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What Components Of Toothpaste Are Hazardous To Health?

During a lifetime, the average person uses more than 50 liters of toothpaste, as many people use it twice a day. Children often swallow toothpaste, accidentally or intentionally. Today, swallowing toothpaste is the most common reason for calls to poison control. But even if you don’t swallow toothpaste, the chemical substances in toothpaste can enter your bloodstream simply by being absorbed through the oral cavity.

In this article, I will talk about the most problematic ingredients in toothpaste. To start, here is a list of what I recommend avoiding; in some countries, this list may be even longer:

  • Triclosan: an antibacterial and antifungal agent that kills oral microflora.
  • Diethanolamine (DEA): a foaming agent that disrupts hormonal balance in the body. It can react with other ingredients to form a potential carcinogen, which is easily absorbed through the skin and can cause cancer of the stomach, esophagus, liver, and bladder.
  • Propylene Glycol: a mineral oil used in toothpaste and other cosmetics as a moisturizer and solvent. Industrial-grade propylene glycol is typically found in antifreeze, paints, and enamels. Pharmaceutical-grade propylene glycol is used in many personal hygiene products, including toothpaste.
  • Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS): linked to the formation of mouth ulcers, recognized as a carcinogen.
  • Fluoride: harmful when swallowed in large amounts, don’t forget that drinking water already contains fluoride. If toothpaste contains fluoride, a large amount of paste can cause fluorosis. The hallmark of this condition is spots on tooth enamel, and teeth become brittle. But similar problems also occur with the bones of the skeleton. If a child eats toothpaste, be sure not to buy a paste with fluoride.
  • Titanium Dioxide: in nano-form, it can cause many problems in the body and can also cause re-mineralization of teeth, leading to enamel erosion.
  • Carrageenan: can cause irritable bowel syndrome.
  • Artificial colorings, flavor enhancers, sweeteners: they can cause a wide range of problems, many of which can worsen cardiovascular diseases, for example.
  • Preservatives releasing formaldehyde: some preservatives can also release a dangerous substance – formaldehyde, which is a carcinogen.
  • Essential oils: some “natural” toothpaste products also contain essential oils. Essential oils are potent toxins, some of which can be beneficial for the oral cavity. But some can lead to the destruction of oral microflora and can be dangerous when swallowed. Essential oils have a strong odor; pay attention to this. A strong odor may indicate a high content of essential oils in toothpaste. Such paste can be harmful in the long term, especially if a child constantly swallows it.

Glycerin is a controversial ingredient from the point of view of some respected specialists. It is often used in confectionery or even non-alcoholic herbal tinctures. But this glycerin is of food quality. Officially, toothpaste is not a food product; it is necessary to check what quality of glycerin is present in it. Finding toothpaste without glycerin is extremely difficult. I would also like to add about glycerin that glycerin can be of food quality but still contain genetically modified products.

Children’s toothpaste often has a very pleasant taste, which is why children often eat it. Especially problematic if the paste contains fluoride. Monitor how much toothpaste your child uses when brushing their teeth, and make sure they spit it out after brushing. In reality, only a small amount of paste is needed. Teach your child to apply a pea-sized amount of paste.

Creating an effective and safe toothpaste that is safe to swallow could be a good solution for many parents. Right now, the solution may be to use toothpaste with the safest composition possible.

More information about toothpaste ingredients can be found on the Environmental Working Group website.