Turning to natural alternatives for toothpaste can throw up some conundrums. “Dentists would generally caution against the use of natural toothpaste, as most natural brands do not contain fluoride in them, a chemical compound that strengthens tooth enamel, prevents decay and promotes remineralisation – which are all essential to maintain good oral health and overall health,” Kagan Williams, the founder of Aussie dental-care brand Peg Paste, tells Broadsheet.

For many it’s a toss-up between sticking to their chemical-free, eco-friendly values, and protecting their teeth. Williams hopes to change that, with a toothpaste made with hydroxyapatite, which she says is a “dentist-approved, 100 per cent non-toxic alternative to fluoride, which has been proven to be just as effective [as fluoride]”.

Some people may opt to avoid fluoride due to fluorosis, a cosmetic condition caused by ingesting too much fluoride during the development of teeth that can cause discolouration or streaks and spots on the teeth. Other people may avoid it because of allergies, a preference for chemical-free products or concern about overexposure to fluoride where the local water is treated with fluoride (most urban areas of Australia).

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Williams developed Peg Paste’s first toothpaste over three years with cosmetic scientist Ayla Shepherd. It’s natural-mint-flavoured, and along with zero fluoride contains no sulfates, toxins or parabens, and hasn’t been tested on animals. The toothpaste does contain calcium carbonate, a natural abrasive that removes plaque, and prebiotics for balancing bacteria and supporting gut and immune function.

“When I first came up with the idea of creating a toothpaste while pregnant with my first child, it was my background and personal values that guided me and influenced decisions,” says Williams. “I wanted the product to be as … chemical-free as possible, without compromising on efficacy.”

Williams also hoped to address the impracticality and wastefulness of traditional toothpaste packaging – and the result is a nifty pump bottle that’ll look good next to your bathroom sink. The bottle holds double the toothpaste as a regular tube – meaning you don’t have to replace it as often – and its airless design means no product is wasted towards the end. Once the bottle is empty, you can throw it in with your regular household recycling, from where it can be made into new plastic packaging.

“My girl-math says that one unit of recyclable packaging is better than two units of packaging that gets thrown into landfill,” says Williams. There are more products on the way – but not for the sake of it.

“When it comes to new product development, we are guided by our community of health-focused consumers and professional experts about what oral health products are actually needed, opposed to what is ‘trendy’. We don’t need more products, we need better ones.”


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