The mouth is one of the most absorbent places in the body and the reason why some medications are administered sublingually, or under the tongue. So think about what’s in our toothpaste, how much of it we and our kids swallow!
Triclosan, found in toothpaste, is an antibacterial chemical linked to antibiotic resistance and endocrine disruption. The Environmental Protection Agency classifies triclosan as a pesticide.
Endocrine-disrupting chemicals are linked to breast, ovarian, prostate, and testicular cancer, preterm and low birth weight babies, precocious puberty in girls, and undescended testicles in boys. Banned in Minnesota, it’s still in toothpaste, soaps and cosmetics.
Surfactants like Sodium Lauryl Sulfate make the foam in toothpaste. They can cause skin irritation and canker sores, particularly an issue for patients in chemotherapy.
A component in antifreeze, propylene glycol acts as a wetting agent and surfactant in toothpaste. The Material Safety Data Sheets for propylene glycol warn the chemical can be rapidly absorbed through the skin, leading to brain, liver and kidney abnormalities. The EPA won’t allow its workers to handle propylene glycol without wearing rubber gloves, yet its still used in common health care products including toothpaste.
Artificial sweeteners cause sensitivity from a methyl component and bring about many symptoms including headaches, ear buzzing, dizziness, nausea, gastro upset, weakness, chills, memory lapse, numbness, and behavioral disturbances. It, too, is in toothpaste.
Then there are Microbeads, the tiny plastic pellets found in toothpaste body washes and facial scrubs. They go down the drain straight into the environment, absorbing toxins from the water. They’re eaten by a wide variety of marine life and people too, where they get stuck under the gums, inviting food and bacteria to cause gum disease. Procter & Gamble stopped using microbeads in 2016, but the Personal Care Products Council (PCPC) is lobbying to use microbeads made from biodegradable plastic in personal care products.