Toothpaste is toothpaste, right? Wrong, says our very own Dr. Katz, who recently told several news sources that the stuff you put on your toothbrush may be giving you bad breath rather than getting rid of it!
If you didn't take a gander at the ingredients before, here they are, in no particular order:
- FD&C blue dye No. 2: Sure, it sounds fine, right? After all, we consume food dyes all the time. However, the Center for Science in the Public Interest warns that this coloring agent is associated with a risk of learning disabilities, behavioral problems, headaches, allergic reactions and headaches. If that doesn't make it sound unappetizing, then how about this: FD&C blue dye No. 2 is what's used to stain your jeans blue. Still want to put it on your teeth?
- Sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS): Don't let its name fool you. The L in "SLS" has nothing to do with laurels, the sweet-smelling flowering plants. Instead, this substance is a surfactant and a detergent. It's often included in cheaper toothpastes as a way to make them foam. But do you really want to expose your delicate oral tissues to a detergent? SLS-related irritation can lead to canker sores, dry mouth and halitosis.
- Triclosan: This antimicrobial chemical is also a pesticide. This is the best that the Environmental Protection Agency can say of its safety in toothpaste: "Studies on the thyroid and estrogen effects led EPA to determine that more research on the potential health consequences of endocrine effects of triclosan is warranted." Not very reassuring.
- Aspartame and saccharin: These artificial sweeteners are totally unnecessary, and not found in the ?best toothpaste.
To find the best toothpaste around, look for products that contain all-natural ingredients and that avoid irritants, allergens, detergents, pesticides and clothing dyes.