Editor’s Note: Toxic chemicals are everywhere—it doesn’t take a genius to figure that out. But did you know that some of them could be present in the products that you use to clean your house, slather on your skin or even put in your mouth? To give us clarity on this, we talked to Dr. Brite CEO, Dr. Pooneh Ram. Here she talked about the ingredients in your everyday products—like mouthwash and toothpaste—that could be harmful to your body.
Our bodies are regularly exposed to harmful ingredients in everyday consumer products, like toothpaste and mouthwash. That’s why it’s important to be knowledgeable about these five toxic chemicals so that you can make informed, healthy choices for you and your family when selecting oral care products.
1. Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS)
SLS is a surfactant, or a foaming agent, commonly found in cosmetic and personal care products like toothpaste. Even though it’s derived from coconut or palm kernel oil – SLS is contaminated with a toxic byproduct during the manufacturing process and has a reputation for causing or irritating existing allergies and bad breath.
2. Titanium Dioxide
This inorganic compound gives toothpaste and other similar products, such as sunscreen, it’s bright white color. But it’s simply included just for aesthetics. Titanium dioxide nanoparticles penetrate into the gums and may induce toxic effects in your brain, cause nerve damage and some may also be carcinogenic.
3. Artificial Sweeteners
Aspartame and saccharin sodium among other artificial sweeteners, or sugar substitutes, are often added in toothpaste to improve flavor. The side effects can range from temporary conditions like headaches and fatigue to more serious health concerns like kidney failure and cancer. It’s best to avoid anything artificial at all costs.
4. Polyethylene Glycol (PEG-8 and PEG-12)
PEG is a small organic alcohol that’s often used as a humectant in toothpaste, which works to prevent water loss and acts as a formula stabilizer. It contributes to dangerous levels of dioxin, a cancer-causing agent that also been associated with nervous system disorders.
This is one of the most common antibacterial composites found in personal care items like soap, cleansers and body washes. It’s included in toothpaste to help fight gingivitis but can affect liver inhalation toxicity, and even low levels of triclosan may disrupt thyroid function. It’s also listed as a pesticide by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).