There are a myriad of toothpaste brands available on the market today and our choice is influenced by factors such as taste, price and brand. Another major factor that many of us take into account before picking up that tube of toothpaste is its ability to combat certain dental issues such as bad breath and/or staining. Many people may have never taken the time to identify and assess the ingredients used in these toothpaste and how they affect our health. We will use this article to highlight some of these ingredients.
We start off with sodium fluoride, which is an active ingredient found in a number of toothpaste on the market that promise to give us the protection we need. This is actually a colorless, solid, inorganic chemical compound and is promoted as an ingredient that will guard against tooth decay and reduce cavities.
Effect on the body: Sodium fluoride is toxic to humans and can cause harm whether through inhalation or ingestion. High doses in the body will affect the heart and circulatory system. It is estimated that a dose of approximately five to ten grams is lethal to a 150 pound human. The FDA classifies it as a drug.
This is another active ingredient found in many toothpaste. It is an antibacterial and antifungal agent and can also be found in common household products such as cleaning supplies, mouthwashes, deodorants and shaving creams.
Effect on the body: Triclosan may be carcinogenic. Studies have shown that triclosan has the ability to combine with chlorine in tap water and produce chloroform gas. This has led many manufacturers to start phasing it out their products. The FDA and Health Canada are presently reviewing its safety.
This is a naturally occurring vegetable and fruit sugar that is manufactured from corn syrup. It comes in the form of a sugar alcohol and can be found in diet products such as sugar free candy, diet drinks and chewing gum. It is actually good for teeth as it guards against the formation of bacteria that cause plaque buildup.
Effect on the body: The FDA gave Sorbitol the GRAS status, which means Generally Recognized As Safe, but it has certain effects in the body even when small amounts are ingested. These include aggravate irritable bowel syndrome, similar gastrointestinal conditions and severe abdominal pain. Large doses can lead to mild diarrhea, abdominal pain and flatulence.
This popular herbal supplement is obtained from the resin, or sap, of the myrrh plant. It is said to have antimicrobial, anti-viral, antiseptic and astringent properties that make it an ideal ingredient for natural fluoride-free toothpaste.
Effects on the body: Myrrh is used as a herbal remedy to aid in maintaining the health of the digestive system, heal wounds and guard against infection, promote circulation and boost the immune system.
This is another natural ingredient that is used in herbal toothpastes that are popular among the health conscious. These toothpastes contain allantoin and are free of synthetic ingredients.
Effects on the body: Aloe is known for its soothing healing properties. It is highly effective in promoting the healing of cuts and scrapes.
There are many more ingredients that we are exposed to when we use toothpaste. Knowing their uses and the effects they have on our body will help us make informed decisions.
Jessica Burbank is a dental assistant. Helping people keep their teeth healthy is her professional passion. Click here to learn more about teeth whitening at home.