Beauty + Skincare

Is Regular Toothpaste Really That Bad?

The mouth is one of the most absorbable areas of your body, which is why a lot of medications are administered sublingually (under the tongue) and buccally (between your gums and cheeks). These areas are loaded with capillaries directly linked to your bloodstream, so substances like medications, vitamins, minerals, (and chemicals hidden in your toothpaste) can easily enter without having to pass through the full digestive system and liver for processing.

When you’re brushing at least two times a day with a regular toothpaste that contains harmful ingredients like surfactants, plastics, foams, and bleaches, it is going straight into your system.  Let’s take a look at what’s really in your conventional toothpaste.

The WTF List

Here’s a list of ingredients in one of the most popular toothpaste brands on the market. Sodium fluoride 0.243%, sorbitol, water, hydrated silica, disodium pyrophosphate, flavor, sodium hydroxide, sodium lauryl sulfate, alcohol (0.7%), xanthan gum, sodium saccharin, glycerin, carbomer, Copernicia Cerifera (carnauba) wax, poloxamer 407, Polysorbate 80, sodium benzoate, cetylpyridinium chloride, benzoic acid, titanium dioxide, blue 1, yellow 5.

Okay, what the hell is all of that shit doing in toothpaste??
Wanna know what that mouthful of ingredients does? Here’s a breakdown.

Sodium Fluoride 0.243%

Is added to toothpaste and must be to have any endorsement seal by the American Dental Association. While using Fluoride is a personal preference that should be well thought out and researched before. There is no argument that it is a toxic substance when ingested, and on every tube, you will find a warning that indicates this and requests you call poison control if more than a pea-sized amount is swallowed.


is a sugar alcohol that adds sweetness to the product but doesn’t damage teeth as bad as regular sugar (sucrose) does and retains moisture of the product.

Hydrated Silica

Is essentially sand that is used as an abrasive substance to scrub your enamel. Depending on other forms, it can also be used for whitening your teeth and as a thickener for gel toothpaste.

Disodium Pyrophosphate

Is the ‘tartar control’ and pH control and used as a detergent aid, emulsifier, and buffer. Interestingly, it also removes calcium and magnesium from saliva, reducing remineralization.


There’s a significant pause here. Can you tell me what “flavor” is? So, although this particular toothpaste doesn’t indicate what kind of flavor it’s suggesting to mimic, let’s assume it is referring to the spearmint flavor. “Flavor” can either be naturally or artificially derived. That doesn’t mean that the term ‘natural flavor’ means crushed up mint leaves to make that spearmint taste. But a compound found in spearmint is used and enhanced in the lab to mimic that familiar flavor. On the other hand, ‘artificial flavor’ is entirely man-made from chemicals that resemble the spearmint flavor. Yummy.

Sodium Hydroxide

a.k.a. caustic soda, a.k.a. Lye, and is used in the manufacturing of paper, aluminum, commercial drain, and oven cleaning.  It is the main ingredient when making homemade soaps. There is a long history of use for homemade products (Remember Fight Club). Workers in facilities using or manufacturing this product need to abide by strict safety precautions due to its strong corrosive quality as well as being a strong eye and skin irritant. It is highly alkaline and has been used to help bring down the pH of other ingredients in the toothpaste that are highly acidic.

Sodium Lauryl Sulfate

Is a foaming detergent that has received a lot of negative press in the last few years. It’s association as a human carcinogen, endocrine disruptor and neurotoxin encouraged a massive movement in the cosmetic industry to remove and market their products as SLS/SLES-free now, but unfortunately, it is still in many commercial products.

Alcohol (0.7%)

Is a disinfectant, yes and well known – but your mouth does have loads of good, friendly and productive bacteria? Killing off the beneficial bacteria leaves your mouth open to attack with no defenses. You want a right balance of bacteria in your mouth as it’s the first site of exposure to food and beverages that may contain contaminants. Alcohol is also extremely dehydrating, and a dry mouth is even worse for attracting disease as there’s little saliva to protect your mucous membranes and tooth enamel.

Xanthan Gum

Is an emulsifier and thickener used in many food, drug, and cosmetic products, as well as the drilling and fracking industry. While it is generally regarded as safe (GRAS) by the FDA, there may be some digestive disturbances when taken in extremely high doses. It is a natural alternative to gluten for food binding but may be sourced from corn or soy.

Sodium Saccharine

Is a petroleum-based sugar substitute and one of the most inexpensive alternatives to sugar. A Canadian study over 40 years ago linked saccharine with bladder cancer, but it is still in use today as an ingredient in many personal care products, food, and beverages as it’s over 350x sweeter than sucrose.


Can either be vegetable or petroleum-derived (in this particular toothpaste, the source is unknown – but petrol-based glycerine is cheaper than plant-based). It coats the teeth to ‘protect’ them throughout the day from your coffee, teas, foods that may contain higher acidity. Unfortunately, it also blocks the de/re-mineralization process and protective saliva from your enamel. Numerous reports have stated that it can take up to 25 brushes to remove the glycerine residue from your teeth.

Still with me??? Let’s keep going – we’re just over half way there!


Is a polymer of acrylic acid, another petrol-based ingredient and is used in paint and plastic production. It’s used as a thickener, but is highly acidic and requires a pH neutralizer (sodium hydroxide for example). Also an eye, skin and mucous membrane irritant.

Copernicia Cerifera (Carnauba) Wax

Is extracted from the leaves of the Carnauba palm tree and used as an emulsifier and stabilizer in many cosmetic products. It helps to provide a smoother texture and also aids in the waxy coating of your enamel.

Poloxamer 407

is a detergent used in many personal care products and pharmaceuticals and is linked to liver disorders and hyperlipidemia in animals upon short-term exposure (1-15 days).

Polysorbate 80

Is a synthetic surfactant and emulsifier. Animal studies have shown links to cancer, endocrine disorders and reproductive issues including infertility.

Sodium Benzoate

Is one of the cheapest preservatives used in many cosmetic and food and beverages. It also deprives the cells of oxygen, impacts the immune system and may lead to some other nasty stuff! It’s linked with hyperactivity in children when combined with yellow dye #5 (also an ingredient in this toothpaste). Another scary finding is that when in contact with Vitamin C or E, forms benzene, a carcinogen. In 2005, some pop companies had to reformulate their beverages because the FDA found levels of benzene exceeding their toxicity levels. Maybe skip the avocados and oranges for breakfast after brushing.

Cetylpyridinium chloride

Say that 5x!is yet another anti-microbial agent that is supposed to help with improving bad breath. But the downsides of frequent use of this may cause minor brown-staining of the teeth, gum irritation and burning and promotion of tartar build up.

Benzoic Acid

similar to sodium benzoate is a preservative and when combined with Vitamin C or Vitamin E can increase the levels of the carcinogen, benzene.

Titanium Dioxide

Is used as a whitener and abrasive in toothpaste and a compound in many sunscreens. While there is a lot of back and forth as to its safety, most findings warn against inhalation. Interestingly, France has developed an amendment to ban the use of this product altogether.

Blue #1 (Brilliant Blue) and Yellow #5 (Tartrazine) Dyes

Both are artificial food colorings that have been approved by the FDA in small quantities is considered ‘non-toxic.’ Issues arise when multiple sources contain these dyes, as it’s not just in toothpaste, but cakes, cookies, candies, and even canned peas. Tartrazine, a.k.a. Yellow 5, is linked with behavioral changes including ADHD, irritability, hyperactivity, restlessness, depression, and sleep difficulty. Reports of allergic responses such as hives in children have also been reported.

So, How are you Feeling?

That brings us to the end of the tube. Do you feel comfortable knowing all those have direct links to your bloodstream? How about your children’s? While you and I know to spit out the residue, children who are still developing their senses and tastes are more likely to ingest toothpaste.

What are your thoughts on using conventional toothpaste? What is in YOUR toothpaste?

Related Article: Review – Nelson Naturals Toothpaste

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Related Article: 10 Ways to Detox (without changing your diet)

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