Dangerous Ingredients That Might Be in Your Toothpaste

Toothpaste is a staple on the bathroom counters of every household, but have we taken time to know what’s in that tooth gel that we put into our mouths daily? Toothpaste has been proven to help eliminate plaque and bacteria that lead to tooth decay and dental problems. However, the very thing that helps us also has the potential to harm us as it contains dangerous ingredients. There’s a good reason why we’re asked not to ingest toothpaste. Let’s look at a few of those ingredients in toothpaste that aren’t the best for us. So the next time you plan on replacing that crumpled tube of toothpaste on your bathroom counter that has been squeezed to its limits, remember some of this valuable information.   

1. Fluoride

We all look for toothpaste which contains fluoride; however, it can cause more harm than good. Oops! Fluoride is a substance that is used to strengthen tooth structure and prevent cavities. To be most effective, higher amounts of fluoride than the FDA approves would be needed. Regardless, it has been proven that ingesting a small amount of fluoride can cause acute toxicity which causes nausea, vomiting and headaches. Young children who often consume toothpaste might also suffer from fluorosis and other problems as a result of receiving too much fluoride.

2. Artificial Dyes

The funky-colored stripes in toothpaste aren’t natural. Artificial colors are used to make toothpaste more aesthetically pleasing but that doesn’t make them healthy. Some dyes come from materials like coal tar or petroleum, which have been related to certain cancers. Also, studies have shown that artificial colors are linked to hyperactivity and ADHD in children. Some common names of artificial colors found in the ingredient list of toothpaste include FD&C or D&C followed by a color and number such as FD&C Red No. 40. In order to avoid using toothpastes with artificial dyes, there are options with natural colors from turmeric powder and beet juice powder.

3. Diethanolamine

Diethanolamine (DEA) is a chemical used in many products, including toothpaste. In toothpaste, it aids in preventing tartar buildup and reduces plaque, but it has some downsides. The American Dental Association (ADA) advises against using toothpaste that contains DEA since this chemical can combine with other substances to create toxic nitrosamines that are harmful to the body. Diethanolamine may induce allergic responses and have carcinogenic consequences, especially in those with specific medical problems. Additionally, there are worries that it may affect hormones.

4. Parabens

Parabens are chemicals used as preservatives and are found in some toothpaste. However, a longer shelf life isn’t worth the risks associated with its use. Studies have found that parabens are endocrine disruptors that mimic estrogen in our bodies. They are linked to reduced fertility and an elevated risk of breast cancer. While the levels of this chemical may be small in toothpaste, the accumulation in our bodies becomes unsafe.  This is more than enough reason to stay clear of toothpaste with this chemical.

5. Propylene Glycol

Propylene glycol is a common ingredient in paint and antifreeze. In 2018, this chemical was selected as the allergen of the year by the American Contact Dermatitis Society. It is used to help make toothpaste smoother and prevent it from drying out. It has been found that propylene glycol can be toxic and cause serious health complications such as kidney damage.  Although the FDA considers it harmless since it doesn’t occur in toothpaste in such high concentrations, hesitation to put such a dangerous ingredient in your mouth is understandable.


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