Toothpaste

April 3, 2008

Toothpaste

by Laura Seidman

Background: toothpaste has an interesting history for those who are interested:
http://www.enotes.com/howproducts-encyclopedia/toothpasteencyclopedia/toothpaste

Ingredients of concern:

1. FLUORIDE. The benefits and health risks of adding fluoride to water and toothpaste been studied extensively but there is ongoing debate. On one hand, fluoride has been shown to decrease the risk of cavities through ingestion in low levels in drinking water and through flooding the mouth with fluoride, such as during tooth brushing. On the other hand, ingesting high levels of fluoride is known to possibly cause a discoloration and pitting of the enamel of teeth (fluorosis) and some claim it can cause bone weakness as well. Fluoride is toxic in high doses.

http://www.who.int/water_sanitation_health/naturalhazards/en/index2.html

http://www.alive.com/3780a1a2.php?subject_bread_cramb=658

http://www.who.int/oral_health/action/risks/en/index1.html

http://www.greenfacts.org/en/fluoride/

2. SLS or SLES. Sodium Laurel Sulfate and Sodium Laureth Sulfate are added to toothpaste, soap, detergents, shampoos, etc to cause foaming. The health risks of these chemicals are controversial – some, such as Andrew Weill and the American Cancer Society, consider this urban legend, and assert that there is no evidence of any negative effects of SLS or SLES beyond being an irritant, mild in the doses present in soaps, toothpastes, etc. Others claim that it is more than a mild irritant, especially for those prone to eczema and mouth ulcers, and that, if it is absorbed through the skin, it can act as an estrogen mimic and “may be responsible for a variety of health problems from PMS and Menopausal symptoms to dropping male fertility and increasing female cancers such as breast cancer.” Perhaps the most universally accepted fact is that SLS and SLES have been found to be contaminated with 1,4- dioxane, a human carcinogen.

http://www.natural-health-information-centre.com/sodium-lauryl-sulfate.html

http://www.natural-health-information-centre.com/sodium-lauryl-sulfate.html

nd=TodayQA&pt=Question&questionId=3513

http://www.natural-health-information-centre.com/sodium-lauryl-sulfate.html

3. TRICLOSAN. Triclosan is an antibacterial agent found in toothpaste and soaps, among other things. It is said to pose a health risk in that it is toxic, may promote cancer and can react with chlorine in water to form low levels of chloroform. Some say it contributes to the formation of mouth ulcers.

http://www.newstarget.com/017804.html

http://www.newstarget.com/022178.html

4. ARTIFICIAL SWEETENERS. Artificial sweeteners such as aspartame and saccharine are used in small amounts in toothpaste. There is some concern over consuming these chemicals in larger amounts. Aspartame consumption is said to underlie many diseases and may even contribute to the development of lymphoma and brain tumors. Saccharine has a history of studies linking its consumption to cancer in lab animals and probably in humans, however not at the doses consumed through the use of toothpaste alone. Sorbitol, a sugar alcohol, is often added instead of “artificial sweeteners”, but some people are intolerant of sorbitol and may experience gas, abdominal bloating and pain, and diarrhea, as well as worse effects if they are allergic to alcohol.

http://www.sweetpoison.com/articles/0907/study_advocates_aspartame.html

http://www.sweetpoison.com/

http://www.bellaonline.com/articles/art15448.asp

http://www.pubmedcentral.nih.gov/articlerender.fcgi?artid=1637197

http://health.yahoo.com/weightloss-resources/fructose-or-sorbitol-intolerance/healthwise–

aa113455.html

Recommendations: Read labels for the above ingredients as well as other mystery ingredients and check to see whether ingredients are organic. Beware: a brand name using the word ‘organic’ does not mean it is organic. Also, consider packaging – tooth powders do not require disposable tubes. There are LOTS of brands – these are just a few.


Tom’s of Maine toothpaste

http://www.tomsofmaine.com/toms/ifs/

Fluoride:Optional

Triclosan: no

SLS/SLES: usually

Sweetener: Some have sorbitol

Comments: Widely available in stores

Nature’s Gate toothpaste

http://www.naturesgate.com/shop/showCatalog.asp?category=170

Fluoride: Optional

Triclosan: No

SLS/SLES: Yes

Sweetener: Some have stevia

Comments: Widely available in health food stores

Herbal Choice toothpaste

http://www.herbalchoicebeauty.com/

Fluoride: No

Triclosan: No

SLS/SLES: No

Sweetener: No

Comments: Mostly organic

Jason toothpaste

http://www.jasonnatural.com/products/oral_care.php

Fluoride: No

Triclosan: No

SLS/SLES: No

Sweetener: No

Comments: Contains coenzyme Q10, blue green algae, or tea tree oil, etc

Druide toothpaste

http://www.grassrootsstore.com/index.asp?PageAction=VIEWPROD&ProdID=631

Fluoride: No

Triclosan: No

SLS/SLES: No

Sweetener: No

Comments: Vegan, certified organic

Green People toothpaste

http://www.soorganic.com/product.php?productid=255

Fluoride: No

Triclosan: No

SLS/SLES: No

Sweetener: No

Comments: Non-foaming toothpaste

Uncle Harry’s tooth powder

http://www.uncleharrys.com/Merchant2/merchant.mv?Screen=CTGY&Store_Code=UHNP&Category_Code=MP-T

Fluoride: No

Triclosan: No

SLS/SLES: No

Sweetener: No

Comments: Organic ingredients plus purified ocean water

Spirit Bear tooth powder

http://www.econatural.com/tootcar.html

Fluoride: No

Triclosan: No

SLS/SLES: No

Sweetener: No

Comments: Contains grey salt from France

TOOTHBRUSHES

Background: According to about.com, fifty million pounds of toothbrushes are tossed into U.S. landfills every year.

http://environment.about.com/b/2005/12/20/can-you-recycle-your-toothbrush.htm

That may be reason enough to start thinking about your toothbrush choices.

Concerns: Plastic handles and nylon bristles – energy intensive product that is used for short period of time and rarely recycled.

Alternatives:

1. Radius Original Toothbrush. The Radius original toothbrush has been around for 22 years. This nontraditional design (made for righties and lefties) not only helps you brush better, but the handle is made from renewable resource plastic (cellulose). Radius also makes a toothbrush line for children

http://www.radiustoothbrush.com/index.asp?PageAction=VIEWCATS&Category=14

2. Radius Source Toothbrush. The Source toothbrush comes with a replaceable head. After all, when you get a new toothbrush, all you really want to do is change out the bristles. The reusable handle is made from a wood fiber blended with corn plastic – both renewable resource materials. The manufacturing of Radius toothbrushes is also eco-friendly. They are made in a restored mill in Pennsylvania, using well designed, efficient processes that create less waste and save on water and energy use.

http://www.radiustoothbrush.com/index.asp?PageAction=VIEWCATS&Category=16

3. Preserve Toothbrushes are made out of polypropylene plastic that has been recycled from used Stonyfield Yogurt cups. And when a Preserve toothbrush reaches the end of its effective life, consumers can either put it out on the curb in the blue bin with other recyclables (if your community offers #5 plastics recycling), or send it back to Recycline in a postage-paid envelope supplied to you with your purchase. It will then likely be reborn again as raw material for a picnic table, deck, boardwalk or other durable long-lasting product. You can find these toothbrushes at Whole Foods, Wild Oats, and some other specialty or natural foods stores; some major drug stores may carry them as well. While these brushes cost a little more than their conventional counterparts, since they’re better designed, they will actually last a little longer.

http://www.recycline.com/products/preserve.html

4. Eco-Dent’s Terradent toothbrushes have replaceable heads, so that once the bristles have worn out, consumers can retain the toothbrush handle and just snap on a new head, thus minimizing waste.

http://www.eco-dent.com/

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