There's nothing like a fresh mouth to wake you up in the morning — or keep you from indulging in late-night dessert! Strangely enough for health products, toothpastes and mouthwashes contain some pretty toxic ingredients, including saccharine, artificial colors and flavors, and parabens.


Because they're not designed to be swallowed, and therefore not considered a foodstuff, these chemicals are allowed in oral care products even though we all end up swallowing some every time we brush. And the mouth is a highly absorptive environment to boot, so I prefer to play it safe and use natural teeth care products — all of which work just as well as the over-sweetened, chemical, too-foamy, Aquafreshes and Crests of the world. And no, they don't cost much more. Over the last 15 years, I've tried pretty much every toothbrush and toothpaste, mouthwash and natural floss out there, and these are my faves. 


Best toothbrush: Source from Radius

I have been using my Source toothbrush for going on four years now — well, at least the same handle! I've replaced the brushing heads many times since then, but that's the beauty of this toothbrush. You only replace the head (which is a nice wide one) when it's needed, not the whole handle (which in the case of the Source, is made from recycled materials, like dollar bills, flax or wood). Since the head is only 7 percent by weight of the whole thing, this is not only saving plastic, but shipping fuel too. Feels great in the hand, and is way less wasteful than throwing away the whole (plastic) toothbrush every time. 


Best toothpaste: Toms of Maine

There are other great natural toothpastes out there besides Toms, but when it comes to acting just like conventional toothpastes, just without the toxic chemicals (check the label, some Toms contain fluoride, which many natural health advocates suggest avoiding), Toms is the winner. My fave is the antiplaque plus whitening (fluoride-free) variety. My second runner-up fave is JASON's Nutrismile Plus CoQ-10 in orange-mint flavor (which does contain fluoride, so I don't use it much, but if you want fluoride, this one's a good way to go). 


Best floss: Cranberry by Radius

It might seem weird, but cranberries help prevent plaque — and since floss is the only material that can really get in between each tooth, it actually makes sense to use floss that's got cranberry in it, like this one made by Radius. Coated with beeswax, it runs evenly through teeth, and no toxic, GMO or artificial ingredients are used in this stuff. Even Dr. Oz recommends it!


Best mouthwash: JASON Sea Fresh Mouthwash

Made with seaweed, minerals and sea salts, this stuff is refreshing and tastes great (it contains mint too!), as well as perilla seed extract, which "fights sugar acids." I'm not totally sure what this means, but it works great as a mouthwash and won't scare your guests away if they use it. So many regular mouthwashes are so overly sweet it turns my stomach, but this is fresh and healthy-mouth supporting without sugar-flavor overkill. 

Starre Vartan ( @ecochickie ) covers conscious consumption, health and science as she travels the world exploring new cultures and ideas.

Clean, green and toxin-free mouth care
Try these toothbrushes, toothpastes, flosses, and mouthwashes for a chemical-free smile.