Is Your Toothpaste or Mouthwash Toxic?
“Keep out of reach of children under 6 years of age. If more than used for brushing is accidentally swallowed, get medical help or contact a poison control center right away.”
You’ve held these words in your hand once or twice a day for more than a decade. It’s a required warning that appears on every tube of fluoridated toothpaste manufactured in the United States. The FDA began requiring this warning in the late 90s when it became clear that small children could be seriously injured –or even killed—by fluoride poisoning.
Wait a minute—
Swallowing fluoride toothpaste can be fatal?
It’s true, yet many local governments in the United States have passed legislation requiring the fluoridation of public water supplies. Ironically, ingesting too much fluoride—whether through toothpaste, fluoridated water, or a combination of sources—can actually damage the tooth enamel in young children. The condition, known as enamel fluorisis, can cause a chalky or brown discoloration and pitting of the enamel. The very reason for subjecting ourselves (and our children) to fluoride is ostensibly for the purpose of engendering strong teeth, yet it can have the very opposite effect!
Could we possibly have been lied to? Or should we be more politically correct and say we’re “misinformed”?
Essentially, fluoride is industrial waste that has been remarkably repackaged an effectively marketed over the years for topical products like toothpaste as well as mass treatment of our water supplies.
We can smile easy, though, knowing that we don’t have to choose between brushing with poison and having bright, healthy teeth. First, the physical action of the toothbrush is what really cleans our teeth, not the toothpaste. And there are excellent fluoride-free toothpastes—available in health stores, at larger grocery chains, and onine—that create the minty, foaming sensation we’ve come to expect while brushing.
Twice-daily brushing, tongue-scraping, and flossing, along with regular dental checkups are all we need to maintain a beautiful smile.
Minty Fresh Mouthwash?
Minty, maybe, but clean? Well, most mouthwashes contain ingredients such as formaldehyde, that can be harmful if swallowed.
A little soap may have broken you of your cussing habit back when your mom washed out your mouth, but some of the mouthwashes on the market today might be a good reason to curse up a blue streak.
As with the other products we’re putting on our skin, we cannot assume that dental products are safe just because they’re manufactured for use in our mouths. The same germ killers—phenol, cresol, and ethanol—that are used in bathroom disinfectants are also formulated, though in lower concentrations, in a product designed for use in the mouth. These ingredients could be swallowed and will be absorbed through your mouth’s soft tissue. Other ingredients in mouthwash include formaldehyde and ammonia. Yet this should come as no surprise. Why else would the label warn against swallowing?
Really, how stupid can it get?
We know which foods bring on the bad breath. Garlic and onions, for example, get absorbed in the bloodstream and are exhaled through the lungs, and this process can continue for days after you’ve eaten them. Tobacco use, of course, causes bad breath, but so can dry mouth because saliva helps to clean the mouth. And when bacteria break down food particles in between your teeth, foul-smelling breath can also result.
Daily brushing, flossing, and drinking plenty of pure water should keep gums healthy and prevent bad breath. But if you have lingering halitosis, you may want to try the regular use of a tongue scraper, which can be found on the dental aisle at most drug stores. This simple tool will do far more than a chemical mouthwash to help solve bad breath. Target coupons are always available for dental hygiene.
Simple, DIY solution:
Consider rinsing with water flavored with an extract such as peppermint, anise or cinnamon.