“9/10 dentists recommend this toothpaste.”
You have likely heard this phrase in one of those enthusiastic toothpaste commercials. I always wonder what that tenth dentist was thinking.
Why did he reject a toothpaste that his nine peers supported? Perhaps he had a personal vendetta against the other nine.
As it turns out, many kinds of toothpaste are not as innocent as they seem. Imagine my surprise when I discovered the hidden dangers in store-bought toothpaste!
Shockingly, many commonly used ingredients in toothpaste are guilty of harming the body at specific dosages. The detrimental effects range from endocrine disruption to skin rashes.
No wonder some health care practitioners hesitate when recommending certain kinds of toothpaste. To the defiant tenth dentist: this one is for you.
Embalming fluid in my toothpaste?
Formaldehyde is a common preservative that halts the decomposition process in decaying organisms. It is often utilized as an embalming fluid for dead specimens. That’s right.
The same additive from your high school biology dissections is also present in your toothpaste.
Small amounts of formaldehyde in toothpaste kills bacteria in the mouth. Nevertheless, high rates of ingestion are fatal.
Mallinckrodt Chemicals, an international chemical company, suspects chronic exposure to formaldehyde may cause a concoction of afflictions.
On formaldehyde’s Material Safety Data Sheet, the company suspects vision impairment, allergic reactions and liver enlargement may occur upon extended exposure.
To make matters worse, Mallinckrodt Chemicals also confirms that formaldehyde is a suspected carcinogen in humans.
Very few things in life are as satisfying as the cold minty feeling after a thorough tooth brushing session.
Peppermint oil, a lipid extracted from peppermint plan leaves, accounts for that iconic minty freshness. This product is also found in countless products ranging from peppermint patties to breath mints.
Despite its benefits, if this seemingly harmless ingredient is accidentally swallowed, peppermint oil causes heartburn, headache, mouth sores and anal burning during bouts of diarrhea.
Antibacterial Agent Correlated with Hormone Disruption
Triclosan works as an antimicrobial to prevent bacteria and mold from growing within a tube of toothpaste. In other words, triclosan prevents your tube from becoming an abhorrent petri dish.
According to Chicago College of Osteopathic Medicine alumni Dr. Joseph Mercola, triclosan is linked to antibiotic resistance and endocrine disruption in humans.
Furthermore, Dr. Caren Helbing at the University of Victoria in Canada has research proving that tadpoles sustained stunted growth when exposed to triclosan.
Beads Found in Fish Stomachs
Micro beads appear relatively harmless. For humans, the bubble-like spheres scrub away plaque and tartar haunting your teeth. It’s like exfoliating but for your pearly whites!
Here is the good news. If you accidentally ingest micro beads, the plastic spheres pass right through your digestive system.
Here is the bad news. When these little beads drain down the sink with every brush, they ultimately end up in the environment.
As you may predict, these non-bio degradable plastic beads harm fish and aquatic life when accidentally consumed. Plastic continues to wreak havoc on the environment, and micro beads only exacerbate this easily preventable process.
This Dye Need to Die
Have you wondered how your toothpaste gets its cool blue hue? FD&C Blue 1 provides your toothpaste with its clean azure tint.
Yet the agent’s crisp color has a shady research background. In accordance with the Center for Science and Public Interest, research on FD&C Blue 1 has been largely commissioned by industries.
Avoiding this questionable synthetic dye is easily accomplished. Simply opt for a white toothpaste rather than a blue one.
Sodium lauryl sulfate is a foaming agent in several household products including laundry soap, shampoo and body soaps. With sodium lauryl sulfate in so many of our home staples, one would think that this compound is safe for human use.
Unfortunately, when combined with certain compounds, sodium lauryl sulfate converts into nitrosamines, a class of carcinogens.
Fluoride: Friend or Foe?
Sodium fluoride (NaF) sparks controversy to this day due to its uncertain risks and benefits. When added to toothpaste, proponents believe that some doses in the mouth reduce tooth decay.
On the other hand, complications arise at higher doses and persistent exposure. This NaF material safety data sheet unnervingly lists that NaF has an “ambiguous fetotoxic and fertility effects.”
Additionally, Dr. Layton of Layton dental attests that fluoride causes a laundry list of serious health issues. His YouTube video titled “Is Fluoride Dangerous? Natural Dentist Shocking Answer” dives deeper into the fluoride debate.
Antifreeze in Your Toothpaste
What do antifreeze and toothpaste have in common? Propylene glycol. This ingredient prevents toothpaste from drying out in the tube.
Brushing your teeth with propylene glycol is completely safe. If you have young children who are beginning to learn healthy oral hygiene, always exercise caution. If swallowed in large doses, this chemical will cause nausea.
Toothpaste May Cause Breast Cancer?
Paraben is a chemical in many personal hygiene products including deodorants, shampoos, shaving gels, and lotions. I’ts purpose is to prevent the growth of bacteria, yeast and mold while also acting as a preservative.
While paraben may appear beneficial, a 2015 study from the University of Illinois attests that paraben products mimic estrogen in the body. An influx of estrogen in the body correlates with a higher risk of breast cancer.
Save Your Skin from DEA
Like sodium lauryl sulfate, diethanolamine (DEA) also assists the creation of foam in toothpaste. Like parabens, DEA disrupts hormones and synthesizes cancer-causing nitrates.
Unfortunately, this additive is not free of guilt either.
According to a study found in the scientific journal Contact Dermatitis, DEA is a potential skin irritant.
Will You Continue Buying Toothpaste From The Store?
Perhaps these ingredients are responsible for that tenth dentist’s disapproval. Who knew all these ingredients sneak into something as innocuous as toothpaste? Hey, nine other dentists! I thought I could trust you!
Perhaps we all need to reconsider this whole dental hygiene thing. Thank you to the tenth dentist for looking out for us.
So, now what? Are we all doomed to a life of halitosis and avoiding store-bought toothpaste?
Absolutely not. Thankfully, there are indeed alternatives, and we don’t need to toss brushing our teeth out the window (not recommended). Several homemade alternatives ditch the harsh chemicals in favor of more simple and natural ingredients.
As always, whether you decide to change your habits is ultimately up to you.