Is Your Toothpaste Safe?

You might have assumed that ingredients in products like soap and toothpaste had been thoroughly tested to ensure their safety and effectiveness. Sadly this is not the case. Some ingredients seem to be able to slip through the net of regulation, meaning dangerous chemicals are lurking in products we are using on a daily basis, with serious consequences for our health.


What is Triclosan?

The antibacterial chemical Triclosan was first introduced as a pesticide in 1969. Since then it has found its way into a huge variety of personal and household hygiene products, like toothpaste, and even plastics including children’s toys. Concerns about its safety have been growing in the last decade and it appears there is very limited data to support its safe use or even prove its effectiveness.

Emerging safety concerns

Such is the concern about this ingredient that last year the state of Minnesota decided to implement a state wide ban on its use in personal hygiene products.  While officially still recognized as safe by the FDA, governors in Minnesota decided that the risk to the public was too great to wait for the FDA to make a long overdue decision about its safety.  Even supermarkets in the UK proposed a voluntary withdrawal of the chemical back in 2003 due to increasing concerns about its toxicity.   In 2010 the National Resources Defense Council (NRDC) sued the FDA for ‘inaction’ regarding Triclosan and in 2013 the FDA was forced to hand-over data regarding the approval of the Colgate toothpaste Total which contains the chemical.

In 2011 the House Rules Committee requested that the FDA put in place a complete ban of the dangerous chemical based on several significant issues.  Triclosan breaks down in the body, especially in the skin when exposed to sunlight, to highly toxic dioxins. These chlorinated dioxins accumulate in the body and are known to cause cancers and disrupt hormones even at very low doses.  The House Rules Committee also stated that the over-use of antibacterial agents was promoting widespread bacterial resistance which was cause for great concern.  Studies have shown that 75% of the US population has Triclosan or its residues present in samples of blood, urine and even breast milk.

Environmental toxicity

The molecule is relatively stable, it does not readily break-down, and so it easily finds its way into the drinking water supply.During water processing the use of chlorine to sterilize the water intensifies the issue, making the by-products even more toxic by adding more chlorine.  The toxic chemicals easily get into the environment and can be found in waterways and natural ecosystems and are responsible for marine pollution worldwide.  Despite being designed to kill off microbes the chemical is nearly 1,000 times more effective at killing off algae, crustaceans and fish.

Personal vs hospital use

In addition to the concerns about environmental and human safety there is very little evidence to suggest the chemical is actually effective.  Numerous studies have shown that it is no more effective than using soap and water when washing your hands yet it is in almost all soaps and household products labelled ‘antibacterial’. In hospitals Triclosan is used in high doses for patients with skin infections of resistant bacterial strains. At these high doses, around 2%, Triclosan damages the membranes of the bacteria, causing them to break down, thus killing off the infection. However, in the weak doses found in toothpastes and other personal hygiene products the effect is quite different.  Low doses of Triclosan disrupt the way bacteria synthesize fatty acids which has a minimal, slower, effect.  The same disruptive effect is thought to be responsible for endangering the marine wildlife.

Insufficient data

A paper in the Journal of Environmental Science and Health concluded that there are gaps in the data to support the safe use of this chemical. They concluded in 2010 that there was: carcinogenic potential, specifically chronic risk to the skin; high risk of hormonal disruption and likelihood of dioxin formation in the skin (in the presence of sunlight). Concerns about the life-time exposure and accumulation of the product in the body, due to it being in so many products, were also highlighted.

So, considering all the available data, why does the FDA still classify the product as safe for use?

Its advisory information about the chemical states that animal data does indeed suggest that it affects hormonal regulation. It also clearly states that aside from its use in Colgate’s Total toothpaste there are no other known benefits.

A review of available literature conducted by the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews found that Triclosan in toothpaste was only “marginally beneficial”.

Total toothpaste

While Colgate and the American Dental Association maintain that Triclosan is required to prevent gingivitis (infection of the gums) the data is not standing up to the latest round of scrutiny. This month the FDA has been heavily criticized for its role in the 1997 approval of the Total toothpaste.

It would seem the regulators relied heavily on company data to support its safe and effective use and did not perform enough tests themselves. This lack of diligence by the FDA means that for the last 17 years consumers have been putting a substance which is proving to have life threatening toxic effects into their mouths.

Dangerous side-effects 

The list of known problems associated with Triclosan is worryingly long.  It disrupts the function of the thyroid gland, mimicking the hormone thyroxin. It is implicated in breast cancer as it also mimics the hormone estrogen. It impairs heart muscle function (as much as 25% in lab mice) and has been linked to heart disease and heart failure. Since the chemical is able to penetrate the skin, more so through the delicate membranes in the mouth, and accumulates in the body the toxic effects are further enhanced. The cumulative effect of the chemical present in so many products designed to protect our health is alarming to say the least.

Other Ingredients In Your Toothpaste to Look Out For

The health regulatory body in Sweden has already issued guidance suggesting consumers avoid the chemical in toothpaste and hopefully other regulators will come to the same conclusion soon. In the meantime consumers need to be aware of exactly what chemicals they are putting in their body.

Sodium fluoride

This is not the first time ingredients added to toothpaste have come into question.  Sodium fluoride has been routinely added to toothpaste for nearly 50 years, while data to question its safety has been collecting for the last 40 years.  Despite over 100 peer reviewed animal studies implicating its toxicity,  you will still find it in most toothpastes and added to drinking water. It was originally believed that it could help fight cavities by forming a protective coat of fluoridated-enamel on the teeth. However, recent research shows this protective layer is only 6 nm thick (one thousandth of the width of a human hair).

This thin coating is easily lost while chewing and the dental cavities it is designed to prevent could be eliminated by simply cutting back on sugar.   Sodium fluoride is a potent toxin which affects the developing brain and studies have shown unequivocally that the amount of fluoride in drinking water is directly linked to lowered IQ. The reduction in IQ is directly correlated with the amount of fluoride consumed and the amount found in the body.

This one is a no-brainer, fluoride is bad for you and specifically your children. The Centre for Disease Control and American Dental Association have both warned their members, but not the public, to avoid using fluoridated tap water when preparing infant formula.

Titanium dioxide

Another toxic ingredient is titanium dioxide.  This is a coloring agent, added to toothpaste, vitamins and supplements to brighten the color.  Titanium dioxide is a common toothpaste ingredient and it has been linked to autoimmune problems. The very small, nanoparticles, of the ingredient interfere with DNA at a molecular level and cause breaks in the genetic material, chromosomal damage and inflammation. In addition to the autoimmune risk of diseases like arthritis there is also an increased risk of cancer.

Recent studies funded by the National Institute of Health found that this chemical, previously considered safe, is causing a lot of damage to the body. Individuals seem to react with different degrees of severity and workers in contact with substances like this are being warned to limit their exposure through cosmetics and personal hygiene products.

Sodium lauryl sulfate

Sodium lauryl sulfate, also called sodium dodecyl sulfate, is an emulsifier and soap; it helps different ingredients blend together and foam-up when used.  It is commonly used in toothpaste, cosmetics, industrial cleaning products and much more. This product although regarded as mildly toxic has undergone extensive testing which has proved its relative safety. However, the testing is usually done by directly putting it in the eyes and mouths of lab animals, very little testing has been done on the cumulative effect of low doses.

A typical western consumer uses 9 to 15 personal hygiene products a day which contain Sodium Lauryl Sulfate or a similar chemical, the dose may be low but it accumulates in the body. This accumulation appears to affect the eyes, liver and skin but there is simply insufficient evidence to validate long term safety and new data is cause for concern. There is already limited data to show a link to mouth ulcers and wary consumers may choose to avoid all chemicals which, like this, simply have not been tested sufficiently to prove their long term safety.

Sodium hydroxide

Sodium hydroxide is another worrying chemical added to a substance we put in our mouths several times a day for most of our lives. Also used as a drain cleaner it is added to toothpaste to change the pH, mainly needed to balance the effects of all the other chemicals.  Have you noticed the warning on toothpaste to spit not swallow? Also the advice to contact a poisons unit if accidentally ingested? This warning is due to the presence of this bleach which is also known for its carcinogenic capacity.

Chemical free alternatives

The list of ingredients found in toothpaste that you probably want to avoid is almost endless. However, some companies have recognized the need to provide safer alternatives and offer much more natural teeth cleaning products.  This includes: Himalaya Herbal Healthcare, Natures Gate Natural Toothpaste, Kingfisher, Weleda and Jason Natural Toothpaste. The products are formulated from natural ingredients with consumer safety in mind.

Home-made solutions

However, if like me you have lost all faith in commercial organizations and their regulators to truly determine what is safe then there are some simple natural alternatives. Green clay is an inert substance, found naturally in the ground, which has been used for thousands of years to purify the body. The clay can be mixed with some natural oil (such as virgin coconut or olive oil) and essential oils to make an excellent alternative. Another option is mixing sodium bicarbonate with coconut oil and essential oils for a similarly gentle abrasive paste.

I had been meaning to make my own toothpaste for quite some time and researching this article made me immediately put my own toothpaste in the bin and concoct something I could trust.

I added some peppermint essential oil (for flavor) and clove essential oil (for its natural antibacterial properties) to some green clay powder I had in the cupboard.  Along with some olive oil for texture and the result was really successful, my teeth felt clean and I felt safe.

Stay safe

If you make your own toothpaste you will know exactly what you are getting and it’s pretty cheap too. Keeping it natural means you avoid all the chemicals which actually disrupt the teeth’s natural ability to heal and regenerate themselves.  Yet again commercial greed and industry influence on regulators has allowed an unforgiveable level of consumer risk. The only solution would seem to be taking matters into your own hands and getting resourceful with some natural ingredients. The result is cheaper, healthier, safer solutions which do the job just as well, if not better.


If you have been using these toothpastes, find out how you can protect yourself with a super immunity nutrient by going to the next page and watch ‘The Elixir Of Life That You Are Missing Out‘.


About the Author:

Emma Deangela is the best selling author of The Alkaline Diet Program and 80/20 Fat Loss. She has helped over tens of thousands of men and women to lose weight and transform their health with sound nutrition advice.

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36 responses to “Is Your Toothpaste Safe?”

  1. Colleen Avatar

    If you make your own toothpaste, do you need to store it in the refrigerator, or do you have to make it fresh every time you brush?

  2. Marilyn Schiller Avatar
    Marilyn Schiller

    What is the best commercial toothpaste to use ?

    1. Sarah S Avatar
      Sarah S

      The article mentioned these: “Himalaya Herbal Healthcare, Natures Gate Natural Toothpaste, Kingfisher, Weleda and Jason Natural Toothpaste. The products are formulated from natural ingredients with consumer safety in mind.”

    2. Jai Lorens Avatar
      Jai Lorens

      Thank you so much for publishing the article about toothpaste.

      Would you kindly indicate the the proper portions for the ingredients, shelf life, refrigerate or not, etc.

      Thank you!!

  3. lucille jaramillo Avatar
    lucille jaramillo

    about 2 weeks ago I was using . I no longer use this, and every thing is back to normal. Thank for your information about tooth paste.

  4. Gopal Avatar

    Thanks for the valuable information,please continue the infomation.

  5. diamond Avatar

    Are you going to make a good product for us?

  6. Carol Waite Avatar

    Excellent article!! I think people have too much faith in the FDA to regulate “safe”. We need to support more organic, and buy products that are available without these toxins! They DO exist.!

    1. ruqaiya ezzi Avatar
      ruqaiya ezzi

      i feel like the fda is really useless honestly. it is just all a business to them

  7. Dr. Corbin Fox Avatar
    Dr. Corbin Fox

    That was a great article, I have been warning family and friends for years about the dangers of Triclosan but I learned more in your article. How does the fluoride-free Kiss My Face Triple Action gel toothpaste stack up? I have been using it for about 11 years and have felt it was a good toothpaste.

  8. Cydney Vargo Avatar
    Cydney Vargo

    While I agree on sodium laurel sulfite, I definitely do not agree with your statement on Fluoride. I have worked in dentistry for forty years and have seen the benefits of fluoride. If fluoride caused the problems that you suggest, then why do we not have clusters of stupid people with cancer in the areas where there is an abundance of fluoride. Eight times the recommended dose!

    1. Teresa Avatar

      While it is true that calcium fluoride is beneficial to dental health, sodium fluoride (commonly used in water treatment and toothpaste) is, in reality, toxic.

      Sodium fluoride is a waste by-product of the aluminum manufacturing process that cost manufacturers to dispose safely. In early 20th century seeking to increase profits and lower costs, aluminum producers convinced government powers to utilize fluoride for tooth decay prevention using the toxic sodium form, rather than the beneficial calcium fluoride.

  9. Caryn Avatar

    Read all ingredients bht banned from plastic is in trident gum causes breast cancer,bha in fav cereals even kids causes breast cancer,gmo causes cancer all kinds,ms,Parkinson’s,birth defects ,Denny’s in California. Warns some of there foods cause cancer and birth defects turns out it is in fake eggs and not sure what other items stoufers stuffing contacted 4 items in stuffing my fav but no more I told them these Ingrid. Cause cancer I will buy when healthy ,high fructose corn syrup or corn syrup a carcinagine causes cancer I call companies they say from corn I told them that is not the problem it is the heating up changes chemical in it to a carcinagine they put out breads and ketchups with out it but you have to keep up they may put in another if it has weird names or better yet get dr. Colbert’s eat this and live.another good one forgot author called toxic sand box all bad stuff proven harmfull like processed sugars and preservatives .go to causes for petitions we sign against monsanto and bayer who put chemicals in food now they are talking about putting agent orange a defoliant from Vietnam has done damage to vets also made them sick and they died.this is a money oriented ungodly uncaring world I pray jesus comes for his church soon

  10. steve Avatar

    This reply is for Cydney Vargo. It would seem that you do not get out of the house to often, other than maybe to go to work. There is an extremely large influx of stupid people appearing all over the world. And it also appears that people are getting cancer on a daily basis. Fluoride in our water and GMO’s in our food is a large contributor to this ploy to dumb down society. You surely can not convince me that because you have worked in the field of dentistry for forty years that there is any benefit from using fluoride. Please research. Fluoride is a POISON!!!

  11. Patricia Avatar

    Stevia, Diatomaceous Earth (food grade), Tea Tree Oil, Peppermint Essential Oil, and Coconut Oil, Makes the best tooth paste. Unlike the store brands, there is nothing toxic in it, like sodium fluoride.

    1. John Avatar

      Patricia: What are the proportions that you use to make the toothpaste?

    2. Kathleen Bryce Avatar
      Kathleen Bryce

      where does one get the food grade diatomaceous earth ?

  12. SHA Avatar


  13. Marvin L. ZInn Avatar
    Marvin L. ZInn

    I use only plain baking soda.

  14. Tina Avatar

    Hi, very good the article but I would like to know where Y buy products,,how he prepares and how long after ready.
    Use sensodyne have sensitivity on the gums and bleed. Easily

    Thank you for you answer


  15. Bonnie Avatar

    I use close up gel that all I can use

  16. Tammy Baugh Avatar
    Tammy Baugh

    Tina I have Tooth Sensitivity also. And just stumbled on an excellent Toothpaste. The name of it is VITA-MYR. It has a Clove base and so it both smells and tastes like fresh Cloves. I purchase it online and when I buy 6 at a time it is a lot cheaper. It is not reallly cheap though otherwise. Since it numbs wherever it is placed and is the size of a regular tube of paste, I can keep it with the home paste. I got one for my son and he uses it religouesly!

  17. Vivian Avatar

    Dear author & readers,
    I really loved this article! It was a strange coincidence to run into because my sister has lately been complaining about a lot of the symptoms that your findings have suggested about the toothpaste; such as, the hormonal issues and leaving and strange texture in her mouth stating she can not seem to get her teeth clean enough lately! As if there was a film over her teeth.
    I took notice that she had recently bought the brand of toothpaste you mentioned, and I must say she has been having some strange hormonal complaints and things with her mouth, tongue and gums, since she switched to using this product. Coincidence?…Maybe!
    However, either way I am glad I found this article, and that there are solutions to follow and how to conquer this terrible toxic trama we are all putting our body’s through on a daily basis with the simplest things and not thinking about it!
    All because, it just is what is easy and convenient; which happen to be the two worst combinations in this world to today.
    So many would argue the point stating, well why would they sell it and so forth!
    More importantly, we need to be more self-aware of the one machine given to us and it seems to be the one we as a society know the least about or neglect to put forth the effort, putting trust in the product makers, marketers, and the stores that just are looking for capital!
    We need to think about how we treat our bodies, all-in-all it effects our minds as well, and I wish most could at least see that part of it, and start recognizing the part it plays in our mental health too; from, mood swings, depression, anxiety, & hormonal issues, etc…
    This is an element so many of us neglect as well our mental health that goes along with all of what we use on our bodies and ingest into our bodies!
    Okay, I’m done with my soap box speech! Needless to say, I was moved about this article and the solutions too!
    Also the comments about the FDA…Just real quick, there is a book I found at a friends and thought what a weird title, but I picked it up and found unbelievable information about the FDA and our food and beverages…the pay-offs and so much more! It was called, “The Skinny Bitch” I know the title was weird as it was a diet book I believe, and there is more in there about the harmful things that warn and educate one about our FDA!
    If you want to know more I would just take a look, it’s a short book yet a weath of information about things I sure was not aware of… Just a side note!
    Finally, from where I started this comment, I wanted to ask for myself and my sisters sake, if you could let me know how to go about finding green clay to make my own toothpaste, as well as, proportions and what someone else asked…what is the safety for storing it and how long it is good for??
    Last but not least thank you all for your info & comments well worth the read…

    As for the author herself, Emma Deangela thank you for all your hard work and research for these great articles you are making a difference I’m sure of it!
    You are that educator that we all need in our lives on a daily basis for our own well-being!
    So, thank you, I love all your great research, and am grateful… I somehow ran across something I read long ago by you and had a fortunate accident, and added you to my daily emails reads that I actually look forward to!!
    Best thing I did for my health and keep the old neurotransmitters sparking! 🙂

    Best regards & Good health,
    Vivian B.

    P.s. Does anyone have any resources on the second-hand harmful dangers in those fairly new vapor- cigarettes!??
    So many are now using these vapors as a replacement from one addiction to another, and this horrible chemical( hence the Word Chemical!) however, it seems are so much worse then when they smoked or chewed the nicotine gum!
    I’m not a smoker or ever was, also not informed enough about it, but would love to see an article about the harm it is doing to the smoker and the second-hand by-standard, such as myself…
    I been getting very sick around those and many are not agreeing…saying it’s better than a cigarette itself… I have to say, I don’t know if I agree!

    Please help!
    Maybe it will be one of our great next articles or soon 😉 hehe!!

  18. Angie Avatar

    I have had an extreme sensitivity to any sort of spice, salad dressings, etc…with a very sore-burning sensation on my tongue for many months. I have been researching toothpaste ingredients since brushing teeth was very burning and painful. I couldn’t pin point what ingredient, and by the way sensidyne makes no difference. I finally went to the health store and got TOM;s brand natural toothpaste. Yay! I can now brush my teeth without a reaction. Now I’m searching the foods I eat that are killing my mouth to see if I can make a match with the ingredients, chemicals, preservatives, whatever is doing this. I never made the connection until reading this article that my previous Arthritis and new health problems could actually be related! (autoimmune disorder, hypothyroidism..)
    Thanks for your help!

    1. A Williams Avatar
      A Williams

      Angie i also have sensitive teeth and Tom’s has been my favorite toothpaste for many years but I recently discovered that it has sodium lauryl sulfate in it (one of the harmful ingredients that this article lists). I am now considering making my own toothpaste with baking soda or the natural combo one commenter above suggested. Best of luck.

  19. Mona c Badran Avatar
    Mona c Badran

    I was interested with your question about vapor cigarettes as I just recently have seen them advertised and wondered what it was all about. They are usually sold for 199.00 but they were offered for 4.95
    I quit 33 years ago.., If you want advice DON”T ask for advice .. about which is better this or this. Sometimes I wonder if I can or should pick it up again.and everything about it calls for QUIT! and put money towards solving your chemical deficiencies that force you to believe you need to light up….

  20. errinn Avatar

    I’m with you marvin…I keep a jar of baking soda mixed with a little salt, wet my toothbrush and dip it in. It’s the better for you, cheap and easy way to go. Keeping a simple eye is always best

  21. Elsie Avatar

    The dentists make money somehow from damage done by fluoride, and that is why they push it. However, my doctor of dentistry told me, when I told him I use baking soda to clean my teeth, that it cannot be bettered. Such a lovely natural fresh taste in mouth, rather than artificial flavours, made from chemicals

  22. Mary Otten Avatar
    Mary Otten

    Where can green clay be bought?

  23. B Avatar

    What about sorbitol? I think it is bad also. It upsets my stomach. So I really try to not swallow any toothpaste or mouthwash. And I try to rinse my mouth out with water also.

  24. Lorene Haertling Avatar
    Lorene Haertling

    Sunrider International markets a toothpaste called SunSmile that has healing properties that have saved me hundreds of dollars in Dentist Bills for the last 15 years.

  25. H Avatar

    This is so irritating. Not everything in life has to be 100% natural or organic. Yes, I agree that you can’t fill your body with GMOs and dozens upon dozens of chemicals, but unless the chemicals in the toothpaste are causing you to have some weird symptoms (there were a few mentioned here), it really shouldn’t be a huge issue using regular toothpaste. I’m sorry if this offends anyone or makes anyone mad, but I just think that people don’t always need to find an ALL-natural or organic solution to EVERYTHING.

  26. Cecile Avatar

    For people who don’t bother to get the message why there are bad things for us ITs call lazy to change habits
    I am guilty of that I have knowledge of good and bad and I sometimes. Say to,myself oh what the heck one more time
    But then I go back the natural ingredience and it. Does make a difference In shampoos toothpaste and sugar
    Make your own sodas toothpaste and shampoo
    That it that’s all folks

  27. Charlene W. Avatar
    Charlene W.

    Some of the simplest things are not good for you! Toothpaste, who knew?

  28. jim costanzo Avatar
    jim costanzo

    Its easy to make your own toothpaste, this is what you do 8 tsp.baking soda and 8 tsp. extra virgin coconut oil and put a drop of peppermint for taste.

  29. Gloria Avatar

    I love and use Modere toothpaste.

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