In search of toothpastes that are hard on plaque but easy on the planet, I asked five high-profile dentists to name their favorite eco-friendly brands. My caveat: The docs couldn't have any affiliation with their pastes of choice.
EMANUEL LAYLIEV directs the New York Center for Cosmetic Dentistry. His celebrity clients include Tom Brady, Padma Lakshmi, and Clinton Kelly.
"My favorite is Tom's of Maine Whole Care. Unlike other natural toothpastes, it's a gel in which fluoride serves as a naturally sourced ingredient. It comes in such flavors as peppermint, spearmint, and orange-mango -- all made from real flavor oils rather than artificial sweeteners. Tom's contains naturally sourced fluoride for remineralization and silica derived from sand for tartar control. It's eco-friendly in every dimension." $5 for a 5.5-oz. tube
"I love PerioPaste from Bio-Pro Dental. It's made with organic wild-crafted herbs and has a fresh, minty taste. It naturally and effectively whitens teeth without using titanium dioxide or sodium lauryl sulfate (a foaming agent). PerioPaste uses coenzyme Q10 and folic acid to support healthy gums, and xylitol, a natural cavity fighter and fluoride alternative. PerioPaste is not tested on animals, its packaging can be recycled, and it's economical because the concentrated formula lasts a long time -- you only need a pea-size amount for each brushing." About $8 for a 4-oz. tube
MITCH MARDER, of Seattle's Integrated Dentistry, brings alternative methods such as acupuncture, herbal treatments, and homeopathy into conventional dental procedures.
"Coral White uses ionic coral minerals that are harvested from above the sea, earning its ingredients both EcoSafe and organic certifications. The toothpaste alkalinizes the mouth's pH, neutralizing bacterial acids that cause tooth decay and gum disease. It also includes hydrogen peroxide for whitening and bacterial reduction; mint oils for flavoring; and echinacea, goldenseal, and ginkgo for their antimicrobial properties. It's free of fluoride, sodium lauryl sulfate, and potentially toxic preservatives, colorings, and flavorings." $7 for a 6-oz. tube
JOE KRAVITZ is a Washington, D.C.-area dentist and the author of Dirty Mouth, a book about how food choices affect dental health. He was named a "top doc" by Washingtonian magazine.
"I am proud to share a TOOTHPASTE RECIPE that is not only environmentally safe but also a superb DIY alternative that's effective in fighting cavities and gum disease: Mix 1/2 teaspoon of sodium bicarbonate, 10 drops of water, 1 to 2 drops of peppermint oil, and 1 to 2 drops of tea-tree oil. The result: a fresh and cool peppermint flavor. Using this recipe, you can reverse the damaging effects of acids, eliminate bad breath, and strengthen teeth -- all while reducing your carbon footprint."
DAVID FIELDS of Fields Cosmetic and Family Dentistry was nominated as his state's top family doctor by New Jersey Family magazine. He maintains a nearly paperless office by sending insurance claims (and soon, he hopes, prescriptions) electronically.
"Kiss My Face Triple Action has a pleasing minty flavor and is a smooth gel, not gritty. I especially like the ingredients coenzyme Q10, an antioxidant found in our bodies, and tea-tree oil, a natural antibacterial agent. It contains no sodium lauryl sulfate, artificial colors, flavors, sweeteners, or animal ingredients. It's all natural and contains organic aloe vera." $6 for a 3.4-oz. tube