If someone told you to put pesticide in your mouth, would you? If you read that sentence with a crazed look spreading across your face then this post is for you! You may not knowingly agree to put pesticides and other harmful chemicals into your system, but that’s what you’re doing every morning and night when you brush your teeth.
Crazy, huh? About a month ago I stared Oil Pulling, and it got me interested in researching about natural oral care. What I didn’t expect to find out is that the toothpaste we’ve been using for YEARS has a lot of nasty ingredients in it.
I’m no stranger to the toxicity issues found in toothpaste, as we have been a fluoride free family for around 4 years. Not once has my child gotten a fluoride treatment at the dentist nor will she ever use a toothpaste with fluoride, and rightfully so. Due to my more recent in-depth research, we are now a “toothpaste” free household. As you read on you’ll see why.
I encourage you to go get your toothpaste tube (and your childs if different) check and see if it contains any one of these 5 ingredients. It may contain all.
DISCLAIMER: I am not a medical professional. I have zero schooling in this area. What I do have is the ability to research and form a logical opinion based on facts. I encourage you to do your own research and have provided all the links to things that reference this article.
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Side Note: I am going to be honest, before I started this post I knew about all of this on a “general” level. But, I’ve spent HOURS, days really researching, combing, reading and now and I am just like OMG. Why?!?
Why does our government and the FDA allow this type of stuff in products we put in our mouth… seriously!?
We are a commercial toothpaste free household – (We’ve switched to Cocodent, review coming soon). Be aware that some of these chemicals are also in your daily beauty items, shampoos, lotions etc. We as a family will soon be cutting those out as well. – Ignorance is bliss so they say.
What’s the big deal? It’s not like I swallow it.
If you’re wondering what the big deal is, I mean you spit it out anyway, right? Well, that may be true but your mouth is one of the most absorbent orifices on your body. Have you ever taken a medicine that you needed to let sit under your tongue? It offers a direct route to your circulatory system.
“The oral mucosa is highly vascularised, drugs that are absorbed through the oral mucosa directly enter the systemic circulation, bypassing the gastrointestinal tract and first-pass metabolism in the liver.” (oral mucous drug delivery)
In short, it’s a big deal.
5 Toxic Chemicals In Everyday Toothpaste
1) Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS)
Sodium Lauryl Sulfate brings you the trademark foaming action that most commercial toothpastes contain. It is also responsible for that bitter taste you get in your mouth when you eat or drink something right after you brush. The chemical coats your taste buds, leaving your morning goals of a glass of OJ a thing of the past.
Here is the real kicker – it is a registered INSECTICIDE. Yes, you read that right. It is commonly used in flea and tick medication.
In fact the company who manufactures it tried to get it approved for use in organic farming. It was denied due to the environmental damage it may cause ie toxic to marine and land animals.
SLS is a “soap” type of herbicide and pesticide (PAN 2005). The petitioner is requesting that SLS be 50 included on the National List as a synthetic substance allowed for use in organic crop production as an 51 herbicide with no restrictions. (Sodium Lauryl Sulfate – Crops)
Hey, but people can brush their teeth with it.
It’s also used as an ingredient in some commercial cleaning products. Here is just a few you may recognize:
Scrubbing Bubbles Toilet Tablets, Fresh Citrus
Raven Black Gari Carpet and Upholstery Shampoo
Joy Dishwashing Liquid, Mandarin Orange Splash
Method Antibac Antibacterial Bathroom Cleaner, Spearmint
Mr. Clean Mildew Stain Remover Spray
EcoLogic Lawn & Yard Insect Killer Concentrate
That is just the tip of the iceberg to get the full list go here.
You’re encouraged to get a flouride treatment at the denist and you’re hard pressed to find a toothpaste without it. We used to use Tom’s All Natural toothpaste (guess what it has SLS in it! Very natural! I do note that not all Tom’s toothpaste has SLS in it. Read the label carefully). What’s so bad about it? Well, it’s up in the same classification of poison as ARSENIC.
It has also been used in pesticides and rodenticides. Have you seen that poison warning on the back of your toothpaste, it’s not just there for looks.
Recent studies have shown that the use of fluoride doesn’t even help your teeth that much. The layer of “protection” it offers is so thin it basically does nothing.
What kind of health issues can fluoride cause? I’ll just name a few: skeletal fluorosis, arthritis, bone fragility, dental fluorosis, glucose intolerance, gastrointestinal distress, thyroid disease and possibly linked to cancer.
What effect does it have on children? I was always told to start kids out on fluoride free toothpaste. I never really questioned it, it was just something that I knew. Well, there is a reason and here it is: It’s POISONOUS.
Children younger than 6 years of age accounted for more than 80 percent of reports of suspected overingestion. While the outcomes were generally not serious, several hundred children were treated at health care facilities each year. A 10 kg child who ingests 50 mg fluoride (10.1 g 1.1% NaF gel; 32.7 g 0.63% SnF2 gel; 33.3 g 1,500 ppm F toothpaste; 50 g 1,000 ppm F toothpaste; and 221 mL 0.05% NaF rinse) will have ingested a probably toxic dose. (Acute fluoride toxicity from ingesting home-use dental products in children, birth to 6 years of age)
Swallowing fluoride, builds up in your childs (and your) tissue over time. Young children often swallow more than is recommended and it results in fluoride toxicity. Don’t forget the US thinks they need to put it in our drinking water.. so if your child drinks tap water then they are getting it their as well.
This is why it is not recommend to mix formula bottles with tap water for infants. They end up with over exposure and it has been linked to lower IQ scores.
This applies to Colgate Total toothpaste only, they have the only approval from the FDA to use it. So if you don’t use this brand you can skip this section. Essentially, Triclosan is an antibacterial, it was used in soaps but has since been banned by the FDA.
“The agency issued a proposed rule in 2013 after some data suggested that long-term exposure to certain active ingredients used in antibacterial products — for example, triclosan (liquid soaps) and triclocarban (bar soaps) — could pose health risks, such as bacterial resistance or hormonal effects.” (FDA issues final rule on safety and effectiveness of antibacterial soaps)
It is considered an Endocrine-Disruptor that’s a big fancy term for: Screw your whole body. If you look at it in large scale this is what these chemicals can cause:
interference with reproduction,
increased cancer risk; and
disturbances in the immune and nervous system function.
(What is Endocrine Disruption?)
Now break that down to small groups, you’re looking at possibilities of: issues with young children and puberty, problems with conceiving, preterm babies, as well as cancers.
Really, you could break those small groups down even more, but I am pretty sure y’all get that Triclosan is BAD!
I’ll leave it on this note:
People who brushed their teeth with Colgate Total had more than five times as much triclosan in their urine as people who didn’t use it. (Waiting for the FDA to Get It Right on Triclosan)
4) Propylene Glycol
Propylene Glycol is most commonly used in paint, anitifreeze and to de-ice planes and your toothpaste. Now, you’d have to ingest a large amount for it to cause real damage. Think about prolonged use here, the buildup after years of brushing… yea, no thanks!
Some of the reported “issues” with oral ingestion:
Listed as a suspected immunotoxicant, neurotoxicant, respiratory toxicant, and skin and sense organ toxicant (EDF) Chronic exposure to propylene glycol may cause lactic acidosis, hypoglycemia, stupor, and seizures. (HSDB) (Prpylene Glycol)
5) Diethanolamine (DEA)
May be hiding in your toothpaste trying to give you that perfect foam. Shocker.. it also has some pretty nasty reciprocations when absorbed into your body.
It also has well-documented health risks. According to a report from the Environmental Working Group, DEA is linked with stomach cancer, bladder cancer, liver cancer, and organ system toxicity. The California Environmental Protection Agency states that DEA is a possible carcinogen for humans and other mammals. (Is Your Toothpaste Toxic?)
A study in 2006 found that it may effect brain development with use in just shampoo. That’s with absorption through skin…
An ingredient found in many shampoos and other personal care products appears to interfere with normal brain development in baby mice when applied to the skin of pregnant mice, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill researchers have discovered.
When Diethanolamine (DEA) was applied to the skin of pregnant mice, the fetuses showed inhibited cell growth and increased cell death in an area of the brain responsible for memory – the hippocampus.
Previous research on DEA has focused on its potential as a carcinogen. The current study is the first exploration of the compound’s affect on brain development.(UNC study shows ingredient commonly found in shampoos may inhibit brain development)
Now, if you’re sitting there like. “Okay, great. Now I know, but what am I supposed to do? Have my family stop brushing their teeth?” Yes, yes you are.
There are natural options out there. You can make your own toothpaste with coconut oil, baking soda and flavoring. Or if you’re lazy like me look for natural alternatives like Cocodent.
My advice – toss the toothpaste.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on this! Will you continue using your everyday toothpaste? Do you think you’ll make a switch?
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