Posted on: 8 October 2014Share
When it comes to choosing a toothpaste, what influences your purchasing decisions? Are you lured by fancy product packaging? Do you shoot for great taste, best whitening ability, or always just buy what's on sale? If so, you could be exposing yourself to the below 3 dangerous ingredients.
Recently, dentists across the country began to witness peculiar phenomena among their patients. People would schedule an appointment for routine care, and, upon examination, their dentists would find clusters of tiny blue specks hidden beneath their gum lines. As investigations unfolded, it was discovered that what they were seeing was polyethylene -- the same plastic used to make garbage bins, bulletproof vests, and grocery bags.
As it turns out, popular toothpaste manufacturers were advertising these bits of micro-plastic as micro-beads -- a revolutionary discovery in teeth whitening technology that's both safe and effective.
Sure, scrubbing your teeth with tiny shards of polyethylene plastic will whiten your teeth, for the time being. As far as being safe and effective, though, dentists agree that micro-beads fail. This plastic doesn't break down; it's non-biodegradable. If it works its way deep enough into your gums, it could be there forever. And, as these bits of plastic sit all nestled into your gum line, they provide the perfect foundation for bacteria to cling to and multiply on.
A few states have already introduced bills to ban polyethylene-containing toothpaste from store shelves, and one major toothpaste manufacturer has promised to completely phase out the use of micro-plastics in their products by March of 2016.
Who doesn't love a nice cool-blue toothpaste? The blue stuff is far superior to the plain old white paste, right? Wrong. The one and only benefit of adding blue coloration to your dental hygiene products is that it makes them look neater. The disadvantages associated with blue dyes, however, go on and on.
In 2003, the Food and Drug Administration issued an alert pertaining to the dangers of a common dye found in many food, health, and beauty products, and used in a variety of medical procedures -- Blue 1. The alert explains that, when placed in the feeding tubes of patients in order to detect obstructions, Blue 1 caused a slew of adverse effects. Among them were eye and skin irritation, blue-tinted skin, urine and feces, cancer, and even death!
If you think you're in luck because your favorite brand of blue toothpaste is colored with Blue 2 instead of Blue 1, think again. The FDA warns that, while not enough studies have been performed to validate the claim, they're pretty sure that Blue 2 could cause equal, if not greater health risks for those who ingest it on a regular basis.
Toothpaste manufacturers love to promote the long-lasting, plaque-fighting powers of toothpastes that contain triclosan. What they don't love to promote, however, is the fact that this key-ingredient in many toothpastes and household cleaning supplies is responsible for the horrific outcomes of several animal studies.
When a team of researchers at the University of California administered triclosan to a bunch of mice, they found that, after just a single dose, the mice showed 25% weakened heart muscle strength, and 18% weaker grip strength. When the same researchers subjected fish to triclosan, the fish showed decreased swimming performance. One researcher involved in the study noted that the effects of triclosan on heart function were "very dramatic".
These ingredients are allowed to fly under the radar because the Federal Food and Drug Administration has not yet performed enough studies to validate the claims that dentists everywhere already know as truths. Protect your health by making your dental hygiene purchasing decisions based on thorough examination of the products' ingredient lists, or ask your dentist at a place like Bayview Dental Arts what all-around safe toothpaste he or she recommends.