What’s in my toothpaste?


Here’s a question: how many of you know that most toothpaste out there (Crest, Colgate and company) is poisonous? That’s right, I said it. It sounds crazy, I know. After all, we put it in our mouths 2-3 times a day, every day, until we say ‘good-bye’. (At least, we should be brushing that often. Some people…don’t.) I think just about every one knows about Sodium Fluoride. Quick recap on history: it was deemed as one of the greatest discoveries in terms of dental health. Tap water has fluoride in it as a result of this discovery. I’m not against fluoride per se. I mean, before its discovery, the population had a lot more gaps in their smiles. However, too much of any good thing can be bad, and this is no exception. I don’t think I need it in my toothpaste because it’s every where else: the water, some chewing gums, mouthwashes, etc. Another ingredient regularly found in toothpaste is Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS). Most of us know about SLS because it’s also commonly found in shampoo (and body washes, handsoap, bubble bath and on and on). Basically, if it foams, there’s probably SLS in it. SLS serves the same purpose in toothpaste as well: it foams. I have issues with this ingredient (and to be totally honest, I do use SLS sparingly in one particular bath product I make, but it is not a product meant to be used on a daily basis.) My problem with SLS is that if you use it too frequently, it can affect your health. Even if SLS is in tiny amounts of every product you use, by the time you use many of these aids (on a daily/weekly basis), you’re accumulating a lot of it in your system. SLS has been linked to liver problems, cysts and sores on the head and in the mouth, hormone issues for women and even possibly, cancer. I don’t want this stuff in my toothpaste because no matter how great you may think you rinse, in is inevitable that some of it will be ingested. I find it worrying that on almost every tube of toothpaste there are directions as to when you should call the Poison Control Center. I have children, and I wonder how much toothpaste they inadvertantly swallow. I recently decided to buy ‘natural’ and shun the regular pastes. Easier said than done. A lot of so-called ‘Natural’ toothpastes have SLS or something else I don’t like in their ingredients. I recently bought a tube of Dr. Ken’s toothpaste from Bed, Bath & Beyond. The packaging looked tacky, I must say, but the ingredient list was impressive. So I brought it home and have been using it ever since. We are almost finished with this first tube. It takes some getting used to because you notice the lack of foam when you brush (no SLS, right!). My mouth still felt clean at the end of it. I don’t know whether I’ll stick with Dr. Ken or try another brand, but I do know that whatever I do use, it will be non-toxic, with ingredients that I can actually pronounce.