They put what in my toothpaste?!

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I recently became more interested in the ingredients in my cosmetics and toothpaste. I felt that I should be more aware of the products I use every single day on the largest organ of my body (my skin). When I started to look at what was in my toothpaste, I was terrified. I quickly realized I needed to find an alternative to my toxic, cancer causing toothpaste for myself and my patients. I want to share with you all the surprising discoveries I made and a couple alternatives.

So what are all of these hard to pronounce ingredients?

There are a few common ingredients in toothpaste that do not belong there! Here’s a quick ingredient list and some of the nasty health concerns tied with them:

  1. Triclosan - An antibacterial that was commonly found in antibacterial hand soaps before the FDA banned its use. Triclosan is a known endocrine disruptor, skin irritant and may be contributing to antibiotic resistance. If it’s no longer allowed in soap, do you really want to put it in your mouth? Another issue with Triclosan is its negative environmental impact. Triclosan is being found in large amounts in aquatic environments and is known to be toxic to algae and fish.
  2. DEA - Used as a foaming agent. DEA is also a skin irritant and also a respiratory toxin and a possible carcinogen . DEA has been banned in the use of cosmetics in other countries.
  3. Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS)- SLS gives toothpaste the foaming action. If you are someone who gets canker sores, you may want to consider avoiding toothpaste with SLS. Multiple studies have shown that SLS can increase the incidence of aphthous ulcers (canker sores).

Have no fear, we found some pretty great alternatives for you!

  1. Make your own! One of our patients shared her favorite toothpaste recipe with us, and she has beautiful teeth.
    • Ingredients:
    1. 5 parts calcium/magnesium powder
    2. Your favorite essential oil for taste
    3. 15 drops traceminerals
    4. 3-6 parts coconut oil (helps determine texture)
    5. 3 parts xylitol powder
    6. 2 parts baking soda
A black and white photo of a toothbrush with toothpaste A photo in black and white of a toothbrush

2. If you’re not much for the DIY trend, we found Hello toothpaste to be a great store bought option that still contains fluoride. As a dentist, I firmly believe in fluoride. I have worked in rural areas of the county and have seen the detrimental effects no fluoride takes on the teeth. The best part is it can be found at most stores, including Target!