The Truth About What's Really In Toothpaste

Say cheese! Everyone wants pearly whites. Some go to great lengths to get them, but the easiest way to whiten teeth is to brush them. We may not often investigate the ingredients of toothpaste, but it is always wise to read the fine print. Do you know what's in that tube on the bathroom counter? 

Minerals in trace amounts are good for the body, but certain compounds may have an unhealthy impact on us internally. Manufactured, man-made minerals top this list. Doctor of Dental Surgery Angela Evanson spells out the most common toothpaste ingredients: fluoride, sorbitol, glycerol, calcium carbonate, and sodium lauryl sulfate. It's important to be aware of anything we put into our bodies and give to our family. 

Some toothpaste ingredients, such as fluoride, can be found in other items like pesticides (via Angela Evanson). Colgate admits that some of its toothpaste ingredients are meant to serve as detergents (think along the lines of "teeth soap") to protect enamel and add flavor. While the bubbles may be fun, the chemicals inside of these toothpastes may not be so fun for our insides.

Making sure dental care is safe

Potentially toxic ingredients are found in trace amounts in dental products, so it could take quite a while to see the effects, if any. One of the leading ingredients in tap water and toothpaste is fluoride. Though it is a great cavity-fighter, according to Harmony Dental, side effects of overexposure include joint weakness, stunted brain development in children, acne, and high blood pressure. To resolve this, DDS Angela Evanson recommends teaching kids not to swallow toothpaste. 

Keep in mind that while not every ingredient is not harmful, it's best to be mindful of all of them. Glycerol is another ingredient in our toothpaste that is also used in peanut butter, yogurts, pre-cooked rice (via Delta Dental). When toothpaste meets water, sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) gives us all the squeaky-clean bubbles. This additive may cause canker sores or mouth irritation. Delta Dental recommends finding SLS-free toothpaste for your kids and family. The Good Trade has a list of natural toothpaste brands that will brighten your smile. When perusing store shelves, start by looking for SLS-free and fluoride-free labels. This will ensure you and your family avoid any hidden chemicals.

Toothpaste has some compounds that can be harmful to our health. To omit unsafe chemicals from your morning or nightly routine, consider organic or natural brands. If you have questions, ask your dentist for suggestions. Be well!