Tuesday, June 16, 2009

reflections on raw and white teeth

Raw foodism isn't always just about raw foods, oddly enough. Folks willing to adopt one alternative paradigm are often willing to consider other alternative paradigms. One topic I'd noticed coming up in blogs and discussion forums was the idea that conventional mass-produced toothpaste wasn't all that good for you. People were critiquing flouride as both inefficient at doing what it was supposed to do (fight cavities) and downright harmful. They also mentioned that the glycerin in toothpaste (which even the natural brands contain) created a barrier that prevented re-enamelization. I'd never heard of the idea that teeth might be able to re-enamel themselves before.

Alternatives people mentioned included some I didn't try (like oil pulling) and some I did (brushing with tooth soap, brushing with coconut oil followed by charcoal). I did find that my teeth felt really clean using these options, but there was a significant downside no one had mentioned: I have no idea if my teeth would have ever begun the process of re-enamelization, but I did notice that without the glycerin barrier there was nothing to keep my green juices and green smoothies from staining my teeth. The resulting stains were worse than coffee had ever been and I was beginning to look like Austin Powers.

I'm guessing that a lot of the folks who are using tooth soap are relatively young. My teeth didn't stain as quickly when I was younger. All I know is that I couldn't take it anymore. I started resorting to over the counter whiteners, including Lysterine Quick Dissolve Whitening Strips and the Rembrandt 2 hour Whitening Kit. Nothing was dissolving those Austin Powers stains. Finally I tried Crest Vivid White and Vivid White Night toothpaste. Something about the grittiness of the toothpaste along with the bleaching agents managed to get the last of those stains off. Now I'm using a combination of all three: Lysterine Dissolving Strips on the road, periodic bleaching with the Rembrandt kit and daily brushing with both the Vivid Whites.

My fellow raw foodies, so passionate about all things natural, are probably horrified by the level of chemicals I'm putting in my mouth, but for now it's working for me. And you won't cringe when I smile.


  1. As a anathema to all the raw movement in some (though not all) of my behavior, I realize I have little credibility.

    Still, I maintain what I said about this in the first place... While it is certainly true that we eat lots of stuff we shouldn't, modern Americans still have the best teeth in the history of human existence. And Crest (et. al.) are largely responsible.

    Plus green teeth=grossy.

  2. Actually, there's quite a bit of evidence that that's only true of Europeans and that elsewhere teeth were much healthier without all that intervention.

  3. That's an interesting blog post. Thanks for sharing!


  4. My daughter refuses to use toothpaste with fluoride but I still use it. I spent too much time in braces to let my teeth go bad now. Although I have used plain baking soda with some success. Didn't notice any staining during that time and I had a big diet coke habit at that time.

  5. hah, i noticed the same thing recently after using tooth soap for a month or so. My teeth were gradually gretting greener (from the green smoothies). I still had some toothpaste with whitener in it and used that for a couple of days and it came off. I read the label of the tooth soap and I see they recommend a natural tooth brightener product so I've just got that and will use it for now.