By Michael G. Rehme, DDS, NMD, CCN
A concerned mother once called my office with an intriguing question: “Is it possible that my daughter can get sick from brushing her teeth with her toothpaste?”
I asked what type of toothpaste she was using. It was one of the popular name-brand toothpastes. Apparently, her 6-year old daughter loved its flavor so much that she sucked on her toothbrush a lot. The mother added that the girl probably swallowed a lot of the paste during her brushing, too.
That’s what prompted me to start investigating this topic in the first place. It quickly came clear that all toothpastes are definitely NOT alike. Many name-brand products contain potentially harmful ingredients that can pass through the tissues of the mouth and enter the bloodstream, circulating throughout the entire body.
Of course, I already knew there was sodium fluoride in the toothpaste that the mother had named. Experts who condone the use of this chemical say that if used in small dosages, it can help prevent cavities. It’s an argument we’ve all heard many times. But I just can’t feel comfortable using an ingredient that can also be found in rat poison.
Surprisingly, supplemental fluoride has never been approved by the FDA. Meantime, numerous studies over the past few decades have shown that fluoride actually does little to prevent decay. Other research has linked it to a fairly wide array of health problems, with recent concern about its impact on kids’ cognitive development.
In children, even minimal ingestion of sodium fluoride can cause salivation, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, and diarrhea. I witnessed this event in my office many years ago, before I had evolved from conventional to biological dentistry. I had administered a fluoride treatment to a young child who accidentally swallowed some of the gel. Within five minutes, he was throwing up in the restroom.
Just read the label on any major brand of toothpaste, and you’ll that they’re loaded with dangerous chemicals – chemicals such as FD&C blue dyes #1 and 2, sodium lauryl sulfate, and hydrated silica. All of these ingredients are common and have been found to be harmful to humans.
FD&C blue dyes #1 and #2 have been shown in studies to trigger a wide number of behavioral, learning and health problems. Exposure to these dyes seems ill advised since they are synthesized from petroleum.
Sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) is a dangerous ingredient used in personal care products. Due to its foaming properties, it gives the impression that the toothpaste is working. However, SLS has been found to be quite corrosive and harmful to skin tissue according to reports from the American College of Toxicity.
Hydrated silica is a whitener that can damage tooth enamel. It is primarily used as an abrasive, but it can harm the enamel and prevent remineralization. You should avoid this ingredient especially if you have gum disease, tooth decay, tooth ,or receding gums.
If this information concerns you, be aware that health risks from chemicals and toxins in oral hygiene products are the most avoidable of all the health risks we face. You don’t have to be a biochemist to get these risks out of your life. It’s as simple as changing brands.
My response to that concerned mother’s question was definitely, “Yes, you CAN get sick from your toothpaste.” As ever, it’s “Buyer, beware.” Do your homework, educate yourself and be proactive as you continue to make healthy choices for you and your family.
Updated from the original