyes, and other risky ingredients. Then, she talks about why you should use toothpaste with natural remineralizing ingredients and she outlines the best brushing methods.
John Maher: Hi, I am John Maher. I’m here today with Dr. Nammy Patel, founder of Green Dentistry in San Francisco, California, helping patients recognize the vital connection between dental health and whole body health. And author of the bestselling books, Age With Style: Guide to a Youthful Smile and Healthy Living and Total Wellness: Understanding the Link Between Your Teeth and Your Health.
Today, we’re talking about holistic dentistry and toothpaste. Welcome, Dr. Nammy.
Dr. Nammy Patel: Thank you for having me, John.
Toothpaste Ingredients to Avoid
John: Sure. So Dr. Nammy, as a holistic dentist, are there certain ingredients in toothpaste that people should use or ones that they should maybe avoid?
Dr. Nammy: Absolutely. The most important ones to avoid are SLS, sodium lauryl sulfate, and also dyes. There’s a lot of dyes that are in toothpaste, especially kids toothpaste, to make it that fun color, have sparkles in it and things like that. So those things can cause ADHD, can cause a lot of different problems and especially because kids tend to swallow their toothpaste, so you really want to be careful with the ingredients that go inside toothpaste.
So I would say if you’re a parent, make sure you are looking at the ingredients in there. If you’re an adult, sodium lauryl sulfate is the number one and the biggest culprit, so be careful of that. It causes sloughing of the tissue and a dry mouth, so it’s almost like an allergic reaction that your mouth actually has to this chemical, and it can be cancer-causing, so be very careful.
Best Toothpaste Ingredients for Holistic Dental Care
John: Are there ingredients in toothpaste that you should look for, like positive, good ingredients?
Dr. Nammy: So my favorite one to look for is nano-hydroxyapatite, which is a material that’s an alternative of fluoride and helps remineralize natural tooth structure, and it really helps build good enamel, build your defenses, and really makes a mouth really nice and healthy.
In all honesty, you don’t really need toothpaste to be able to clean your teeth. You actually need the mechanical action of brushing. That’s the reason why I always talk about an electric toothbrush because even if you did not use toothpaste, if you just use a toothbrush and make sure you remove the bacteria, you would just be fine, and that’s why I recommend the minimal amount of ingredients in toothpaste.
Should You Make Your Own Toothpaste?
John: Is it possible to actually make your own toothpaste at home and is that a good idea?
Dr. Nammy: Absolutely. In fact, you can actually go to my website, drnammypatel.com, and there’s a DIY make your own toothpaste with five different ingredients. It has coconut oil, volcanic ash, and a couple of different oils in there and pumice, and it works beautifully because it’s all natural, it cleans your teeth.
You can have it as gritty as you like. Some people like the grit, some people don’t like the grit, so you can get the pumice to be wherever you want it to be, and it really works. It really naturally whitens your teeth, gets your mouth clean, and leaves it hydrated.
Activated Charcoal in Toothpaste
John: Is activated charcoal something in toothpaste, is that a good idea and why?
Dr. Nammy: Activated charcoal is a good thing to use I would say maybe once or twice a week, but not every day. Activated charcoal is really great because it sucks out all the stains out of your teeth, so it does help your teeth become whiter and it’s a wonderful thing to try out if you want to make your teeth whiter.
I would say the first step I would start off with is going to be brushing your teeth with an electric toothbrush. Make sure that is going to get rid of stains. Then secondly, if you still wanted to go a little bit wider, then consider the toothpaste with activated charcoal.
Best Brushing Methods
John: So you mentioned using an electric toothbrush. Are there certain methods for brushing your teeth that are best for your oral health?
Dr. Nammy: My favorite toothbrushes tend to be the Oral B. It comes with an app, so you can see how long you’re brushing for, or the BOKA toothbrush. I like it because it’s made out of recycled contents, which really makes me happy as a green dentist. Secondly, even the bristles that it’s made of, they’re very soft and they actually are made with activated charcoal. So the bristles actually do the work and they do a really great job.
Oral B has a lot more vibration because it hits your teeth with about 50,000 pulsations per minute. Now the BOKA toothbrush is really great, actually. It’s great for patients who feel like the electric toothbrush is a little too much, and this hits your teeth with about 20 to 30,000 pulsations per minute. So it’s a little bit softer, a little bit gentler, but does a much better job than manual brushing.
John: And is there a certain method for going about it with your electric toothbrush? Should you concentrate on one quadrant of your mouth for 30 seconds and then move on to the next quadrant, or is there a certain method that you prefer?
Dr. Nammy: That is the method and it’s a little bit archaic. For me, what I prefer is to be a little bit more exact, and by that I mean three seconds on each surface of the tooth though. So three seconds on the outside, three seconds on the top, three seconds on the inside. I would do maybe three seconds on all the outsides of the teeth first, then go to three seconds per tooth on the insides, and then three seconds on the top.
That is my personal favorite. And I like the three-second rule because what I see most often is patients using an electric toothbrush but going too quickly and just going side to side or not spending three seconds per tooth. That three seconds is really-
John: Almost using it like a traditional toothbrush where you’re just sort of brushing back and forth or something.
Dr. Nammy: And that’s not what we want. That brushing back and forth is not good and it’s too quick. And what we actually need is a mechanical action, so that means you need to brush more on one area. So what we find is that three seconds per tooth is really what works.
Contact Green Dentistry to Make an Appointment Today
John: All right. That’s great advice, Dr. Nammy. Thanks again for speaking with me today.
Dr. Nammy: My pleasure, John.
John: And for more information about Green Dentistry, visit the website at sfgreendentist.com or call 415-433-0119.