Harmful Chemicals In Your Toothpaste?

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Most of us brush our teeth in the morning, or at night, or both, and those that are really keen and conscientious brush after every meal – all in an attempt to keep those pearly whites, white healthy and cavity free. But have you ever thought about what’s actually in that toothpaste that you’re using in your mouth every day and sometimes several times a day?

Most of us have probably never thought about it. We just assume that if it’s for sale in the supermarket, it’s got to be good, safe and effective – right?

Well get ready for it – NO – Your toothpaste is probably not full of good stuff. It’s probably not safe for your body and it’s probably not even very effective!

If you get your tube of toothpaste out and take a look at the ingredients (they might be on the box and not the tube), chances are you’ll find all or some of the following ingredients:

Sodium Lauryl Sulphate (SLS), Fluoride, Sodium Saccharin, Artificial flavours and colours

There are probably other potentially harmful ingredients used in various brands also, but these are the most common ones. If we take a look at each ingredient we begin to realise the potential implications that using these unsafe chemicals in our mouths every day might be having on our health and our children’s health, as being smaller, they are very much more susceptible to the damaging effects daily exposure to toxic chemicals.

Sodium Lauryl Sulphate or SLS (You may find Ammonium Lauryl Sulphate instead – same deal) – SLS is a foaming agent. It’s used in almost everything that foams from your toothpaste to shampoos, floor cleaners, degreasers and dishwashing liquid. SLS readily penetrates the skin and in fact makes skin more permeable. So anything used with SLS or after will be absorbed much more readily into the body via the skin. SLS accumulates in tissues and organs. SLS can damage the immune system. It can cause permanent damage to eyes in children, preventing their eyes from developing properly.

SLS damages the skin and mucous membranes, causing seperation of skin layers and severe irritation. It’s use in toothpaste causes microscopic damage to the mouth tissues and is the number one cause of recurring mouth ulcers and it can also be the cause of gum disease.

SLS is associated with the development of cataracts. Carinogenic (cancer causing) nitrates can be formed when SLS interacts with nitrogen bearing agents, common in personal care products. sodium lauryl sulphate is used in clinical studies to cause irritation to skin tissue!

From the Safe Shoppers Bible, written by leading toxicologist and expert on cancer prevention Dr Samuel Epstein:

“The amount of irritation caused by toothpaste is minimal but can include sore mouth and gums, wearing away of tooth enamel, sore tongue, and sloughing of mucous membrane.”

Some toothpastes that contain both sodium lauryl sulphate and Triclosan continue working for 12 hours. The American College of Toxicology reports:

“Both sodium and ammonium lauryl sulphate appear to be safe in formulations designed to be discontinuous, brief use followed by thorough rinsing from the surface of the skin. In products with prolonged contact with the skin, concentrations should not exceed 1%”

Twelve hours is not exactly brief discontinued use! Triclosan is one of a class of chemicals suspected of causing cancer in humans. Externally it can cause skin irritation, internally it can cause cold sweats, circulatory collapse, coma or even death! Do you want this working in your body for 12 hours?

Fluoride – There is huge worldwide debate over fluoride! It was very well marketed as being good for teeth many years ago (without evidence) and since then the debate has raged. It is banned in some countries in Europe. Others such as ours, in their wisdom and with total disregard for the wishes of it’s citizens, are just now adding it to the water supply, whether we want it or not. Fluoride has been shown to damage health, so the question really is that even if it does reduce dental caries (which is doubtful and has never been proven), is it worth the risks such as bone cancers, dental and skeletal fluorosis (weakening and discolouration of bones and teeth), hip fractures, thyroid problems and more? I don’t think so.

There is enough fluoride in a standard tube of toothpaste to kill approx 3 young children – that in itself should set off alarm bells. Children have and do die from poisoning from the fluoride in toothpaste – young kiddies eat the stuff! Any Mum or Dad knows that.

Is the (very questionable) benefits of fluoride in your toothpaste worth all the risks?

Sodium Saccharin – It’s the artificial sweetener that’s been around forever. It causes cancer – that’s a proven fact! End of story. I’ll say no more.

Artificial Colours and Flavours – These are actually chemicals that are reasonably well known to the public. They cause hyperactivity in kiddies and a lot more. Many are carcinogenic and really have no place in anything that goes into our bodies. The most common colours in toothpastes and red and blue. Two of the absolute worst ones that are banned in some countries with governments that actually show some common sense!

My question is this – now that you know, what are you going to do? Keep using the cocktail of chemicals that are damaging your mouth, your teeth and your body? or find a safe alternative?

There are safe alternative products out there – some are better than others of course. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking because you see it in a health food store, it must be ok – that would be very unwise from my research that I’ve done into the toothpastes sold in health food stores!

Don’t fall for the marketing. Do your research. Learn about the toxins you’re being exposed to, and then you can make wise informed choices about what you put on and in your body, and more importantly the bodies of your children!

The other consideration of course is that whatever chemicals are in your toothpaste, are going down the drain each time you and your family brush your teeth and into our environment contributing to the chemical soup that we and our wildlife now live in.

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