Until recently I didn’t put much thought into what toothpaste do I use when brushing my teeth. Somehow I was mostly concerned with the toothbrush. I always assumed before that whatever is put on our shelves in the shops has been tested and approved by somebody. Boy was I wrong!
Every year there is a new study which shows how harmful at least one of the ingredients in the commercial toothpaste is, going as far as causing cancer and other long-term illnesses. Recently it was discovered that one of those ingredients is a chemical used in pesticide, can you believe it? In other words I have been brushing my teeth with poison all these years. Quite a scary thought isn’t it?
Here are some of those harmful ingredients:
Dentists have trumpeted the virtues of fluoride for years, claiming its the best defense against tooth decay. Fluoride supposedly builds strong, healthy teeth. In reality, sodium fluoride, a by-product of aluminum manufacturing, can also be found in rat poisons and industrial pesticides. According to the Akron Regional Poison Center, ingesting 1/10 of an ounce of fluoride can kill a 100-lb. adult. Ingesting even a small amount of sodium fluoride may cause nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. Yet despite its dangers, sodium fluoride continues to be a staple in all leading brands of toothpaste.
Found most often in anti-bacterial products, triclosan supplements many toothpaste brands. Unfortunately, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) classifies triclosan as a pesticide, stating it poses a risk to both human health and the environment. Scientists categorize triclosan as a chlorophenol, which is a type of chemical suspected of causing cancer in humans.
Sodium Lauryl Sulfate
Added as a detergent and cleansing agent, sodium laurel sulfate and its cousin sodium laureth sulfate pose a wide range of potential health risks. On its own, sodium laurel sulfate can damage eyes, irritate skin and lead to labored breathing. According to the American College of Toxicology, sodium laurel sulfate may stay within the body for up to five days, accumulating in the heart, liver, lungs and brain. When combined with certain other chemicals, sodium laurel sulfate transforms into nitrosamines, a class of powerful carcinogens that cause the body to absorb harmful nitrates.
An active component in antifreeze, propylene glycol acts as a wetting agent and surfactant in toothpaste. The Material Safety Data Sheets for propylene glycol warn that the chemical can be rapidly absorbed through the skin, with prolonged contact leading to brain, liver and kidney abnormalities. The EPA don’t allow its workers to handle propylene glycol without wearing rubber gloves, yet it doesn’t stop the chemical from being used in common health care products.
Consumers find diethanolamine, or DEA, in products that foam, including toothpaste. DEA disrupts hormones and forms cancer-causing nitrates. According to Dr. Samuel Epstein, professor of environmental health at University of Illinois, repeated skin exposure to DEA can lead to increased risk of liver and kidney cancers.
Hydrated Silica: A whitener that damages tooth enamel
Hydrated silica, which is primarily used as an abrasive in toothpaste, is made from a crystallized compound found in quartz, sand, and flint. Tooth enamel re-mineralizes daily from the supply of ionic calcium and phosphorus in the saliva. Scratching the surface of the tooth with an abrasive such as hydrated silica harms the enamel and prevents re-mineralization, much like using sand to clean glass. Severe wear could eventually occur.
Please check your toothpaste for any of these ingredients or some other new chemicals which might have some potential dangers on the health in the long term. I have completely removed those commercial toothpastes from my home and I hope to reverse the damage which has been done. 🙂
I have switched to a natural based toothpaste with many added benefits, it’s called Greenzhi. Here is the list of the ingredients and its benefits. Might sound a bit complicated but actually they are all very straight forward ingredients.
- Nano-Ganoderma Lucidum: The triterpenoids in Ganoderma are capable of subduing the production of glucan by Streptococcus Mutans, hence contributing to preventing dental plaque and tooth decay. On the other hand, the polysaccharides in it are notable in enhancing the blood circulation in the gum tissues, apart from revitalizing the tissues of the mucous membrane in the mouth cavity.
- Neem Extract: Effective for the prevention and treatment of the so-called yellow teeth and turn them much whiter. It also helps prevent bleeding or painful gums and bad breath, in addition to being helpful in reducing inflammation of the mouth cavity due to tooth decay, preventing the spreading of dental caries, protecting the gums, and discouraging a reduction in taste sensitivity and formation of ulcer in the mouth cavity.
- Aloe Barbadensis: As Aloe has an exceptional ability in repairing the outer skin of the gums, exterminating bacteria, and preventing the formation of dental calculus (tartar), it is remarkable in maintaining the hygienic condition of the mouth cavity.
- Xylitol: Featuring a low caloric content and a refreshing flavour, Xylitol does not readily become fermented in the presence of micro-organism to produce acidic substances. With its amazing capability in subduing the proliferation of Streptococcus Mutatis, it makes an ideal ingredient for effective prevention of tooth decay.
- Chlorophyllin: It helps prevent gum bleeding and bad breath. It is also capable of breaking down the food debris stuck in the crevices between adjacent teeth to help restore the hygienic condition of the mouth cavity and relieve sensitive gums.
- Natural Gel: A natural translucent gel is incorporated to effectively reduce friction and avoid damage done to the enamel during brushing.
- Foaming Agent: The foaming agent used is extracted from coconut and corn. Natural in origin, mild in action, safe for consumption, and does not produce any toxic, it plays a remarkable role in subduing bacteria and preventing tooth decay.
- Natural menthol or peppermint is added to keep the mouth cavity fresh without introducing any irritation, making it a perfect choice for all your family members, young and old alike.
As toothpaste is something we use at least twice a day and our children use it, please choose a good brand with natural ingredients. The idea is not that whiter teeth are healthy teeth as when you do too much whitening you destroy the layer of your teeth.