7 Toothpaste Ingredients That Can Be Dangerous
We’re encouraged from a young age to brush our teeth twice a day and after meals. Tooth care is one of the essential habits of good health.
Dental services aren’t only about a healthy mouth, though. Today’s world of social media influencers and A-list celebrities are full of sparkling straight pearly whites, making most of us insecure about our average smiles.
Experts like Nazareth Northstar Dental Care provide cosmetic dental assistance to help achieve the perfect smile in healthy ways. Millions of people skip the professional route and stick with over-the-counter products that are cheaper and easier to implement into their daily routines.
But could preventative measures taken to stave off tooth decay actually be hurting our health? Studies show that not all ingredients found in wholesale toothpaste and whitening products are healthy or good for us. These 7 ingredients often found in toothpaste can be dangerous to our health.
Aspartame is an artificial sweetener often used as a low-calorie replacement for added sugar. The sweetener is found in diet drinks, sugar-free desserts, and yes, toothpaste. In recent years, studies have questioned aspartame’s link to cancer.
Its carcinogenicity is linked to the formaldehyde produced by the body when it tries to break down aspartic acid and phenylalanine, the compounds found in aspartame. The body breaks these two amino acids down into methanol.
However, as methanol can’t be converted, the body changes it to the gas formaldehyde. There isn’t a confirmed link between aspartame and cancer, and governing agencies deem the ingredient safe for consumption. It’s a chemical carcinogen in rodents, but even more concerning is the impact of aspartame on developing infants. A mom’s exposure to aspartame could increase the baby’s cancer risk.
The problem is that, as of right now, national and international public health agencies still place aspartame on the “safe” list. It’s up to you to decide how much of a risk you want to place on your body or your child’s.
Do you ever wonder how cosmetics and other goods stay ‘fresh’ even after sitting on the grocery store shelves for months at a time? Parabens contain preservatives that prevent merchandise from spoiling.
The preservatives protect products from bacteria or fungal growth. They’re frequently found in makeup, toothpaste, and even food products such as cereal and dried meats.
Parabens can possibly cause the body to overproduce estrogen, potentially leading to breast cancer. However, scientists rebuke any connection between parabens and cancer, noting that the preservatives have been used for over 100 years. Use your best judgment when it comes to parabens and toothpaste.
Fluoride has long been championed as the hero of fighting tooth decay and cavities. But it turns out the mineral can cause long-term damage. Overexposure to fluoride can result in fluorosis, white or brown spots on the teeth.
While fluorosis is cosmetic, ingesting too much fluoride can cause a myriad of medical issues. Damages can range from the minor (headaches,) to the serious (neurological and endocrine issues.) While rare, fluoride allergies can result in nausea and swelling of the tongue.
In addition to toothpaste, many people look for a mouthwash with fluoride, doubling their daily exposure to the potentially harmful ingredient.
Also known as sodium saccharin, saccharin is another artificial sweetener similar to aspartame. The chemical is added to toothpaste to make it more favorable. In the past, studies have linked saccharin to bladder cancer and brain tumors in mice and rats.
The data reported by governing agencies about whether saccharin and other artificial sweeteners are carcinogens can be contradictory and confusing. At this point, there’s no direct connection between saccharin and cancer, but studies are ongoing.
If you’re concerned about consuming artificial sweeteners in your beverages, consider using natural ingredients honey and stevia leaves.
5. Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS)
Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, abbreviated as SLS, is commonly found in household cleaners, insecticides… and toothpaste. The ingredient is what’s known as a surfactant, which breaks up the surface tension between two liquids or a liquid and a solid.
In toothpaste, SLS creates the foam that coats your teeth and gums. However, the chemical can cause skin irritation and is linked to ulcers or canker sores in and around the mouth.
Many kinds of toothpaste contain SLS, but it may appear on the ingredients list under another name. Some of its aliases include Aquarex methyl, Monododecyl ester, and sodium salt.
Triclosan is perhaps the most dangerous chemical previously found in cosmetic products and toothpaste. In fact, it was banned by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) back in 2017. But it could still be on the ingredients list in other countries.
The antibacterial and antifungal were popular in toothpaste due to their ability to reduce plaque and prevent gum inflammation related to gingivitis. But the dangers strongly outweighed the positives.
Triclosan is linked to a decreased thyroid function, which alters the body’s metabolism rate, and potentially causes cancer.
One popular toothpaste brand replaced triclosan with zinc and arginine.
7. Propylene Glycol
Propylene Glycol is another ingredient found in toothpaste that is also in other harmful products, notably antifreeze and paints. The chemical helps preserve the texture and appearance of toothpaste.
Long-term exposure or usage of propylene glycol has been linked to the damage of vital bodily functions, including the heart, liver and central nervous system. At best, it will irritate the skin. At worst, it can cause irreversible organ damage.
Despite its organ toxicity, the chemical is deemed safe because toothpaste uses a lower chemical grade than antifreeze.
Dental hygiene is the cornerstone of our overall health. An infected tooth or cavity can cause way more problems than a toothache. Neglecting to take care of your teeth can lead to Periodontitis, more commonly known as gum disease.
Poor mouth health can cause heart disease and has been linked to Alzheimer’s disease.
Toothpaste is the best defense against the build-up of plaque, cavities, and gum disease. But not all of the approved toothpaste ingredients are as healthy as we’d like to believe. In fact, some can be downright toxic.