Believe it or not, at one point in time, the headline “FREE TOOTHPASTE” used to grab my attention.
Lots of headlines similar to that used to garnish attention honestly ~ every Sunday, I used to race outside to pick up the Sunday paper, to clip the coupons inside, match with store sales and race off to the store for cheap, and in some cases, FREE products.
Unfortunately, not much thought went into what those products actually were, and what effects they could have on my body, or the health of my family. I was just interested in scoring them free.
Fast forward 7 years, and although I might be in an entirely different place in my life, many people are still in that MANIC mode for FREE items – they might just stockpile 100+ tubes of toothpaste in an empty closet, cabinet or even shelf in their garage.
But what many people may not realize, is that the cheap, popular (and sometimes FREE) tube of brand name toothpaste is actually one of the worst health and beauty products you can use to take care of yourself.
Does it Really Matter?
When you eat dangerous chemicals, in most cases your tummy enzymes and your stomach help break them down and flush them out.
Unfortunately, putting chemicals ON your body might just be worse than what goes into your mouth. What you put on your skin is absorbed directly into the bloodstream and goes straight for your internal organs. While they don’t flush out (like food INSIDE of your body) they DO accumulate in your body.
Sadly enough, personal care items are a HUGE billion dollar industry in the U.S. Moreover, the U.S. Government does not require mandatory testing for products before they are sold. Toothpaste is one of those things that we need to use daily. It’s also something that’s easily made with a few ingredients – allowing us to avoid the store.
However, despite it’s simplicity, a good majority of Americans buy it daily, many of which may give no further thought to what concoction of chemicals is going into their mouth.
Here are 4 ingredients you’ll find in a majority of commercial toothpaste brands ~ and why they can put your health in jeopardy:
Sodium Laurel Sulfate (SLS)
Also referred to as SLS, this is used in almost ALL Cosmetic products, and industrial cleaners. You can find it in your makeup, shampoo, hand soap and even your detergent.
It comes from Coconuts, but as it is processed, it’s contaminated with 1,4 dioxane – swallowing can lead to diarrhea, and nausea. 1,4 dioxane (on the CDC site) is described as a carcinogenic to humans, toxic to the brain and nervous system, kidneys and liver. It is ALSO a groundwater contaminant.
Fluoride is used to strengthen your enamel – and because it can be toxic when ingested in large doses, manufacturers have been required to add warning labels to your toothpaste: “WARNING: Keep out of reach of children under 6 years of age. If you accidentally swallow more than used for brushing, seek professional help or contact a poison control center immediately.”
A great documentary to watch on Fluoride is “An Inconvenient Truth” (Youtube).
Unfortunately fluoride has some pretty harmful effects ~ most of which are not acknowledged by the personal care industry.
Saccharin is a sweetening agent in Sweet’N Low and it has been found in major brand name labels (Crest for example). Crest claims that it provides them stability while in store shelves, and that it does not contribute to cavities.
It’s one of 4 dangerous sweeteners that you might want to avoid – it can lead to allergic reactions and issues such as headaches, diarrhea, and skin issues. When used in studies with rats, there have been issues that show it led to bladder cancer (although that has not been proven with humans) – there is still cause for concern.
This is a petroleum based chemical used to soften cosmetic products – you can also find it in body wash and other personal care items.
There are many forms of PG, and what its is, is a form of mineral oil, an alcohol produced by fermentation of yeast and carbohydrates – it gives the designation of carbs when used in foods. You can find it in several grades – including antifreeze, engine coolant, paint, enamel and varnishes – and you can also find it in pharmaceutical grade and used in topical and injectable drug products.
It is used to extend the shelf life of products in stores.
Over exposure of PG can be harmful – and it can have effects with skin sensitivities or allergies, effects on the brain, liver and kidneys.
What are the Alternatives?
Believe it or not, there are several – and they work just as effectively without exposing your family to harmful ingredients. Combine baking soda and coconut oil to make your own homemade toothpaste – you can add essential oils for a little extra power, too.
The cost of FREE toothpaste is definitely not worth the health risk of subjecting yourself to unwanted and unnecessary ingredients – when you can take control and make your own, OR scout the market for safe alternatives that are without the harmful ingredients in most commercial brands.