Toothpaste ingredients

We’ve always been told to brush our teeth at least twice a day to make sure they remain healthy and that our smile stays radiant.

But, what if brushing that often good do more harm than good? Plus, when you read the ingredients on the toothpaste packaging, how many ingredients are you able to pronounce? And are you able to distinguish good ingredients from bad ingredients?

I’ve compiled a list of common ingredients found in toothpastes to bring some clarity over this issue.Kids risk to swallow toothpaste

  • Fluoride

This is a mineral that can naturally be found in the water we drink.

It is supposed to help in the prevention of tooth decay according to health authorities and it’s been scientifically proven to do so.

In large quantities, this ingredient can actually attack tooth enamel instead of protecting it in the case where kids swallow large quantities of toothpaste.

To parents out there, make sure your kids spit that toothpaste out when brushing or use a kid-friendly option. There are Fluoride-free options you can consider if your kids are like mine!

  •  Parabens

Parabens can be found in many personal care products as they provide a longer and stable shelf-life.

They include methylparaben, propylparaben, and butylparaben.

Although there’s no evidence that using parabens containing products actually causes breast cancer, if you’re cautious about the quality of the products you use, I’d recommend using paraben free options.

  • Formaldehyde

Formaldehyde is supposed to occur naturally in the environment in very low quantities but industrial production is millions of tons per year.

The issue with this ingredient is the risk when inhaled or absorbed through the skin as it can cause cancer.

  • Triclosan

According to health authorities, this ingredient can help to reduce or eliminate bacterial contamination.

It can indeed be found in a lot of products ranging from lotions, hand sanitizers, cosmetics, toothpaste and mouthwash, shampoos and even some natural health products.

There isn’t enough evidence to show that this substance can cause antimicrobial resistance or affect the thyroid function but it can definitely pose a risk to the environment, especially the species living in the water.

  • Aspartame and Saccharin

These two are sweetening ingredients used instead of sugar to avoid cavities (that’s the whole point, right?).

It can however affect some individuals with an inherited metabolic disorder called phenylketonuria.

  • Sodium Lauryl Sulfate

This ingredient is what makes toothpastes bubble and foam. It can cause skin irritation and in some cases, canker sores.

It is used in very low quantities in toothpastes but if you notice that you’re often getting canker sores, consider an SLS free option.

So, what do you do with all this information? Obviously, you don’t stop brushing. Now that would be silly!

“At a minimum, you should limit your exposure to suspicious ingredients by using all natural toothpaste, if not for your own sake, then to protect the environment and the species alive.”

You have two options:

Option 1:

You can trust manufacturers that they are doing their job correctly and abiding by the rules of the health system/authority in place.

You just show up to the store and buy your toothpaste on sale without trying to question anything. Most of us do. If you need it, you buy it!Buying toothpaste


Option 2:

You can pay more attention to the products you use and educate yourself as much as possible through research and knowledge.

This is by far your best option! But it sounds like a difficult and time-consuming task. Who has time to research?

True. It takes time and energy to research. But the more we research, the more we grow to be more aware and conscious about what we’re introducing to our bodies and to the environment.

Think about it for a second. It is your health and your family’s health we’re talking about here.

The least you can do is avoid products with ingredients you can’t pronounce.

“If it’s useful, accept it. If it’s useless, reject it!”

What's in your toothpaste?I’m not saying to brush with baking soda on a regular basis instead of toothpaste since it can damage teeth enamel, although some dentists do recommend brushing once a week with baking soda to whiten teeth.

What I’m suggesting is there are better options out there that can help restore your mouth’s PH balance without all the possible negative effects on your health and/or the environment.

All natural and Charcoal based toothpastes are better options to the fluoride based toothpastes as they are 100% natural  and made out of coconut charcoal, which helps whiten teeth and reduce the chance of getting gingivitis by eliminating the bacteria in the gums.

I’ve also stumbled into Siwak (or some refer to it as Miswak) which can be used as a natural brush and toothpaste all in one to control plaque and improve gingivitis.

This stick is made from the roots of a tree called Arak. This stuff is great especially if you chew on it several times a day and there are studies showing possible benefits when used as a brush.

I hope you enjoyed this post. If you have any questions or concerns, you can leave them in the comments below and I will be glad to respond.

Have a great day!

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  1. Im not surprised that there are so many potentially harmful ingredients in toothpaste, nothing is safe these days whether its pesticides in your vegetables or artificial hormones in your meat. The best way to avoid these chemicals is to go with natural products. I’ve tried Tom’s natural fluoride-free toothpaste and really like it and have been using it since 2012, they’re not very expensive either, maybe $2 more than regular ones, and its worth the money.

    1. Thank you for your comment. Indeed there are so many questionable substances in everything we buy nowadays. I must say that once I had kids, I started seeing the world differently and have started researching everything to provide the best to my family.

      I’m glad to here that the Tom’s brand works for you!


  2. Mostly allI can say Oh My Gosh, how do they get away with so much. And why do we fall for things such as a pretty smile with white teeth and automatically think it must be good. This is such a revealing post Nadia, and I must confess that I am quietly glad that my oral hygiene has always been the greatest.After learning about such silently harsh ingredients I am rather glad. But for my childrens sake I am going to pay close attention and may even see if they like the Miswak sticks.

    Thanks your for another great eye opener.

    Regards Ropata

    1. Thank you for your comment. 

      Yes, we must educate ourselves to protect our loved ones. Unfortunately, we cannot trust everything we see in the media and we have to do our due diligence by questioning and finding the truth about the products we buy on a regular basis.

      I’m glad that this article provided relevant information and I can’t wait to hear what your kids think about the Miswak!


  3. Hello Nadia. Thanks for sharing this article of toothpaste ingredients – the good and the bad. I must say, this is by far the best article I have come across today. It is very educational and life saving too.

    I think it is very good to do proper research about our toothpaste content to verify if they’re healthy or not.

    I already bookmarked this page for future reference

    1. Thank you for your comment. I’m really glad you found value in this article. It is indeed important to research products available in the market and that we use on a regular basis. By avoiding chemicals, we do ourselves and the environment a favour.


  4. Oops! I never imagined this before; that the ingredients used in toothpaste could be dangerous to our health. If it is, I wonder why they still include these ingredients in our toothpaste. Why don’t they go the natural way just as you have recommended at the end of this post? One really need to be careful; now I see why kids don’t use the regular toothpaste.

    1. Thank you for your comment. The idea behind the marketing strategy is the fact that those chemicals and questionable substances found in toothpaste can only be harmful to human beings if they are used in big quantities. But the regular use of a low quality toothpaste which contains low levels of a given chemical can become harmful after a long period of time. Hence why we don’t realize the effects as they are cumulative over time. It is definitely up to us to make sure we are aware of what we introduce to our bodies regularly and start questioning more.


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