You would think that a product that goes into your mouth multiple times per day would be entirely safe and free of questionable ingredients. Unfortunately, after generations of use and the ensuing normalization of artificial ingredients, big brand and commercial toothpastes still contain chemicals of concern.

The good news is you don’t need these synthetic additives to enjoy good oral health.

Never before have consumers had access to so much information about the chemicals and formulations of everyday products. Let’s take a look at the ingredients you will definitely want to avoid putting in your mouth:

Scroll below to the next page to see the list and description.


Triclosan is a chlorinated aromatic compound that helps slow or stop the growth of bacteria, fungi, and mildew. Added to items like clothing, toys, cosmetics, cookware, and furniture, it is absorbed through the skin and mouth in small amounts. Since it is found in an array of consumer products, repeated daily exposures really do add up: a sample study of the U.S. population reported that concentrations of triclosan in urine was detected in nearly 75% of participants.

This is concerning because there is evidence that triclosan disrupts hormones and has a toxic effect on the body by impairing muscle contractions and slowing blood circulation. Its antibacterial properties, over time, can lead to compromised immune system function, as reported by a study that found people who have higher concentrations of it in their bodies were more likely to also suffer from allergies and hay fever. Its widespread use has been associated with the very serious problem of antimicrobial resistance to antibiotics.

Despite the FDA banning triclosan from hand soaps and body washes in September 2016, it is still allowed in toothpaste. Strange as it may seem for an ingredient to be banned from topical products but not oral products, the FDA was convinced that the benefits of triclosan in toothpaste (reducing plaque and gingivitis) outweighed the aforementioned health risks.


A chemically processed soap derived from coconut oil, palm oil, or petroleum, sodium lauryl sulfate is an anionic surfactant found in cleaning products like shampoos, laundry detergents, dish soaps, and toothpaste. Easily recognized by its ability to generate suds, foam, and lather, SLS can irritate the skin when used in high doses.

The SLS content in toothpaste is usually limited to 0.5 to 2%, which can still have an irritating effect on the skin. People who suffer from aphthous stomatitis (canker sores) are well-advised to stay away from toothpastes containing SLS, as this ingredient can inflame the soft tissues in the mouth, causing painful cankers that won’t heal under continued use of SLS-containing toothpaste.

#3 FD&C BLUE 1

Also known as Brilliant Blue FCF, Blue 1 is a synthetic food coloring dye that is added to toothpaste to give it its bright blue stripes. Produced from petroleum, Blue 1 was approved by the FDA for use in foods and drugs in 1969. Since then, very few studies have been performed to evaluate its safety as an ingredient found within everyday products.

Even though Blue 1 is entirely cosmetic and holds no value for oral care, it was found to enter into the bloodstream through mucous membranes. In 2003, the FDA published a public health advisory on reports of toxicity associated with the use of Blue 1. A

Additionally, the Center for Science in the Public Interest evaluated the safety of several food dyes and concluded that there are too many unanswered questions about the possible harms posed by Blue 1, and recommended that further research be conducted before this dye can be considered safe.

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