Updated: Jan 13, 2020
Can your toothpaste be toxic? And what's the deal with Flouride? Artificial sweeteners?
Fluoride is best known for its ability to help fight against cavities and prevent tooth decay. It is a naturally occurring mineral that has been deemed generally safe for ingestion in small amounts. We ingest it through food, respiration, and products containing this mineral. Fluoride is the 13th most abundant element found in water, soil, rocks, and air.
When ingested, about 90% is absorbed into the Gastrointestinal tract, with the remaining 10% excreted through feces. Once absorbed, it is transported into the bloodstream and excreted through the kidneys into the urine. It can also be transmitted through the plasma in breast milk in very low concentration.
Exposure to Fluoride in children can lead to osteosarcoma, IQ loss, ADHD, among other illnesses. According to CDC data, 41% of teens between the ages of 12-15 exhibit some signs of fluorosis, which is one of the first signs of fluoride toxicity!
Studies show that marketing plays a significant role in promoting toothpaste to children as if it were food, i.e., using candy-like flavors. 26.9% of toothpaste ads reviewed had a full swirl of toothpaste on the brush, which contradicts the recommended pea size amount for children. The American Dental Association does not promote or accept flavoring agents, such as sugar, that can contribute to tooth decay. Children's toothpaste contains sugar for flavoring, again contradicting recommendations!
Acute toxicity (sudden) can occur when a large dose of Fluoride is ingested, which then leads to poisoning. Symptoms include nausea, abdominal pain, vomiting, and diarrhea. These symptoms worsen and progress, and can ultimately lead to death within two to four hours.
Probable toxic dose (PTD) is the minimum dose necessary to trigger serious symptoms and requires immediate help. A 45 lb child would need to consume 75 ml of toothpaste. On average, most toothpaste tubes contain around 100 ml. In theory, a child would need to consume nearly a full tube to experience toxicity. While this is alarming, it is preventable.
Bottom line-- Flouride is controversial, and it is unlikely you will experience toxicity unless you eat toothpaste recreationally. BUT children are at higher risk! The yummy tasting toothpaste makes it way too easy to ingest. We've all tried it, and you know they are kind of delicious!
What is VERY alarming is the use of artificial sweeteners in toothpaste!
So here are my recommendations:
Monitor children when they are brushing their teeth. Opt to stay away from toothpaste marketed as food!! Think about it-- if a toothpaste tastes like strawberries or bubble gum, why wouldn't a child not want to eat it?
STAY AWAY FROM ARTIFICIAL SWEETENERS.
I recently switched over to Hello toothpaste and LOVE IT! Its minty, it whitens.. ahh!! It is also peroxide-free, Dye Free, SLS free, paraben-free, triclosan-free, preservative-free, and gluten-free. NO ARTIFICIAL SWEETENERS OR FLAVORS! And it's easily found! WIN!
Check them out!
Fluoridated Water. 2017. Retrieved from https://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/causes-prevention/risk/myths/fluoridated-water-fact-sheet
Kanduti, D., Sterbenk, P., & Artnik, A. (2016). Fluoride: A Review of Use and Effects on Health. Materia Socio Medica,28(2), 133. doi:10.5455/msm.2016.28.133-137
Peckham, S., & Awofeso, N. (2014). Water Fluoridation: A Critical Review of the Physiological Effects of Ingested Fluoride as a Public Health Intervention. The Scientific World Journal,2014, 1-10. doi:10.1155/2014/293019
Warning: Don't Swallow The Toothpaste...Even Though it Tastes Like Candy • Children's Health Defense. (2019, April 29). Retrieved from https://childrenshealthdefense.org/child-health-topics/warning-dont-swallow-the-toothpaste-even-though-it-tastes-like-candy/
(n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.ada.org/en/member-center/oral-health-topics/toothpastes