Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Which Ingredients to Avoid in Toothpaste

“You will brush your teeth 1,000 times per year or more, and each time you do, you will ingest some toothpaste. If you think that is not a problem, think again.  Some of the ingredients in many commercial types of toothpaste are undeniably bad for you.”  Dr. Harold Katz, DDS, Founder of the California Breath Clinics.
Let’s face it, toothpaste is BIG business.  I mean, have you looked at the dental isle in the markets?  With one paste claiming great for sensitivity, one for whitening, one for remineralizing teeth, and even ones that do a quick all in one, it’s honestly baffling and mind blowing to try and choose what one is best…..I know I feel that way, and I’m a hygienist!!
This is a big topic for me.  Personally, I feel the least amount of ingredients in toothpaste the better, I find that rarely do toothpastes “deal” with the problem; instead they mask the issue at best.  Here is a list of the most frequent dangers in traditional toothpastes.

Ingredients to Avoid in Toothpaste

Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (most toothpaste on the market)

Sodium lauryl sulfate is a surfactant, detergent and emulsifier used in thousands of cosmetic products, as well as in industrial cleaners. A study appearing in Exogenous Dermatology confirmed SLS to be a very “corrosive irritant” to the skin—irritation which persisted in research subjects for 3 weeks.SLS damages the tissues by stripping the skin of its protective oils and moisture.  SLS dries the tissue, and is thought to cause canker sores, and in lab rats, the ingredient led to depression, diarrhea and death.  The U.S. National Institutes of Health recommends using other ingredients in toothpaste because of the side effects of sodium lauryl sulfate.


Fluoride is a naturally occurring element found in the earth. It is found in small amounts in the air, water and in some plants. Just because it is a naturally occurring component of the environment does not mean it is good for humans to ingest. A study by B.K. Drummond and M.E.J. Curzon, published in the 1985 issue of the “Journal of Dental Research,” on the ingestion of toothpastes by children, found that the fluoride was absorbed into the body through the mouth from brushing with fluoride toothpastes. The conclusion was that parents should closely monitor the use of fluoride toothpaste in their children. The EPA considers fluoride a toxin.
Exposure to high levels (30 times the amount found in fluoridated water) of fluoride can cause skeletal fluorosis causing joint pain, limited range of joint movement and more brittle bones with a higher rate of fracture. Much of the concern over fluoride in toothpaste arises from the combination of higher amounts of fluoride in water, fluoride products used to protect tooth enamel and naturally occurring fluorides in plants for an overall increase of total ingested fluoride.  If you must use fluoride toothpaste, consider one with sodium fluoride.

Stannous Fluoride (Crest Pro Health)

Stannous fluoride found in pastes can stain teeth, affect your taste buds, cause gum reactions and may interfere with permanent repair (remineralization) of the tooth.

Triclosan (Colgate Total)

Triclosan is an anti-microbial and antifungal agent listed as a pesticide and is used in everything ranging from antibacterial soaps, deodorants, acne medications, and Colgate Total tooth paste. The Environmental Protection Agency demanded more research be conducted because of Triclosan’s negative effects on thyroid and estrogen levels. Troubling results from animal studies showed that it could reduce levels of thyroid hormones, which play a key role in regulating metabolism. Other recent studies suggest that long-term use of products containing Triclosan can increase bacteria’s resistance to antibiotics.


Sorbitol is used as a preservative and a sweetener in toothpaste. It is a non-nutritive sweetener that can have a laxative effect. Sorbitol draws water into the large intestine and stimulates bowel movements, and is thought to be partially responsible for acid reflux.

Tartar Control Toothpastes

Many tartar control toothpastes are acidic, which often leads to increased sensitivity. They may dissolve some of the buildup, but the acidity pulls calcium from the teeth which can actually form more buildup. The acidity also encourages more plaque to grow.

FD&C blue dye No. 2

FD&C blue dye No. 2  is in many toothpastes, but the Center for Science in the Public Interest warns against it as it might be related to learning and behavioral issues, severe allergic reactions and other health problems.

Now it seems as if it is doom and gloom for poor old toothpaste, but fear not, there are quite a few brands that go out of their way to create toothpastes that are effective and healthy.  What nutritionists recommend you stick to with food should apply to oral care products as well.
Look for toothpaste with natural ingredients like essential oils.  The Tooth and Gums line has a great antiseptic toothpaste, Vita-Myr has a line of toothpastes that are herbal and contain things like xylitol and CoQ10 for both children and adultsXylitol is an excellent cavity fighting sweetener used by companies like Vita-Myr, Branam and SquigleWeleda oral care products are good alternatives as well.
Tell us below in the comments:  What toothpaste do you use?



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