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“May Be Harmful if Swallowed”: The 14 Most Toxic Ingredients Lurking in Your Toothpaste (Part 1 of 2)

Posted Nov 07 2012 7:40pm
Written by Deborah on November 7, 2012 – -



by Nadine Artemis

Our gums and teeth are living tissue, and we should approach cleaning them a little differently than we would scrub a counter top. As a child, you were probably advised to brush with toothpaste twice a day. If toothpaste is the magic cleaner for our teeth, then why are cavities at an all-time high, and why does toothpaste come with a big warning label, “May Be Harmful if Swallowed?”

“The blood that runs through your tooth will run through your toe in one minute.”  

Timothy A. Kersten DDS

The chemicals used in most toothpastes and rinses, including many of the brands sold in health food stores, use chemical and synthetic ingredients that are more appropriate for industrial purposes than for cleaning the delicate tissue of the body or cultivating oral health. Brushing with these chemicals may be harmful to our health. Absorbing through the mouth’s mucus membrane into the blood stream, these synthetic substances may lead to decomposing collagen, hinder hormones, damage the delicate epithelium, disturb micro-flora in the digestive tract and, in the end, encourage poor health.

Some toothpastes, rinses and mouthwashes are better than others. To help you make a wise decision about what you brush into your body, I have made a list of chemicals that May be Harmful if Swallowed.

The following list of ingredients may be harmful if swallowed:

  • fluoride
  • propylene glycol
  • FD&C color pigments
  • triclosan
  • artificial sweeteners
  • alcohols and ethanol
  • surfactants
  • calcium
  • glycerin
  • flavor (menthol, cinnamaldehyde)
  • carrageenan
  • carbomer
  • hydrated silica
  • trisodium phosphate
  • 1. Contrary to marketing madness, tooth decay is not caused by fluoride deficiency! The United States’ EPA has fluoride on its “substantial evidence of neurotoxicity” list. Fluoride appears to interfere with critical, bodily chemistry; damaging gums, disrupting collagen production and reducing enzyme activity. Fluoride accumulates in the body, especially in the pineal gland, lowers IQ, forms deposits in the brain related to Alzheimer’s, promotes early-onset puberty, and the list goes on and on.

    2. Some toothpastes contain propylene glycol, which is frequently used as anti-freeze and to de-ice planes. Propylene is produced from fossil fuels during the oil refining process. Though  less dangerous than its cousin ethylene glycol, PG can irritate the skin and mucous membranes and increase the overall acidity of the body leading to metabolic acidosis. Though the amount of PG in toothpaste may be small, the widespread, daily use makes it potentially harmful.

    3. FD&C color pigments serve no health purpose in dental products, and they may have adverse effects. Coal tar, carbon deposit and laboratory derived colors are recognized as potential allergens and have a 20 year anecdotal history of causing hyperactivity in children. Many of the FD&C colors are tainted with heavy metals that can accumulate in the body.

    4. Triclosan is a registered pesticide (a bio-persistent chemical that destroys fragile aquatic ecosystems), and it is an anti-bacterial agent FDA approved to be used in toothpaste to prevent gingivitis. Due to recent studies showing that it may alter hormone regulation[ii], it is now under further review from the FDA. The National Academy of Sciences published a study that states that “triclosan potently impairs muscle functions.” [iii]The CDC found triclosan in the urine of 75% of the 2,517 participants of a survey. [iv]

    The anti-bacterial property of triclosan is starting to concern biologists; laboratory data suggests that there is a link between exposure and anti-microbial drug resistance.[v]Also, the trickle down environmental effects of triclosan are less than encouraging; it attaches to solids in streams, lakes and rivers and accumulates over time posing a problem for aquatic life.

    5. Artificial sweeteners like saccharin, sorbitol are xylitol generally added to improve the flavor of toothpaste. Saccharin is a petroleum based sugar substitute that was linked to cancer back in the 1970′s.  Sorbitol is manufactured by reducing glucose, and it has no nutritional value. Xylitol is found in many fruits and veggies, and for industrial uses it is manufactured from hardwood trees and corn cobs. Neither sorbitol nor xylitol are completely absorbable, so if it is swallowed they can cause a range of gastrointestinal problems, especially in children, including diarrhea, abdominal pain, and bloating.  Some toothpaste manufacturers claim that xylitol is beneficial for the teeth and gums, killing bacteria, alkalinizing the saliva and encouraging remineralization of the teeth. These claims are misleading; two clinical trials found no conclusive evidence of this.[vi] [vii]

    6. When people find that they have breath or gum problems, one of the first things they do is go out and get a big bottle of mouthwash.  Known to cause oral cancer, you may be surprised to learn that ethanol is the primary ingredient in most mouthwashes. Isopropyl alcohols and ethanol (grain alcohol) are very drying and irritating solvents made from propylene, a petroleum derivative.

    Stay tuned for Part 2 of this series on the 14 Most Dangerous “May Be Harmful If Swallowed” Ingredients Lurking in Your Toothpaste tomorrow. These media and myth-busting articles have been generously contributed by Nadine Artemis who is the passion, persistence and powerhouse behind our upcoming TOOTH Summit! The TOOTH Summit starting on December 1st is a 12-day summit with the world’s most well-known and respected doctors, dentists and health heroes on the subject of successful self-dentistry and natural solutions and cures for cavities, root canals, mercury fillings and other harmful health risks caused by modern dental practice. The TOOTH Summit is a completely FREE online event and it will only be available this one time, so please sign up in order to access these valuable interviews and conversations before December 1st!


    [i] “Building a Database of Developmental Neurotoxicants: Evidence from Human and Animal Studies”. Mundy, et all. Neurotoxicology Div. U.S. EPA, RTP, NC 27711

    [ii] http://www.fda.gov/forconsumers/consumerupdates/ucm205999.htm

    [iii] http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2012/08/08/1211314109.abstract

    [iv] http://www.cdc.gov/biomonitoring/Triclosan_FactSheet.html

    [v] Aiello, Allison. et all.  “Antibacterial Cleaning Products and Drug Resistance.” Emerging Infectious Diseases. Vol. 11, No. 10, October 2005

    [vi] “Effect of xylitol versus sorbitol: a quantitative systematic review of clinical trials.” Mickenautsch, Steffan. et all. International Dental Journal. Vol. 62 Issue 4.




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