Is Your Toothpaste Really "Natural"?
December 15, 2007
As a natural lifestyle continues to appeal to greater numbers of people, many are extending their desire for natural products to toothpaste. There are now a wide variety available, with or without fluoride, and in many flavors and forms.
However the definition of “natural” is not regulated, particularly if the toothpaste is non-fluoride. Fluoride toothpastes are considered a drug by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and are therefore regulated. Non-fluoride toothpastes, however, are considered cosmetics and it’s “up to the manufacturers to be careful with their labeling,” according to the FDA.
Meanwhile, natural means that a product is free from artificial colors, flavors and preservatives. It may still contain highly processed ingredients, such as fluorides, abrasives and humectants.
One brand of natural toothpaste, Tom’s of Maine, was purchased by Colgate-Palmolive last year and became the first natural toothpaste to receive the Seal of Acceptance from the American Dental Association (ADA).
The seal does not necessarily mean that the ADA endorses a product, only that it is effective and does what it says it will do, the ADA pointed out.
In short, it remains a “buyer beware” environment for natural products, including toothpastes. But there are now more toothpaste options available than ever, which allows each person to make their own choice.