Thousands of new personal care products flood the shelves of grocery, department and specialty stores every year, from lotions to sunscreen to toothpaste and lip balm. Most of us include these items in our everyday routine, and it’s hard to imagine living without them! But how do we as consumers make choices that are good for our bodies and our planet?
While we can’t claim to be experts on everything (although wouldn’t it be great if we could?), we do have some tips when it comes to choosing oral care products that will keep your mouth in top shape and do minimal harm to our delicate planet.
So, here it is. Our golden nugget of advice…drumroll please….
Read. Your. Labels.
We can’t stress this enough! Many people only check food labels, but consider that the blood vessels in our mouths are very close to the surface, which means that chemicals we place in our mouths are readily absorbed into our bloodstreams. The Environmental Working Group has a great personal care products database where you can research specific products, but here are some of the common ingredients found in toothpastes, mouth rinses and lip balms that you should consider avoiding.
The damage from these ingredients doesn’t stop with us. When these nasty compounds make their way down your drain, they can wreak havoc on our eco-system and harm wildlife. There are many healthy and effective alternatives for these ingredients. Look for oral care products that include things like organic aloe vera, which helps cleanse the teeth and gums while soothing your entire mouth, or which contain organic essential oils such as peppermint, eucalyptus and anise. These natural compounds are tasty and known for their anti-bacterial and breath-freshening properties.