With the growth in popularity of organic, whole foods and the awareness of genetically modified organisms (GMOs), added hormones, and other harmful substances in our food, it’s no secret that the majority of health-conscious people aim to only put the best into their bodies. But there are a few harmful chemicals that are introduced to our bodies multiple times a day through products that are often overlooked in the journey to wellness. If you are using conventional, commercial toothpastes on a daily basis, you could be exposing your body to potentially harmful chemicals like fluoride, triclosan, and Sodium Lauryl Sulfate.
Fluoride is contained in the majority of toothpaste sold in the United States. While the side effects of this exposure is typically mild, those who aim to prevent the introduction of potential toxins to their bodies may want to steer clear of this chemical. While fluoride is generally more of a danger to young children (many child-focused toothpastes and training toothpastes do not contain fluoride), adults have shown side effects of excess consumption of fluoride, such as dental fluorosis (which results in tooth discoloration), acute poisoning (which very rarely can lead to death), skin rashes (such as aggravated perioral dermatitis), and more.
With the concern many have for added hormones in their food and the negative effect it can have on the growing body, it isn’t surprising that another concern with most conventional toothpastes is the use of triclosan. Triclosan has the potential to hinder normal development by interfering with the body’s natural hormones, such as lowering thyroid function and the presence of testosterone. Aside from the harm it can do to the human body, it is also important to consider the environmental impacts. Toothpaste is washed down the drain, which can release these toxins into the waterways and eventually affecting the environment.
Sodium Lauryl Sulfate
Sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS), another common chemical additive in conventional toothpastes, is the “soaping” agent that causes the toothpaste to foam up and dissolve plaque on the tooth. SLS can help to deteriorate the oral mucin layer of the tooth, which can lead to the development of aphthous ulcers. It can also counteract with other, more beneficial agents of the toothpaste.
Desert Essence Toothpaste
Desert Essence boasts that their toothpastes, which are available in a variety of flavors, do not contain these harmful chemicals, among other harsh additives that most other toothpaste brands contain. According to EWG’s Skin Deep Cosmetics Database, Desert Essence toothpaste ranks very low on their risk assessment chart, with virtually no cancer or allergen risks and low levels of potential developmental and reproductive toxicity.
One chemical that Desert Essence does contain that could be argued as potentially harmful is carrageenan, which can cause some stomach discomfort; however, this side effect is really only seen in people who ingest carrageenan in larger amounts, such as consuming food that contain the element. Essentially, carrageenan is often misunderstood and has been the source of some controversy. It is generally harmless when used in toothpastes, unless a large amount is ingested by someone who is predisposed to carrageenan sensitivity.