Let me begin by saying that while I am environmentally conscious, I have never been prone to using or buying non-toxic anything. I have also never given particular thought to my toothpaste and how it may be harming the environment and – let’s be honest, this is far more important – myself.
My first introduction to natural toothpaste came in the form of Faithful To Nature’s weekly newsletter in 2015. I’d signed up so as to keep my finger on the pulse of all things green. As a health writer, I must keep abreast of these developments. And there it was, nestled between miscellanea of Yoni eggs, turmeric tea and hemp bedding: Olgani Mineral Rich Evening Toothpaste.
I scrolled past this and went on to read about Yoni eggs, which entertained me immensely.
It wasn’t long until we were sent a tube of Mineral Rich Evening Toothpaste to try. Per an oral hygienist, commercial toothpaste can be abrasive, leading to the formation of canker sores and even allergic reactions. This was a revelation! Could my trusty toothpaste, charged with maintaining minty fresh breath, be the cause of my dental downfall? I claimed the natural toothpaste from the press drop and rushed home to remedy the situation.
My first experience was not the stuff of adverts. The toothpaste was grey, it tasted really funny and I just couldn’t tolerate the texture. I spat it out and lamented that nature couldn’t be a little more forgiving.
Three years down the line, natural toothpaste is nothing new. Almost every other Instagrammer on my TL seems to be making their own or are enamoured by a different brand. I, on the other hand, have stuck to the bleached stuff with colourful stripes in them. They taste nice. They foam. This line of reasoning is obviously crumbling: natural products are taking over and there is more and more research to back it. “Patients don’t realise that it is your brushing technique and oral health habits that keep the mouth clean,” says Marelize Maree, dental hygienist at Dr Brecher Incorporated. “Adding chemicals to the wrong brushing methods or bad oral habits can add to further oral health problems.”
Added to this is a new study that landed in my inbox just weeks ago: theobromine, an extract from cocoa, is shown to treat dental hypersensitivity better than fluoride. I am flummoxed. Stunned. Shook! Could chocolate truly be the Chosen Bean? Already able to heal the heart (from both heartbreak and disease), could it also be the Elixir Of Life for teeth? Once again, I jumped at the opportunity, forgetting my previous foray into nature. This time, I went away for a week on a press trip and had only the tube of Olgani Mighty Cocoa Toothpaste to help me keep my pearls white and breath fresh as I mingled and networked. I was in this for the long run, texture be damned!
The toothpaste could be called the Holy Grail of Teeth: it contains cocoa – with magical component theobromine, turmeric, an antiseptic, antibacterial wonder, activated charcoal (duh) and Olgani’s signature “NutrireB blend of mineral-rich rice flour, Himalayan salt, sesame and coconut oil”, per the press release. I was all set to be my Goopy Best.
I woke up on Friday morning in a hotel room and braced myself. This was the first day of the rest of my life. This was the moment I closed the door forever on fluoride and embraced coconut oil. I pulled my shoulders back and looked at myself in the mirror.
The toothpaste was on the brush. It was a dark, chocolatey colour. So far, so good. I proceeded to water the brush (upon further investigation, I read that you’re not meant to do this – your saliva acts as a natural lubricant, obvs) and placed the toothbrush in my mouth. My tastebuds gave me a suspicious side-eye. What was this new emulsion? It didn’t taste like chocolate, but rather salty with a light suggestion of cocoa. Strangely enough, I didn’t gag. Rejoice! It didn’t taste disgusting, just different. The paste didn’t foam, but there was more than enough to go around. More than that, I didn’t have that sharp sensation in my mouth that you get when you have menthol or lemon or some other sharp flavour. The best part came after I’d swilled and rinsed my mouth. There was no sharpness! None of that ugh sensation you get after brushing where coffee or orange juice or even water is off-limits. Rather, my mouth felt clean but totally normal. I bounced into breakfast and everything tasted amazing – no Clash Of The Chemicals!
A week and a bit later, I’m still using Mighty Cocoa. It’s a relief that it tastes okay. In a lot of ways, I think that’s the drawcard for natural stuff – it needs to still be a cool experience, or nobody will bother. Olgani nailed it with this one. Plus – chocolate, hello?! Better yet, my mouth feels better. I’m not wincing from the sharp mintiness, the clash of coffee with Colgate, and my breath does not, in fact, smell like a garlic factory. This is a win for me.
Women’s Health – By Michelle October