Are There Dangers Lurking In Your Toothpaste?
“Most toothpaste contains a number of slow moving poisons that accumulate in the highly sensitive and permeable mucous membranes in the mouth and lead to toxic overload. Over time, these toxins can cause serious health risks.” (1)
Poisons. A harsh word, I know. But lets call it what it is. I refuse to pretend a toxin is safe even in small doses! After all, how do you measure how much is absorbed anyway? Obviously, for a child, even a small amount is toxic.
What about how these toxins enter our bodies? Our mouth and gums are VERY vascular. Some medications, like sublingual nitroglycerin, are prescribed to be administered under the tongue. Ever give much thought as to why??? Let me enlighten you!
The first-pass effect (also known as first-pass metabolism or presystemic metabolism) is a phenomenon of drug metabolism whereby the concentration of a drug is greatly reduced before it reaches the systemic circulation. It is the fraction of lost drug during the process of absorption which is generally related to the liver and gut wall. After a drug is swallowed, it is absorbed by the digestive system and enters the hepatic portal system. It is carried through the portal vein into the liver before it reaches the rest of the body. The liver metabolizes many drugs, sometimes to such an extent that only a small amount of active drug emerges from the liver to the rest of the circulatory system. This first pass through the liver thus greatly reduces the bioavailability of the drug. Alternative routes of administration, like sublingual, avoid the first-pass effect because they allow drugs to be absorbed directly into the systemic circulation. (2)
One of the main functions of the liver is to cleanse the blood of drugs and other poisonous substances and toxins. When we brush our teeth, some of the toothpaste is absorbed sublingually and some is swallowed. Sublingual absorption is direct, and much faster. It ensures that the substance will risk degradation only by salivary enzymes before entering the bloodstream directly and travels full strength throughout the body. This is excellent for cardiovascular drugs that you want to work quickly without being broken down. This is NOT what you want when it comes to poisons and toxins that are in commercial toothpaste. Toothpaste that is swallowed will pass through the gut and some will be broken down and detoxified by the liver. Toxins and chemicals that do not pass thru the liver are more potent as they travel to other organs such as the brain, lungs, heart and all tissues. Fat is a great place to store toxic build up.
What are these toxins?
Most commercial toothpastes contain at least three potentially harmful, possibly toxic, and at the very least unnecessary chemicals: Glycerin, sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) and artificial sweeteners. Fluoride, which many people choose to avoid due to toxicity concerns, is also common to commercial mouth care.
Glycerin is thought to leave a coating on the teeth, possibly contributing to de-mineralization and preventing re-mineralization (the layering of minerals back into the enamel structure). Re-mineralization strengthens the enamel and protects the tooth.
Sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) is readily absorbed by the body and is considered a “probable human carcinogen” by the Environmental Working Group (EWG). According to the EWG, SLS may cause skin irritation, eye irritation, and even hormone imbalances; exposure may also cause denaturing of structural protein – including the membranes in our mouths. A review of the available literature on SLS by the National Industrial Chemicals Notification and Assessment Scheme (3) (nicnas.gov.au) indicated eye and skin irritation as clinically observed.
SLS and Sodium Lauroyl Sarcosinate are the synthetic chemicals used as the foaming agents in toothpaste (1). SLS is also commonly found in engine degreaser, garage floor cleaners, and car wash soaps (4). In the scientific community, SLS is commonly acknowledged as a skin irritant and has been linked to mouth ulcers and canker sores (1).
Commercial products often include a variety of artificial sweeteners intended to make them palatable. For instance, saccharin is manufactured from petroleum products, and, like most artificial sweeteners, has been linked to cancer. (EWG)
Two other commonly used artificial sweeteners include sorbitol, and aspartame. These can cause horrible side effects (this list is SCARY) like headaches, dizziness, mood changes, vomiting or nausea, abdominal pain/cramps, change in vision, diarrhea, seizures/convulsions, memory loss, fatigue, numbness in legs, joint pain, unexplainable depression, anxiety attacks, slurred speech, blurred vision, multiple sclerosis, fibromyalgia, systemic lupus, and various cancers (5). Symptoms many may suffer from, but difficult to link to a cause.
Aspartame is the technical name for the brand names NutraSweet, Equal, Spoonful, and Equal-Measure. Aspartame is made up of three chemicals: aspartic acid, phenylalanine, and methanol. Did you know that a by-product of aspartame is formaldehyde?? For a great article on the dangers of aspartame, I suggest you read the article Aspartame is, by Far, the Most Dangerous Substance on the Market that is Added To Foods
Fluoride has actually been categorized as a “toxic drug” by the FDA (1). If you are buying organic food to avoid pesticides but using commercial toothpaste, you might be interested to know that Sodium Fluoride was at one time widely used as an insecticide and a rodenticide (1).
Fluoride toxicity can occur due to the toothpaste that may be ingested with every brushing. Fluoride toxicity, which may occur with chronic fluoride exposure, can have harmful effects on the entire body. In children, dental fluorosis (enamel discoloration due to damage to the tooth forming cells) can occur. Studies have shown that fluoride can also cause damage to the brain, possibly causing IQ deficits in children. Fluoride can also adversely affect the pineal gland, thyroid gland, bone, gastrointestinal tract and has been linked to bone and bladder cancers (6).
Now, think of your kids. Do you think that, on occasion, they probably swallow some of the toothpaste you put on their brushes? Maybe even you do sometimes? And even if you’re not swallowing it, you are still putting it into you mouth where it has access to the rest of your body (Sublingual absorption). Is that a risk you are willing to take on yourself and your family?
ARE YOU KIDDING ME? We need to start reading labels and paying attention to what we are putting in and on our bodies! We need to be educated to know what to look for on those labels! For all of you gum chewers, diet pop drinkers, diet yogurt eaters, or “diet” and “sugar-free” anything- PAY ATTENTION! Aspartame is used in almost all “sugar-free” and “diet” substances. We are conditioned to be blissfully unaware – and ok with that! NOT ANYMORE!!!
Concerns over toxic or harsh ingredients may seem over-blown, but consider this: if you brush your teeth for two minutes, twice a day, your gums are exposed to the paste you’re using for a full 24 hours each year! In the long run, every second counts; so using a paste that is nontoxic and free of industrially-formulated chemicals is critical. Why take a 24-hour chemical bath every year?
What about brushing? You’ve probably heard that hand-washing should last at least two minutes for maximum effectiveness. Just like washing your hands, brushing for two minutes is actually as important as the products you use. If you can’t source a good toothpaste, you can simply use water. In fact, the simple act of BRUSHING for two minutes is likely more effective at cleaning your teeth than conventional toothpaste! (2)
The toothpaste from Primal Life Organics (Dirty Mouth Primal Toothpowder) is made from direct-from-the-earth ingredients, no laboratory required. Our paste provides protection from plaque and cavities, delivers nutrients for healthy gums and teeth, and can be used without fear of the ingestion of toxins. This toothpaste provides essential minerals that can be absorbed through gum tissue and porous teeth. It whitens and cleans with gently abrasive earthen clays, and leaves the delicate oral tissues feeling fresh.
After all, native cultures with robust dental health practice oral hygiene in ways that may seem unfamiliar to us, but we can certainly learn from them. The practice of “pica” – the ingestion of dirt or clay – is common among tribal communities. Pica is the body driving us to obtain minerals that are lacking in the diet. I’m not suggesting you eat a bowl of dirt for dinner, but knowing that traditional cultures valued clay for its mineral density, and understanding how critical minerals are to the health of the mouth (they can be considered nutrition for the teeth), using clay for dental health and re-mineralization just makes sense!
Primal dirt: Fill your mouth with vital and trace minerals important to maintain dental health the natural, paleo way. Mildly abrasive, gently polishes, detoxifies and refreshes.
Available in Refills too!
Also available as a package with Dirty Mouth Boost Primal Gum Serum for added protection.
Organic Skincare. Paleo Skincare. Natural Skincare. Vegan Skincare. Gluten-free Skincare.