Saturday, February 27, 2010

Going Natural at the Dentist's Office...

I had my six month cleaning this morning and thought I would share a few things that I learned. My hygienist says that she always enjoys my visits because I am a "trip"...well that is one way to describe me I guess!

She and I don't always agree on everything, but we remain respectful. She always laughs when I turn down the complimentary toothpaste in favor of my own homemade tooth cleaner.

Most commercial toothpaste contains chemicals that I don't really want going into my body. Not to mention, they cost money. I use the "old time" mixture of baking soda and salt. It costs a small fraction of what one tube of toothpaste would cost, one box (mixed with a little salt) lasts almost a year and the best part is that it does a wonderful job!

I have always hated the part at the end of my cleaning appointment where they use that nasty, fruity tasting gel to polish my teeth. Instead of leaving with a cleaner feeling mouth, I left half sick to my stomach because of the taste.

My hygienist and I were talking about how strange I am that I prefer the Cavitron over the usual scaling (and torturous scraping) with the instruments. She said that since I am so "strange" about that (that word keeps coming up in reference to my personality...wonder if I should look into that?) that I may prefer the "baking soda sandblasting" polishing over the traditional polishing (with the before mentioned cherry gel goop).

So it turns out that there is a (in my opinion) better way! I was all excited that this "new" natural way was out there (I have no idea, nor do I really think I want to know, what is in the gel goop). Imagine my surprise when I was informed that this technique had actually been around for years and predates the gel goop.

One of the chemicals that I have a problem with, and this one has pretty much inundated all of our beauty products these days, is Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS). Like with everything else out there, there are two camps...the ones who think the SLS scare is a bunch of hype and then there are the conspiracy theorists, like me.

The way I look at it, if I can do without it - then why not do without it? Why take the chance. Not ingesting it has no danger of hurting me. Ingesting it possibly does. I'll err on the side of caution. The truth probably lies somewhere in the middle of the two extremes. It probably isn't as dangerous as the scare tactics would lead us to believe but it probably isn't as safe as the Food and Drug Administration would lead us to believe either.

The MSDS (Material Safety Data Sheet ) on SLS states that Sodium Lauryl Sulfate is "Hazardous in case of skin contact (irritant), of eye contact (irritant), of ingestion, of inhalation. Slightly hazardous in case of skin contact (sensitizer). Severe over-exposure can result in death."

I think I'll take a pass.

The next chemical that I have a problem with is fluoride...yes, good old fluoride.

Fluoride occurs naturally in water at varying concentrations.The general term "fluoride" describes a compound of which the element fluorine is one part. Fluorine combines with other elements, such as calcium or sodium, to form compounds that are usually found in soil and water. When water passes through and over the soil and rock formations containing fluoride it dissolves these compounds, resulting in the small amounts of soluble fluoride present in virtually all water sources in low concentrations (less than 1 part per million).

Here is where the problem comes in. For starters, water municipalities are adding a lot more than 1 ppm to the drinking water (the max allowed is 4 ppm). When you throw in the exposure from the water, the toothpaste, the mouth rinse, the fluoride treatments, etc., that is a lot of fluoride!

Plus, the "fluoride" that they add to drinking water, or use in toothpaste, is not he same as the naturally occurring Fluoride.

UNICEF states that "fluoride a naturally occurring chemical that is sometimes added to water or toothpaste to reduce tooth decay, but which in larger doses is poisonous, causing fluorosis. Fluorosis can stain the teeth, or in very high doses lead to bone damage, bone malformations and even death." They also report, "more and more scientists are now seriously questioning the benefits of fluoride, even in small amounts."

The World Health Organization (WHO) also speaks of the dangers of fluoride.

I have found that the FDA has never actually approved Fluoride for human consumption. Ffluoride supplements were "grandfathered in" before the 1938 law was enacted requiring drug testing. Once a drug is on the market for any reason, doctors can use them to treat any disease or condition. Sodium fluoride was on the market pre-1938, but not to stop cavities and not for any medical reason. Sodium fluoride sold as a rat poison.

Fluoride has been linked to:

  • thyroid damage
  • darkened teeth from fluoridosis
  • brittle bones

Fluoride has also been linked to problems with lead. Evidently, lead uptake is enhanced in the presence of fluoride. This has been linked to:

  • Behavioral disorders in children
  • Alzheimer's
  • Migraine headaches
  • Clinical depression
  • Dementia

Oh, and as an added bonus to my appointment, I found out that I have four fillings that contain mercury, one of the most toxic elements known to man! How cool is that.


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