Some points bear repeating: The main purpose of toothpaste is to act as an abrasive, making it easier to break up the microbial colonies that form “plaque.” (It’s actually called dental biofilm.) A good number of ingredients put into mainstream pastes – from fluoride to SLS to triclosan – are things you neither want nor need.
“Natural” toothpastes largely avoid such ingredients. Instead, they may be souped up with antimicrobial herbs and essential oils. They’re not necessary either, but at least they won’t damage your gums or otherwise compromise your health.
But what about the newer brands that are infused with vitamins? We stumbled upon one of these recently: Vitacare. It looked intriguing, containing none of the bad stuff but lots of “good”: calcium, xylitol, aloe and vitamins A, C, D and E. There’s also Vitacare rinse and gum, as well as toothbrushes made of “100% biodegradable and recycled materials.”
We ended up buying some to try. And you know what? It’s nice! Good taste. Good abrasion. But you know what else?
The vitamins in it aren’t apt to do much good.
After all, you’re applying them topically – that is, to the surfaces of your teeth. A small amount might be absorbed through the gum tissue, but on the whole, the nutrients seem to have more to do with marketing than oral health. Their presence on the label serves as a signal to health-conscious consumers. Their presence in the product doesn’t necessarily make it superior or healthier in any way.
As ever, your best source of vitamins and minerals isn’t products to which they’ve been added, of course, but whole food. If necessary, high quality, whole food supplements can bolster your intake or support better absorption.
Just don’t expect your toothpaste to help out. Expect it to help you clean the yuck off your teeth. It’s what it exists to do.