Picking a toothpaste can be very confusing. With promises of minty fresh breath, stronger enamel and whiter teeth, the toothpaste industry has become very competitive. Conventional toothpastes usually contain many chemicals, from fluoride and triclosan to sodium laureth sulphate and artificial sweeteners. One segment of this industry that is growing is natural toothpaste.
Here are the most common chemicals to AVOID in toothpastes:
1. Fluoride. The chemical most commonly found in toothpaste is sodium fluoride (also just labeled as fluoride). Although fluoride is touted as an important defense against tooth decay, it can also be harmful if ingested, even in moderate quantities. Thus, many natural toothpastes (especially those marketed to children) are fluoride-free.
2. Triclosan. Despite being classified as a pesticide, triclosan is commonly added to toothpastes and antibacterial products. The Environmental Protection Agency has openly stated that the chemical poses a threat to humans and the environment. Yet it is still found in many toothpastes.
3. Sodium lauryl sulfate. SLS is added to many personal care products for its cleansing and detergent properties, despite being a potential eye and skin irritant. It is also potentially carcinogenic when combined with other common chemicals.
4. Propylene glycol. Propylene glycol acts as a wetting agent and surfactant in toothpaste. The substance is found in many conventional toothpaste brands, despite being linked with brain, liver, and kidney abnormalities with repeated exposure.
5. DEA. Diethanolamine, or DEA, is a commonly used foaming agent. It has also been linked to cancer formation and hormone disruption with repeated exposure.
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