Do You Know Nutrition: Be on lookout for potentially toxic ingredients in toothpaste

By Phylis Canion
Sept. 10, 2013 at 4:10 a.m.

Phylis Canion

Phylis Canion

I am mortified. After teaching my 4-year-old to brush her teeth, she asked if she could use my toothpaste. Without a concern, I told her yes. After about a week of her using my toothpaste, I decided to look at the label, and I cannot not believe there is a warning that states "Keep out of reach of children under 6 years of age." I am still in total disbelief. Why is this warning on toothpaste? And how dangerous has this been to my child? This is ridiculous to have a warning on toothpaste. I have purchased a toxic-free toothpaste, and that was a challenge because I even found kids' toothpaste that had a warning listed. I am still shocked.

One of the fastest ways to absorb anything into the body is through the mouth. Examples include drugs like nitroglycerin for heart conditions and some homeopathic remedies that are recommended to be taken under the tongue for fast absorption.

The warning on toothpaste is mandated by the Food and Drug Administration for active ingredients that are drug-based. The most common ones listed are fluoride, antibiotics and other drugs used to prevent cavities, tartar buildup and teeth sensitivity.

Other ingredients to stay away from are saccharin or other artificial sweeteners like sorbitol that may be listed on the label. Triclosan is a common antibiotic used in many varieties of deodorants, shampoos and, unfortunately, toothpastes. Additional toxic ingredients to look for are sodium lauryl sulfate, strontium chloride, fluoride, potassium nitrate and polyvinyl alcohol-methyl acrylate copolymers.

If you suffer from diabetes, acid reflux, cancer, mouth ulcers, oral cancer, discolored teeth and thyroid malfunction, look at your toothpaste label. The once to twice daily use may be aggravating the problem. If your child is suffering from some disorder that cannot be diagnosed, look at the toothpaste label.

Just swallowing a little bit each day can become toxic to a young system with time. One of the best books I have read is on the subject is "What's In This Stuff: The Hidden Toxins in Everyday Products and What You Can Do About Them" by Patricia Thomas.

Thought for the week: Choose to make a difference instead of choosing to be indifferent.

Phylis B. Canion is a doctor of naturopathic medicine and is a certified nutritional consultant. Email her at This column is for nutritional information only and is not intended to treat, diagnose or cure.



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