Safer Swap: Toothpaste

Even if you don’t swallow your toothpaste when you brush your teeth, we still need to check the ingredient labels to see what’s in this staple in our morning and nightly routines. Why is that? Because our mouth is one of the most absorbent parts of our body, which means any nasty chemicals in our toothpaste are getting into our bloodstream and can cause trouble.

Here are the chemicals I avoid in toothpaste for our family:

  • fluoride: This one might surprise you, but I am not a fan of fluoride in toothpaste…and for good reason. Most people don’t realize that we get more than enough fluoride in our drinking water and food. By also putting it in our toothpaste, we can get a buildup of too much fluoride. This can lead to thyroid problems, bone fractures/cancer, and type 2 diabetes.  Fluoride is toxic when too much builds up. In fact, it’s more toxic than lead. It can cause damage to our brain and nervous system, and children are especially susceptible. By getting adequate amounts in our water and food, we don’t need additional exposure to it. Check out this article for more info.
  • sodium laurel sulfate (SLS) and sodium laureth sulfate (SLES): These are foaming agents. Unfortunately, they breakdown the lining in our mouth and are contaminated with carcinogens (cancer-causing agents). I promise that your teeth can still get squeaky clean without foam.
  • parabens: If you hear me talk about this group of chemicals a lot, it’s because they are in just about everything we use on a regular basis. Parabens are used as preservatives to prevent the growth of bacteria and mold in our products. Their use is good, but they have bad side effects. They mimic estrogen and throw our natural hormone levels out of whack which can lead to cancer, infertility, and other health issues. There are safer ways to keep bacteria and mold out of our products.
  • PEGs (polyethylene glycols) and propylene glycol: These ingredients make it easier for other chemicals in toothpaste to penetrate the skin and get into your bloodstream. This means you’re being exposed to even more toxins than you thought. Also, PEGs are known for being contaminated with carcinogens (cancer-causing agents).
  • triclosan: Triclosan is an antimicrobial agent. In 2016, it was banned from soap products because of evidence of its harmful effects on health, but it continues to be in toothpaste, mouthwash, and hand sanitizer. Triclosan is an endocrine/hormone disruptor. This means its health effects are similar to parabens – cancer, infertility, and other health issues that result from causing an imbalance in our natural hormone levels. More info here.  

Safer Options:

  • Hello. This brand has several options available for both kids and adults. Everything from fun kid flavors (our son loves watermelon!) to whitening products. You can find it at Target, Walmart, and Amazon. Be sure you select a fluoride-free version.
  • Davids. This brand comes in a recyclable metal tube and comes with a metal tube key to help roll the tube down to the very end. You can find it on Amazon!