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Why You Need Natural Toothpaste and Deodorant

Harper's Bazaar logo Harper's Bazaar 8/12/2019 Jenna Rosenstein
a person posing for the camera: The Harper's Bazaar Clean Beauty Guide to choosing a natural, aluminum-free deodorant and a on-toxic toothpaste. Plus, everything you need to know about charcoal toothpaste. © Daniel Thomas Smith The Harper's Bazaar Clean Beauty Guide to choosing a natural, aluminum-free deodorant and a on-toxic toothpaste. Plus, everything you need to know about charcoal toothpaste.

Let’s get one fact out of the way:

All the science to date suggests there is no definitive link between aluminum-based antiperspirant use and breast cancer. Studies have shown that underarm skin actually absorbs very little aluminum—only about 0.01 percent. But what about when you shave your armpits, then apply a swipe of antiperspirant? The absorption rate of aluminum goes up to 0.06 percent on pre-damaged skin, and a 2017 “retrospective study showed an earlier age of disease onset in breast cancer patients that had used aluminum-containing antiperspirants combined with underarm shaving.”

The National Cancer Institute and leading scientists have called for large-scale epidemiological studies of the relationship between aluminum-based antiperspirants and the risk of breast cancer, but so far, no conclusive evidence has been found to label antiperspirants toxic. Our suggestion? Play it semi-safe: Switch to a natural deodorant on the days you shave, then use your aluminum-based antiperspirant on the days you don’t. Here are five natural deodorants formulas our editors trust.

a close up of a plant: Why You Need Natural Toothpaste and Deodorant © Hearst Owned Why You Need Natural Toothpaste and Deodorant

Charcoal Toothpaste Might Actually Cause Tooth Decay

Charcoal is the CBD of the oral care market—it’s everywhere and in everything. Kendall Jenner is even hawking a charcoal-based tooth brand called Moon on her Instagram. Fans of charcoal-infused toothpaste claim it whitens teeth and freshens breath better than a dollop of any other toothpaste on drugstore shelves, but a new study calls into question the supposed health benefits.

A review in the British Dental Journal from earlier this year found that charcoal provides little protection against tooth decay, and there is limited scientific evidence to support the other health claims. In fact, adding powdered charcoal to toothpaste can actually make things worse. "When used too often in people with fillings, it can get into them and become difficult to get out," Dr. Joseph Greenwall-Cohen, coauthor of the study from the University of Manchester Dental School, told the BBC. "Charcoal particles can also get caught up in the gums and irritate them." Charcoal is also ineherently abrasive, which could cause damage to your enamel over time.

The review also pointed out that many charcoal-infused and natural toothpastes are formulated without fluoride, which dentists strongly recommend for preventing tooth decay. (Some studies have suggested a topical application of fluoride may be ultimately more effective than ingesting it through drinking water.) However, if you live in an area with fluoride in your drinking water and sit in a dentist’s chair once or twice a year, you’d likely be fine brushing with a non-fluoridated natural toothpaste.

THE BOTTOM LINE

Use charcoal toothpaste if you absolutely love having your mouth turn a stunning shade of black, but don’t expect it to magically cure dental issues in the absence of proper oral hygiene.

a close up of a sign: Why You Need Natural Toothpaste and Deodorant © Hearst Owned Why You Need Natural Toothpaste and Deodorant a close up of a logo: Why You Need Natural Toothpaste and Deodorant © Hearst Owned Why You Need Natural Toothpaste and Deodorant

a close up of a logo: Why You Need Natural Toothpaste and Deodorant © Hearst Owned Why You Need Natural Toothpaste and Deodorant

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