EWG: Choosing the Family Toothpaste ~ How Hard Can It Be? – True Goods
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  • EWG: Choosing the Family Toothpaste ~ How Hard Can It Be?
  • Elizabeth Wasserman
  • babies & kidsconscious consumerEWGhealth & wellnesspersonal careproduct safety
EWG: Choosing the Family Toothpaste ~ How Hard Can It Be?

Brush twice a day...

Floss. Hit the dentist every year or so for a battery-powered cleaning and a once-over and voila, dental health. Pretty straightforward, huh? Not so fast, it turns out. Just finding a toothpaste for the four people in my family proved to be a time-consuming affair with a bump or two in the road. Makes cleaning your 1-year-old's teeth with a wet washcloth seem e-a-s-y.

Why so complicated?

I wish I could just say fluoride, 'cause let's face it, that's complicated enough. But no. Then there's the other ingredients. The ones you can't pronounce. The ones that should be safe because they're in your toothpaste. But these days, who knows?

Fluoride.

Now this one can be a bit confusing and at times controversial if it’s in your community water supply. But since we’re just talking toothpaste, it’s simpler: avoid toothpaste with fluoride until your child is around 6 years old - when she's less likely to swallow it. There are plenty of fluoride-free options on the shelves.

The myriad other ingredients.

Now here's where I head straight to the Skin Deep database because - shhh, don't tell anyone - I really don't want to spend the time or bandwidth to master the various ingredients and their health effects. Got other things to do, thanks. Plus, once you toss the box, conveniently the ingredients aren't listed on the tube. Those greenwashing prone, industry marketing folks are really slick.

So this whole project began when my son was gifted two HUGE boxes of Kid's Sparkle Fun Flavor Crest. Which he of course l-o-v-e-s. So much so that when informed of my plan to convert it into a household cleanser he hid it. It is still in hiding, in fact. Such is the power of added 'flavor' and blue dye no. 1 (or blue 1, as the label reads; note the convenient absence of the word dye).

To soften the blow, I allowed him a trip to the grocery store to pick out a tasty toothpaste that met my standards. He agreed and off we went, after a quick investigation in the kids' toothpaste section of Skin Deep, where I was able to gather some key but very useful facts since both kids were climbing on me (my favorite way to do research - you?)

~ Special thanks to the Environmental Working Group, who authored the original post on August 27, 2008. Copyright © Environmental Working Group, www.ewg.org. Reproduced with permission. ~

  • Elizabeth Wasserman
  • babies & kidsconscious consumerEWGhealth & wellnesspersonal careproduct safety

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