BodyBannerLast year I stopped using Crest and Colgate for good.

I made the switch to natural toothpastes in an effort to reduce my chemical exposure from bath and beauty products. (Read about why you need to stop using commercial body washes and switch to Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soap here.)

Specifically, I was looking to go fluoride-free and sodium lauryl sulfate-free.

Crest’s active ingredient is fluoride and these are its inactive ingredients:


A few words on the ingredients in your toothpaste.

Sodium Fluoride

Sodium fluoride is an anti-cavity agent, but it is also a toxin. As by-product of aluminum manufacturing, it can also be found in rat poisons and industrial pesticides. According to the Akron Regional Poison Center, ingesting 1/10 of an ounce of fluoride can kill a 100-lb. adult. Ingesting even a small amount of sodium fluoride may cause nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.

Sodium Lauryl Sulfate

Sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) is added as a detergent and cleansing agent and pose a wide range of potential health risks. SLS can damage eyes, irritate skin and lead to labored breathing. According to the American College of Toxicology, SLS may stay within the body for up to five days, accumulating in the heart, liver, lungs and brain. When combined with certain chemicals, sodium laurel sulfate transforms into nitrosamines, a class of powerful carcinogens that cause the body to absorb harmful nitrates.

Propylene Glycol

Propylene glycol is an active ingredient in anti-freeze. The Material Safety Data Sheets for propylene glycol warn that the chemical can be rapidly absorbed through the skin, with prolonged contact leading to brain, liver and kidney abnormalities. The EPA requires its workers to wear protective gloves, clothing and goggles when working with it. And yet, the FDA says it’s all good to put in our mouths.

Fluoride is also known to calcify the pineal gland.

So as a spiritual experiment, I wanted to reduce my fluoride exposure to see if limiting it would positively affect my meditation and connectivity. Over the past year my connection and awareness has improved exponentially, but I’ve also been meditating a lot more during that time. I can’t say that cutting down on fluoride was responsible for this boost alone, but I’m hoping that it helped.

Our tap water is already full of fluoride. I’m sure we’ll be fine if we pass on getting more of it from our toothpaste.

In contrast, here’s a pic of Jason’s ingredients:


The ingredients in JASON is mostly oil based, while Crest is a mystery box of chemicals. It’s your choice.

I use JASON, and so far they have kept my teeth so fresh, so clean, and cavity-free.




JASON is $6.50 a tube on their website. You can also pick some up at Whole Foods and Amazon.

Tom’s is also a natural, fluoride-free toothpaste, but it contains SLS.


While we’re on the topic of good oral hygiene, make sure to floss after every meal.

Use Oral-B Glide floss. It’s super smooth and easy to use. It’s the best hands down. $6 for a 2-pack on Amazon.



And now story time–

My Painful History with Teeth

I had really horrible teeth as a kid.

When I was four, I ate so much candy that my back molars rotted and I had to have silver caps put on them.

I had more bling in the back of my mouth than a young Mike Tyson.



I must find this vending machine.

When I was a Kindergartener, I had my first “looth-tooth” and excitedly told my mom about it while sitting in the back row of our 1992 Mazda MPV.

Anyone else suffer long hours of their childhood in the 3rd row of this beast? What was with that tiny crack of a window back there... ah the misery.

Anyone else suffer long hours of their childhood in the 3rd row of this beast? What was with that tiny crack of a window back there… oh the misery.


Big mistake.

My mom slammed on the brakes.

She lunged at me with this crazy look in her eye, telling me that she “just wanted to see it and wiggle it for a second”.

She lied.

Instead she gripped my chin and punched out that tooth with her thumb all in one forceful swoop.

I spent that ride back home from piano practice crying, cupping my tooth in one hand, wiping the drooling snot away with the other, while sucking on an endless stream of my own blood.


And all that for what?! A silver dollar under my pillow that I was never going to cash in because I thought it was a collector’s item?

Only for fairies.

Fairy currency.

Let’s just say that after that traumatic experience, I never released any breaking tooth news to my mom again.

In fact, I refused to pull out any more of my teeth, which was a really bad move, since it forced me to get injected by needles that were longer than my face and have my teeth yanked out with wrenches. Ouch.

I once met a dentist named Dr. Payne.

I know a dentist named Dr. Payne. True story. 

The only positive experience I had with a tooth removal was the one time I was gassed.

The children’s gas was flavored, and I chose bubble gum.

That dentistry was the coolest. Unlimited Pac Man in the waiting room, and a wall of prizes to choose from at the end of the check up. I always went for the awesome balsa wood gliders, of course.

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The best part about getting gassed was that this dentist let me take the nose piece home with me.

Every time I took a huge whiff of that Bubblicious goodness, I got pleasantly lightheaded and happy. I kept this baby locked up in an airtight, freezer Ziplock bag and secretly buried it in my desk drawer. It provided two full weeks of heavenly bliss.

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Smells like bubblegum, feels like awesome.

At 10, my teeth started growing in horrendously, making me look like Cletus’s daughter.

Like Gummy Sue Spuckler, I also had one big “Choppah.”

I probably could have opened a can of soda with that tooth. Or Whoop Ass.


That year my mom told me not smile on Picture Day.

For my 4th and 5th grade school picture I listened and held a tight-lipped smile for the camera. But in 6th grade, I said F#$% it, and had the biggest, wackest smile ever, in all it’s pre-braces glory!

I looked like the world’s first Korean Redneck. It was hot.

In 5th grade, I was just a gross kid on so many levels.

I wore the same clothes everyday to school for the whole year. Red plaid flannel shorts (a tongue twister!) with a matching hoodie (looking back, this probably embarrassed the shit out of my parents on Parent-Teacher-conference day. I’m sorry Mom and Dad).

I also had this streak where I just decided not to brush my teeth for over a month straight.

I got more satisfaction from letting the plaque build up on my big Choppah, and then scraping it off with my fingernail, than having minty fresh teeth.

My teeth became yellow. Dangerously yellow. Like Simpsons yellow.

If my future wife is reading this– don’t judge. We all go through phases…


This odd behavior eventually morphed into getting immense pleasure from scraping off the lint from the inside of a computer mouse. Didn’t you just love that feeling too? So damn satisfying!



I bet YOU had braces for 2-3 years.

I had them for six.

It took that long partially because I had some really effed up teeth, but mainly because my Korean orthodontist was 100 miles away in LA’s Koreatown.

It became a hassle for my parents to drive down there to get my braces tightened every month, so we ended up going once every two months instead.

Consequently, over half my life later, I finally got my braces off the day before junior prom. I was definitely more excited about this new freedom than the dance. I couldn’t stop licking the front of my teeth.

The only words that came out of my mouth that night were, “It feels so smooth! It feels sooo smoooth!”

Who wants to go to prom?

Who wants to go to prom with this hunk of metal?

I might have started my life with British tendencies, but thankfully I recovered.


Make sure you brush often and use the right toothpaste, aiight?

This is just one more reason why you should cut sugar out of your diet. Read about why sugar is the worst food for your body here.

And to close, here’s Mitch Hedberg with some classic teeth jokes. Enjoy!


Photo Sources: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18