Ever wondered why there are so many toothpastes to choose from?

We spend millions on a dizzying array of powders and pastes, but are they necessary?


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Fennel & Propolis toothpaste

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Before anyone could possibly get the wrong idea, we don’t mean that brushing and flossing your teeth is unnecessary. It is…very.

But the big brand toothpaste we all spend our hard earned cash to buy, to the tune of some £9 billion globally by 2020 is a luxury addition to the oral hygiene armoury, not its chief weapon.

The first “toothpaste” that can be found in historical records dates back to the 4th Century BC from which a scroll has survived containing a recipe for “a powder for white and perfect teeth”.

Before the widespread use of powders and ‘dental creams’ all sorts of materials were used by humans to clean their teeth; crushed eggshells, pumice, soot, salt and even burnt horses' hooves.

Even isolated tribes in remote corners of the earth know to use sticks and plants to rub their teeth and gums to keep them clean. After all, you won’t find too many dental hygienists or oral surgeons in the rainforests or Serengeti hinterlands.

The point is that toothpaste is not soap or a cleanser in its own right, it’s the act of brushing that scrapes away the plaque that damages enamel and causes tooth decay.

It’s also regular brushing that invigorates the gums and cleans the space between tissue and teeth preventing gum disease.


It’s not the toothpaste doing the work; its you.


Of course some toothpastes have added active ingredients which act as whiteners, or anti-inflammatories, or enamel strengtheners, or analgesic any or all of which may be recommended by your dentist and may prove useful depending on your particular case.

But in the main when you buy commercial brand toothpaste you are purchasing the flavouring, the suds or foam and the promises of protection from plaque and bacteria.

All of these ‘effects’ are produced by added chemical agents and they are all unnecessary to the task at hand, which is to clean away the debris of food and any plaque that is already forming over the teeth and gums.

There is no other way to remove this than to scrape it away using a brush (which reached about 60% of the surfaces of your teeth and floss to reach the other parts.


In fact some dentists recommend doing this once a week with water only as a sure way to give a rigorous cleaning to the teeth.


It is also true that the many added chemicals ( just try reading the label of a tube of toothpaste sometime), even the added fluoride that most commercial brands contain, can be a cause of irritation to some users.

The agent that causes toothpaste to foam, usually sodium lauryl sulphate (or SLS) is known to cause blistering and mouth sores in some people.

But it is this combination of vague protection, a clean taste and the action of foaming that the manufacturers are selling, even though none of them actually cleans your teeth.

The Colgate company, originally a producer of soaps, invented an “aromatic dental cream” in 1873; in 1896 it sold the first toothpaste in a tube and the industry has never really looked back ever since.


It is no coincidence that the first UK television Ad was for toothpaste; advertising and convincing the public of its technological basis in science had been a mainstay of toothpaste marketing.


Older readers may remember the colgate “ring of confidence” when the product claimed to “clean your breath as its cleans your teeth”….nice, and wholly untrue…how can breath be “cleaned”.

In more recent times it has claimed that “80% of dentists recommend it”, a claim it was forced to withdraw in 2012 because there was no evidence whatsoever to support it.

But I am not suggesting for a second that Colgate is any better or worse than its rivals, or that any of them have anything but the best of motives.

All I am saying is that the best way to keep your teeth clean is through regular brushing with a gently abrasive medium, everything else is just added ‘benefits”.


But God help you if you don’t like mint or spearmint.


The MHM shop does offer an entirely natural, chemical-free toothpaste, check it out


Fennel toothpast pack shot

Most mass produced toothpastes focus on 'freshness and whiteness', promising both but offering little more than a selection of flavours and 'plaque protection'.

They're trying to convince you that each version is a minor chemical miracle, a magical substance with extraordinary powers.

That's why most toothpastes produce so much foam.

It’s basically soap, the foam is to make you feel like it’s the product that cleans your teeth and not your brushing.

But to make that foam, and substantiate the claim that it offers protection between brushes, the manufacturers have used chemicals like sodium lauryl sulphate, triclosan, sorbitol and calcium carbonate; just try reading the list of ingredients on the tube in your bathroom.

Then ask yourself why something you put into your mouth two or three times a day carries a warning not to swallow it.


The purpose should be to aid brushing not replace it

The way you brush and the frequency of brushing are much more important than what you put on your toothbrush.

And brushing can only ever clean 60% of the surface, that’s why you need to floss as well.

To be any help at all in removing food debris and plaque toothpaste should act as a mild abrasive, enhancing the brushing to literally scrape away the food particles that form plaque and attract the bacteria that cause gum disease and tooth decay.

Our ancestors used salt, coal dust and even powdered shells.

The ‘mild abrasives’ used in most popular toothpastes today include the likes of aluminium hydroxide, silica, hydroxyapatite and calcium hydrogen phosphates.

It’s not ‘wrong’, or ‘bad’, it’s just unnecessary.


Then they add fluoride...

Virtually every major brand of toothpaste contains fluoride.

Fluoride prevents tooth decay but is also toxic in large doses.

Since the 1950’s most of industrialised countries have, at some point or other, administered fluoride to the general populace through the fluoridation of the public water supply.

In many of those countries the practice has attracted some controversy and several; including Germany, Sweden, Japan, The Netherlands, Israel and Russia; have now stopped.

In the UK we still practice public water fluoridation, so the chances are that you and your family are already ingesting levels of fluoride every day.

It’s inclusion in your toothpaste allows the manufacturers to claim it offers lasting protection, but opinions vary as to how much it adds to the existing exposure.

In any case, shouldn’t it be your choice whether you take more or not.?


There is a natural and effective alternative

Fennel toothpast pack shot

Made from organically grown fennel, clove, cinnamon, myhrr and propolis.

A certified organic SLS-free, fluoride-free 100% natural toothpaste for sensitive gums; effective and anti-bacterial: 

•             Fennel flavour

•             Suitable for people with bleeding gums

•             Effective antibacterial action

•             Mint-free formulation

•             Contains antioxidant Olive Leaf extract which helps protect gums 

•             No hydrocarbons or aluminium contamination

 If you’ve ever experienced discomfort using a household brand toothpaste, or if you just want to be sure of the ingredients you’re using every day, you owe it to yourself to try this entirely safe, natural, alternative.

 Suitable for vegetarians.

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