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What’s in Your Toothpaste?

March 28, 2012

Oral hygiene is important for your health but, while you are encouraged to be meticulous about taking care of your mouth, it’s just as important to pay close attention to the products you use to do it. Most people never question the ingredients that are in the products they use on a daily basis, and that’s especially true of toothpastes. One of the most commercialized products, toothpaste is generally believed to be both effective and safe.   Is this actually true?  You be the judge! Let’s take a look at four key ingredients in your toothpaste:

Sodium Lauryl Sulphate (SLS):

Better known as detergent because it’s a commercial product found in toothpastes and in many other commercial products such as shampoos, hair conditioners, body wash, and bubble bath products. SLS is, in fact, a harsh detergent which is used industrially as a degreaser and foaming agent, and has also been used as a garage-floor cleaner. Do you like the tasty foam produced by your toothpaste? Then you have SLS to thank for it.

On the other hand, SLS has been shown to dry the mouth and cause canker sores.  In a clinical study it was shown that patients with canker sores showed a dramatic decrease in their number after they used non-SLS toothpaste.  It has also been proven that SLS can be cancer-causing when applied directly to the skin or consumed (something to be wary of when your mouth is full of toothpaste).

Formaldehyde:

This ingredient is included in your toothpaste to kill small bacteria in your mouth after you eat, or sleep. However, this same ingredient, found in your toothpaste, is also a favorite of coroners during the process of embalming. A large amount of this product could be fatal and might result in jaundice, kidney damage, liver damage and, in some dire cases, death.

Triclosan:

In your toothpaste, this ingredient is used as an antibiotic to prevent tartar and bad breath. However, this is also the same product that is found in dishwashing soap, hand soap, and deodorants. Studies have also show that exposure to, or the ingestion of.,a significant amount of triclosan can impact your thyroid hormone concentration levels. 

Fluoride:

Before it was in your toothpaste, fluoride was also being added to your water for decades. Found in your toothpaste in various forms, this popular ingredient is thought to prevent cavities. Disturbingly, this same fluoride is found in rat poisons. Studies show that the rates of bone cancer are substantially higher in areas with fluoridated water. Furthermore, like tricolans, fluoride affects the thyroid gland, causing hypothyroidism– a condition in which your body lacks enough thyroid hormone, resulting in slower metabolism. Fluoride is found in many common household products including toothpaste, vitamins, and dietary supplements. A buildup of fluoride can cause darkening of the teeth, weakened bones, and even neurological problems

Obviously, the above list is not comprehensive; there are many other ingredients, active and inactive, included in your tooth paste. Looking at the nature of these ingredients, it makes sense that your toothpastes comes with the warning “Do Not Swallow”.  In this case, believe what you read!

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At NYC Smile Design, experienced New York City cosmetic dentists Dr. Elisa Mello and Dr. Ramin Tabib collaborate to provide you with comprehensive dental care and outstanding cosmetic dentistry results. Together they founded NYC Smile Design in 1994 and have been dedicated to providing life-changing dentistry ever since.
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