The Cactus toothpaste – Natural Dental Products at the Natural Smile

Are we really selling cactus toothpaste?  Not quite but the the team here at the Natural Smile are really excited about the range of new  oral hygiene products that we are now selling because they contain all sorts of natural products, including Aloe Vera, which looks like a cacti (but is actually a member of the Lilly family, but the ‘Lilly toothpaste’ just doesn’t sound the same!!).

The new members of the range are a toothpaste, a mouthwash and a lip balm and they contain extracts from natural products, such as (among other things)  tea tree oil, xylitol,  Aloe Vera.  Aloe Vera has been used for a long time as an anti inflammatory agent, so in this case could help sooth gums, xylitol is a plaque inhibitor, which is beneficial in a toothpaste and tea tree oil has been used as an antimicrobial and anti inflammatory agent.

But as good as it is to have these great natural products in the new range, it is just as exciting to not have one ingredient in the new range, that is Soduim Lauryl Sulphate or SLS as its known.

SLS is a surfactant and lathering agent, and there is some evidence to show that it is an irritant to skin, can cause a recurrence of mouth ulcers and possibly reduce the effect of the fluoride in the toothpaste.

Our new range uses a different lathering agent, sodium lauroyl sarcosinate which despite sounding the same, is a completely different compound.  It does not have a sulphate group instead it has the amino acid ‘sarcosinic acid’ (also known as sarcosine – a derivative of glycine metabolism) found naturally in the body, this results in a far milder ingredient that is not known to cause any irritation.

So why not come in and try the Alodent range of toothpastes, mouth washes and lip balms! Not a cacti  in sight!

Why brushing your teeth straight after meals isn’t always the best idea.

Mostly brushing you teeth after eating is a good idea, the reasoning being that the quicker you remove the food and the sugar from your mouth the less chance that it can cause problems. However there are some circumstances where this isn’t a good idea, specifically after eating or drinking foods with a high acid content, such as fruit juice, lemons, vinegar, wine and soft drinks.

The acid in this type of food has the effect of softening the enamel of the teeth.  If you then go and brush your teeth you stand a much higher chance of damaging the enamel.  Exposure to acidic foods or drinks is one of the main reasons that enamel wears away or erodes. This process, known as tooth erosion, leaves the dentine exposed and your teeth much more sensitive.

Since drinking a glass of fruit juice in the morning with breakfast or a glass of wine in the evening  is a common thing, this would be a key time to watch for this type of problem.  There are some specific things you can do to help to minimise the impact of the acid on your enamel.

  • Rinse your mouth out with water after eating or drinking the acid containing food or drink.
  • Use a straw to drink which has the impact of delivering the juice to the back of the mouth and bypassing some of the teeth. (you may not be able to pull this off whist drinking wine!)
  • Leave at least 30 minutes before you brush your teeth after eating something acid, this give the saliva the chance to neutralise the acids and also re mineralise the enamel.
  • Don’t use a hard bristle brush and don’t brush aggressively, you can further soften your bristis of your brush by running it under hot water.
  • Be careful with the use of electric tooth brushes, consult your dentist or hygienists to determine the right amount of electric tooth brush use.
  • Other things can also damage the enamel of your teeth, such as grinding, and this can be difficult for the individual to spot as you can do it at night, or not even be aware of it, regular checkups can help spot signs of grinding, and your dentist can then help you overcome it.

Bob Is the practice manager at the Natural Smile Dental you can also  pick up more tips on the Natural Smile’ facebook page.

Greening Up The Roots – The Journey to a Green Dentist

From December 100% of the electricity that we use at the Natural Smile will be from renewable sources, and it feels really good to know that every service that we offer , every email that we send is now being powered by the wind,water and the sun.

My next challenge is to try to decrease our reliance on natural gas, and I’m pleased to see that green gas is becoming a more realistic alternative. It works by getting microbes to break down the organic material from leftover food processes, using waste potato peelings from a chip factory for example. The by product of this is a gas that can be used in place of the natural gas we are using at the moment, what remains of the food waste is a great fertiliser.

I should add of course that there are lots of things that we are already doing to try to minimise our impact on the environment.

We only use LED lighting in the practice which cuts the energy consumption, we use only recycled paper and where possible use vegetable based inks.

We have cut our car journeys to and from the practice, almost by 50% recently, and have enjoyed taking the train to the recent dental shows.  Our computer upgrade last year switched out large power hungry pcs for small solid state minimal power alternatives, our hardware team believe that all of them take about as much power as just one of the old ones!

All of the paints that we used and still use are low VOC’s (volatile organic compounds), all of the wood we use is FSC certified.

A few years ago we undertook an exercise to see how many of the chemicals that we use in the practice we can replace with natural products, first out the door were the industrial dental industry standard cleaners and disinfectants that we used, replaced with excellent non harmful alternatives, by the time we finished the exercise the most harmful item that we had in the surgery was the Ecover dishwasher tablets!

Each one of these areas (and the many other initiatives that we are undertaking, not mentioned here) are worthy of their own piece and when I get the time I might just give them the time they deserve!

The Big challenge once I have gotten to grips with the Eco-gas, is minimising the carbon footprint of the dental equipment that we use.  This one is tricky because there isn’t much appetite in the dental industry for this type of thinking most of it tends to be determined by cost, but I aim to change that, even if only in a small way!

Bob Is the practice manager at the Natural Smile Dental you can also  pick up more tips on the Natural Smile’ facebook page.