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5 Things You Didn’t Know Were in Your Toothpaste


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5 Things You Didn't Know Were in Your Toothpaste

Common Ingredients You May Want to Think Twice About

When it comes to toothpaste ingredients, you may be like me—not giving it a lot of thought as long as it tastes good and gets your choppers clean. After all, we’ve been brushing at least twice a day for years now—and so far, so good, right? Well . . . maybe.

We recently decided to take a look at a few of the most common ingredients in some of the big name brands. While this list is by no means exhaustive, here are five you should know about.

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Sulfates: SLS and SLES

Sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) and sodium laureth sulfate (SLES) are synthetic cleaning agents added to toothpastes, soaps, shampoos and detergents to make them foam. But:

  • SLS irritates the skin, eyes and respiratory tract, and it’s hazardous to marine life.
  • SLES has the same hazardous effects as SLS and comes with a kicker: it’s often contaminated by 1,4 dioxane during manufacturing, which has been shown to cause cancer.

According to DentalBuzz.com, toothpaste doesn’t contain enough of either of these surfactants to adequately remove the stuff that accumulates on your teeth anyway. It might be best to avoid sulfates altogether. The best advice is to brush more thoroughly—for at least two minutes.

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Triclosan

Triclosan is the same antimicrobial that’s used in some hand sanitizers. And while it’s currently found in only one big-name toothpaste in the U.S., Colgate Total, we thought it worthwhile to mention here. Triclosan has been shown to:

  • Encourage growth of cancer cells
  • Impair muscle function
  • Impair the ability of muscles—like heart and skeletal muscle—to contract

It’s also a known endocrine-disruptor. But because it’s a germicide, Colgate-Palmolive is able to claim that it is the “only toothpaste approved by the FDA to help fight plaque and gingivitis.”

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Flouride

While research is still ongoing, large amounts of fluoride in your drinking water may not be good for you.

But what about fluoride in toothpaste? What impact might that have, especially on youngsters whose teeth are still developing? According to Ocean Pediatric Dental Associates, pre-school-aged children who ingest too much fluoride could suffer from dental fluorosis, which can result in a chalky white or brown discoloration of permanent teeth. They recommend the following steps to ensure children, especially, are not over-fluoridated:

  • Place only a pea-sized drop of children’s toothpaste on the brush when brushing
  • Be aware of all sources of ingested fluoride before requesting fluoride supplements
  • Use baby tooth cleanser on the toothbrush with very young children
  • Obtain fluoride level test results for your drinking water (check local water utilities)

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Microbeads

Some toothpaste manufacturers originally included these tiny plastic beads to add color. However, the tiny beads have now been listed as a toxic material by Canada and banned by the U.S. due to their environmental impact. But the U.S. ban doesn’t go into effect until next year, and as reported by Mother Jones magazine, some brands still contain them. According to some dental professionals, microbeads in toothpaste:

  • Can irritate gums if they get trapped beneath gum tissue.
  • Can trap bacteria in gum tissue, possibly leading to periodontal disease and/or gingivitis.

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Artificial colors

Many toothpastes contain ingredients like Blue #2 or Blue #1, which may be inadvertently be swallowed during brushing. Included for esthetic reasons only, these artificial colors do nothing to protect or clean teeth or to alleviate bad breath. Always read labels carefully—some artificial dyes have been shown to enter the bloodstream through the skin as well as the digestive tract, and have been linked to:

  • Allergies
  • Asthma
  • ADHD
Toothpaste on a toothbrushDid You Know?
Just a pea-sized amount of toothpaste is about all you need. And brush for at least two minutes to make sure you don’t miss any spots!

Resources:
Dental Buzz: Toothpaste can do more harm than good
News USA: Toothpaste Ingredients Dentists Say to Avoid
Healthy Child Healthy World: Skip Products Made With SLES (and SLS, too!)
The Atlantic: Hand Sanitizer May Impair Muscle Contraction
Mercola.com: Toxic Toothpaste Ingredients You Need to Avoid
EcoWatch: Antibacterial Agent Triclosan Linked to Growth of Breast Cancer Cells
Newsweek: Is Cancer Lurking in Your Toothpaste? (And Your Soap? And Your Lipstick?)
Collective Evolution: Triclosan Found In Colgate Total Toothpaste Linked To Cancer & They’re Still Putting It In There
BeWell: Flouride Warning: Toothpaste Dangers
American Cancer Society: Water Fluoridation and Cancer Risk
Movement Blog: U.S. Passes Law Banning Plastic Microbeads
The Washington Post: Why dentists are speaking out about the plastic beads in your toothpaste
Mother Jones:
These 19 Big-Name Toothpastes and Face Scrubs Will Be Forced to Ditch Tiny Bits of Plastic

LiveStrong: The Health Dangers of Food Dye Blue No. 2
Fox News Health: New fear about food dyes
CBC News: Microbeads listed as ‘toxic substance’ en route to ban
Chemical Watch: Canada adds microbeads to list of toxic substances

comment_2Have you given much thought to what’s in your toothpaste? Or your children’s? We’d love to hear from you! Just leave us a comment below.
Do you brush your teeth for two minutes or longer?

View Results
 
Yes:
 
69%
No:
 
31%
Total Votes:
328
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Tanya Aoyagi
Tanya Aoyagi
5 years ago

I just switched my kiddos to the strawberry toothpaste, and it’s a big hit! I love knowing that they are safe even if they swallow a little bit.

Jacintha boer
Jacintha boer
5 years ago
Reply to  Tanya Aoyagi

My husband has sensitive teeth and used sensodyne but was able to make the switch to the new norwex toothpaste!

Moderator
Admin
Moderator
5 years ago
Reply to  Tanya Aoyagi

Great feedback, thanks Tanya!

Grammy
Grammy
4 years ago
Reply to  Tanya Aoyagi

I still can’t find what is in it. I see what is NOT in it but what are the actual ingredients please?

Moderator
Admin
Moderator
4 years ago
Reply to  Grammy

Grammy, thank you for your inquiry about Norwex products. Norwex Movement is a separate division of Norwex that exists to help people create safer havens in their homes by raising awareness about planetary issues that affect us all. Our policy is to direct all Norwex-specific inquiries to Customer Care. In the U.S., please contact 1-866-450-7499. In Canada, please contact 1-877-766-7939.

Kelly
Kelly
5 years ago

My family is all safe and sound with the toothpaste I make- equal parts of bicarbonate of soda & coconut oil mixed together well! Smooth & clean teeth without any nasties at all.

Erin Houghton
Erin Houghton
5 years ago

I love both of our new toothpastes!! I, of course, had to try the kids just to see why my daughter loves it so much!! I can’t even use normal toothpaste anymore and am so happy to have a clean, healthy and chemical free mouth!!

Linda Proctor
Linda Proctor
5 years ago

Can’t wait for the toothbrushes to hit the UK, shame we have to wait longer to get the toothpaste.

Janice Rebey
Janice Rebey
5 years ago

Wow, Colgate Total has been one of my favorites. Not anymore.

Amy Hepfner
Amy Hepfner
5 years ago

I’ve been using natural toothpaste for years because of what they put in mainstream toothpastes. Nasty stuff!! I am so excited about the new Norwex toothpaste!!

Rebekah Beasley
Rebekah Beasley
5 years ago

Love this!

kera@srt.com
kera@srt.com
5 years ago

THANK YOU Norwex for offering toothpaste for adults and children! At last! 🙂

DeAnn Coan
DeAnn Coan
5 years ago

I’ll be giving in my granddaughter the new Norwex Strawberry toothpaste next weekend when I see her. No SLS or SLES for my Sweetie pie!

Stack
Stack
5 years ago

Colgate Total was our go-to toothpaste as well!

Karen Codrington
Karen Codrington
5 years ago

January can not come quickly enough in Australia for the Norwex toothpaste to be released! I’m really excited about this product.

Hope Beach
Hope Beach
5 years ago

I use doTerra’s OnGuard toothpaste! Works great.

Grammy
Grammy
4 years ago
Reply to  Hope Beach

It has some questionable ingredients also like carrageenan and others. love my doterra oils but don’t use their other products. The shampoo is loaded with stuff…ewwwwww. And I am a consultant .

Bill
Bill
1 year ago
Reply to  Hope Beach

Cool

Marci Ledlow
Marci Ledlow
5 years ago

I just picked up a tube of Colgate Total! Its going in the trash now…..

Jessica Johnson
Jessica Johnson
5 years ago

I will definitely have to try the mint toothpaste it will be better for the environment and for me and my husband also

Sheila
Sheila
5 years ago

Does Norwex toothpaste contain laurel sulfate?

Moderator
Admin
Moderator
5 years ago
Reply to  Sheila

Sheila, thank you for your inquiry about Norwex products. Norwex Movement is a separate division of Norwex that exists to help people create safer havens in their homes by raising awareness about planetary issues that affect us all. Our policy is to direct all Norwex-specific inquiries to Customer Care. In the U.S., please contact 1-866-450-7499. In Canada, please contact 1-877-766-7939.

Michael Miller
Michael Miller
5 years ago

Where can I find the ingredients of the Norwex Toothpaste? Everything shows me what is not in it but I want to know what IS in it.

Moderator
Admin
Moderator
5 years ago
Reply to  Michael Miller

Michael, thanks for your inquiry about Norwex products. Norwex Movement is a separate division of Norwex that exists to help people create safer havens in their homes by raising awareness about planetary issues that affect us all. Our policy is to direct all Norwex-specific inquiries to Customer Care. In the U.S., please contact 1-866-450-7499. In Canada, please contact 1-877-766-7939.

Kristie Zemlicka
Kristie Zemlicka
4 years ago

My husband has a reaction to SLS – causes painful blisters in his mouth. There are really so few mainstream toothpastes that do not use it. Would love to use the Norwex toothpaste, but it is out of my price range. But like Kelly, baking soda works for us. Also, adding a drop of cinnamon essential oil gives the added feel of freshness and the additional benefit of its antibacterial properties.

Norma Laino
Norma Laino
4 years ago

I have personally switched from the big commercial branded toothpastes simply because they always left a film over my entire mouth and I could never feel my mouth was “clean” or that I had fresh-breath. Now I have to go home and check the label of the product I am using to see that it doesn’t contain the bad things. If it doesn’t I will check back and let you know the brand, in case anyone wants to try it. 10 or so years ago i switched to a rechargeable toothbrush, and will never go back to a regular brush again.

Debbie Polkowski
Debbie Polkowski
4 years ago

Although I have dentures, I still brush my teeth every day and soak them at night. But since reading this article, I will be switching over to the Norwex toothpaste. Since becoming a consultant for Norwex, I have learned so much about the dangers of so many products.

Grace
Grace
4 years ago

Why aren’t the actual ingredients listed anywhere???? The biggest turn off for any company is not having a disclosed ingredient list easy to find.

Moderator
Admin
Moderator
4 years ago
Reply to  Grace

Grace, thanks for your inquiry about Norwex products. Norwex Movement is a separate division of Norwex that exists to help people create safer havens in their homes by raising awareness about planetary issues that affect us all. Our policy is to direct all Norwex-specific inquiries to Customer Care. In the U.S., please contact 1-866-450-7499. In Canada, please contact 1-877-766-7939.

Chris
Chris
4 years ago

WHAT are the darn ingredients in this toothpaste – everywhere I google it just tells me what is NOT in it !!!

Moderator
Admin
Moderator
4 years ago
Reply to  Chris

Chris, thank you for your inquiry about Norwex products. Norwex Movement is a separate division of Norwex that exists to help people create safer havens in their homes by raising awareness about planetary issues that affect us all. Our policy is to direct all Norwex-specific inquiries to Customer Care. In the U.S., please contact 1-866-450-7499. In Canada, please contact 1-877-766-7939.

Chris
Chris
4 years ago
Reply to  Moderator

I am in Australia !!!

Moderator
Admin
Moderator
4 years ago
Reply to  Chris

Thanks Chris. In Australia, the number to call for product inquiries/clarification is: 07 3204 9444.

Sharon Campese
Sharon Campese
4 years ago

I was disgusted when I first learned about toothpaste. I now read the label fully and have made the switch to locally made chemical free toothpaste. Haven’t tried the Norwex toothpaste yet

Jennifer Rottman
Jennifer Rottman
4 years ago

I have never given any thought to my or my kids toothpaste and the ingredients. After reading the ingredients I will be purchasing Norwex toothpaste.

Jennifer Rottman
Jennifer Rottman
4 years ago

I am looking forward to trying the norwex toothpaste. I did not realize there were harmful chemicals in my toothpaste.

Gingi Freeman
Gingi Freeman
3 years ago

I don’t brush my teeth nearly long enough.. that might be a fun challenge, to set a timer to get into the habit of doing it right!

Sandy Swift
Sandy Swift
3 years ago

I love the Norwex mint toothpaste and I use it with my norwex tooth brush. Works fabulously not frothing up with chemicals like other toothpastes and cleans well.

Rozelyn Wisen
Rozelyn Wisen
2 years ago

Never trust any product where you have to jump through hoops to find out the ingredients. Due to many people having sensitivities, intolerances as well as allergies even to “natural” ingredients products should always list their ingredients.

Lauren Rogers
Lauren Rogers
6 months ago

I had no idea “ Triclosan has been shown to:
Encourage growth of cancer cells” So scary!!