Traditional Oral Care Products: Hidden Dangers and Better Options

Traditional Oral Care Products: Hidden Dangers and Better Options

“Keep out of reach of children” and “If more than used for brushing is accidentally swallowed, get medical help or contact a Poison Control Center right away.” There’s a reason your toothpaste tube bears these warnings. While traditional oral care products may be effective in cleaning your teeth, tongue, and gums, they contain ingredients that are not entirely safe.

And while we don’t tend to swallow substances like toothpaste, your mouth is one of the most absorbent places on your body, as demonstrated by the fact that some medications are administered “sublingually,” meaning they are placed under your tongue to be absorbed. Over time, some of the ingredients of your toothpaste are surely making their way into your bloodstream.

What’s in Toothpaste?

That simple, minty blue substance you squeeze onto your toothbrush is more complicated than you think. The packaging often lists only sodium fluoride as the active ingredient. (That alone might give you cause for concern, as it is a chemical that is also used in insecticides and disinfectants.) However, there are are many other ingredients you should be aware of. Depending on the formulation, they can include:

  • Sodium lauryl/laureth sulfate. This is a surfactant and detergent used as a foaming agent. Clinical studies have shown it to be a skin irritant and therefore it is recommended that it should not be used in skin care products. Its molecules are small enough to penetrate the skin and enter the bloodstream.
  • Hydrated Silica. This is used as an abrasive in toothpaste. It is made from a crystallized compound found in quartz, sand, and flint.
  • Glycerin. Used to maintain consistency and prevent toothpaste from drying out, this colorless, syrupy, sweet, liquid is derived from fats and oils and is also used as a solvent, and in antifreeze, cosmetics, liquid soaps, inks, and lubricants.
  • Sorbitol and sodium saccharin. These are the common sweeteners in toothpaste.

While there’s no indication that this chemical concoction can cause immediate harm, it’s important to think about the potential long-term consequences of putting it in your mouth. Some studies are beginning to uncover links to serious health problems including increased risk for Alzheimer’s disease, cancer, genetic damage, arthritis, and osteoporosis.

A More Natural Approach to Oral Care

Out of concern for our patients’ overall wellness and respect for the effectiveness of more natural oral care, we offer several products in our Basalt office, that not only take care of your oral health, but also your overall health, and the environment. We have toothpaste, mouthwash, essential oils, and supplements that can be used as replacements for, or in addition to, your other everyday oral care products. While your choice of traditional or natural products is certainly up to you, we’re glad to provide you with options.

However you decide to address your home care, we’re here to provide cleanings, dental exams, and an array of other services. Visit or call 970-279-5647 for more information or to schedule your next cleaning and exam with Drs. Steinbach and Van Gorden. Schedule an appointment now >

We’ve proudly provided comprehensive dental care to Basalt, Aspen, Carbondale, and surrounding Colorado areas for 25 years.