When it comes to toothpaste, buyer beware. It is not regulated by the FDA because it is considered a cosmetic product. Even though it goes in your mouth! Companies do not have to list all of the ingredients in their products, nor are they required to register their manufacturing facilities with the government or report “adverse events,” making it difficult for regulators to spot potential problems. Essentially, the cosmetics industry regulates itself.
Thanks to the Cornucopia Institute’s research we now know what all is really in our toothpastes, even when it’s not listed on the label, and have an idea what these ingredients do to our, and our family’s, health and wellness. They have taken the time to break down the ingredients and provide a full report on personal hygiene and cosmetic products. The link is included below.
The Cornucopia Institute is chartered as a tax-exempt public charity focusing on research and education. Cornucopia aims to empower organic producers, consumers, and wholesale buyers to make discerning marketplace decisions protecting the credibility of the organic food and farming movement and the value it delivers to society.
The Cornucopia Institute’s research on toothpaste uncovered some interesting information:
- When potentially toxic chemical ingredients are present in toothpaste and mouthwash, they are likely to pass directly and quickly into the bloodstream, even if the toothpaste is not swallowed. This is because the membrane lining of the mouth (oral mucosa) has an absorption efficiency of more than 90%, according to the Physician’s Desk reference Handbook.
- A label containing the word “natural” does not necessarily mean a toothpaste is free of potentially harmful ingredients.
- Some prominent “natural” brands are manufactured by companies that primarily sell mass-marketed brands. For example, Tom’s of Maine is owned by Colgate-Palmolive, the company that also makes Colgate toothpaste.
- Toothpastes sold in Europe have different, safer formulations than the same products, made by the same companies sold in the U.S., to accommodate stricter EU cosmetics laws.
- The American Dental Association (ADA) is heavily subsidized by the cosmetic industry, creating a conflict of interest. Its seal does not guarantee the safety of toothpastes, or other oral products, or the quality of the ingredients in these products.
- The drive to maximize profit margins focuses investment in advertising and packaging, rather than safe and high-quality ingredients.
- Many ingredients in toothpastes are synthetics derived from petroleum or from heavily processed and synthesized natural ingredients, which, in their final formulation, are not remotely related to the natural parent compound (e.g. coconut oil), and some may become potentially toxic.
- Toothpaste ingredient labels are often unintelligible, with difficult to pronounce ingredients that only a cosmetics chemist might decipher and understand.
- Some toothpastes may contain contaminated ingredients. In addition, toxic compounds may be formed by the interaction of ingredients under certain conditions or may be released slowly over time.
- The average American will use about 20 gallons of toothpaste over his or her lifetime.
- Children are at greater risk of exposure, because they tend to ingest more toothpaste than adults; in addition, their exposure, will be greater than adults’ in terms of amount of toothpaste used per body weight.
- Toothpastes specifically targeted to children often contain artificial colors (food dyes), which have been linked to hyperactivity and related behavioral problems in children. Some of which also pose a risk of cancer and allergic reactions.
TYPICAL TOOTHPASTE INGREDIENTS
- Mild abrasives to remove debris and residual surface stains. Examples include calcium carbonate, dehydrated silica gels, hydrated aluminum oxides, magnesium carbonate, phosphate salts, and silicates.
- Fluoride to strengthen tooth enamel and remineralize tooth decay. All ADA-accepted toothpastes contain fluoride.
- Humectants to prevent water loss in the toothpaste. Examples include glycerol, propylene glycol, and sorbitol.
- Flavoring agents, such as saccharin, sorbitol, and other sweeteners, to provide taste. Flavoring agents do not promote tooth decay. (No ADA-Accepted toothpaste contains sugar or any other ingredient that would promote tooth decay.)
- Thickening agents or binders to stabilize the toothpaste formula. They include mineral colloids, natural gums, seaweed colloids [e.g. carrageenan], or synthetic cellulose.
- Detergents to create foaming action, including sodium lauryl sulfate and sodium lauroyl sarcosinate.
- Some toothpastes contain ingredients such as potassium nitrate or strontium chloride to help reduce tooth sensitivity; stannous fluoride and triclosan to help reduce gingivitis; pyrophosphates, triclosan, and zinc citrate to help reduce a buildup of hardened plaque; modified silica abrasives or enzymes to help whiten teeth by physically removing surface stains; and some additional ingredients, such as triclosan, to help reduce bad breath.
LIST OF COLOR ADDITIVES, PIGMENTS AND COLORANTS CURRENTLY USED IN SOME TOOTHPASTES – These are mainly found in mass-marketed toothpastes, such as Crest, Colgate, Aquafresh, Arm & Hammer, etc.:
- FD&C Blue 1 (also known as Blue 1)
- FD&C Blue 1 Aluminum Lake (also known as Blue 1 Aluminum Lake or Blue 1 Lake)
- FD&C Red 40 (also known as Red 40)
- FD&C Red 40 Aluminum Lake (also known as Red 40 Aluminum Lake or Red 40 Lake)
- FD&C Red 33
- D&C Red 33 (also known as Red 33)
- D&C Red 30 (also known as Red 30)
- D&C Red 30 Lake Aluminum (also known as Red 30 Aluminum Lake or Red 30 Lake)
- FD&C Yellow 5 (also known as D&C Yellow 5 or Yellow 5)
- FD&C Yellow 5 Aluminum Lake (also known as D&C Yellow 5 Aluminum Lake, Yellow 5 Aluminum Lake or Yellow 5 Lake)
- FD&C Yellow 6 Aluminum Lake (also known as Yellow 6 Aluminum Lake or yellow 6 Lake)
- D&C Yellow 10 (also known as Yellow 10)
- D&C Yellow 10 Aluminum Lake (also known as Yellow 10 Aluminum Lake or Yellow 10 Lake)
- FD&C Green 3 (also known as Green 3)
- titanium dioxide
- zinc oxide
- iron oxides
So, after reading all of those, do you still want to put toothpaste in your mouth, or in your family’s mouth?
I certainly don’t! That’s why I make Mother Gaia’s Charcoal Toothpowder. It’s all natural, deeply cleansing, antibacterial, and healing to teeth, gums, cheeks and tongue. And it can be swallowed without calling the poison control center!
Simply made with:
- activated charcoal (extremely adsorptive [electrical absorption], provides gentle abrasion to tooth surface, and deeply cleansing between teeth)
- shavegrass (full of silica to reharden enamel on teeth and strengthen roots and tooth canals)
- arrowroot powder (antibacterial and healing to tissues, used by natives to kill bacteria in arrow wounds)
- Baking soda or sodium bicarbonate (acid reducing to help prevent acids from feeding bacteria forming on teeth and causing plaque formation and tooth decay)
- Sea salt (provides essential minerals for optimal mouth health)