Alert on Popular Toothpaste

Personal Experience

June 1st, 2010 I had my annual dental checkup and teeth cleaning appointment.  Going to the dentist is NOT my favorite past time.  In fact, I used to see my dentist every 5 years for my check ups,  but for the last 10 years I have changed to bi- yearly checkups.  This is not an example for you to follow, it is an extension of my personal phobia of  dentists after having a very bad childhood experience.  Enough said about that.

I have a fantastic, careful, gentle dentist and a hygienist that is to die for.   Lucky me!!  When I saw my hygienist on June 1st I mentioned BEFORE she began my checkup that I was having a lot of build up between my teeth which is not normal for me. In fact, one or two hours after brushing my teeth the build up was back and I could scrape it away with my finger.  It was very annoying and made my mouth feel grubby.  She immediately asked me if I was using Crest Whitening plus Scope fluoride anti cavity toothpaste?  (not only is she a genius she is a mind reader).  I answered “yes”  I was using that brand with cinnamon flavor–Why?   She then told me that she has had other  patients complaining of the same problem I was having and informed me of the underlying problem.

Danger with this brand for some people

Apparently for some individuals the combination of chemicals in this toothpaste cause an allergic reaction that causes tissue cells in the mouth, cheek, and gum to slough off and die prematurely.   The deposit that I was complaining about was the dead cells being deposited around my teeth.  She took out her dental mirror to show me my back molars.  Around the gum line on the inside of my teeth next to my tongue there was a build up of white deposit around the base of my teeth.  I had not seen this because I am not in the habit of taking a mirror and looking inside of my inner back mouth at the base line.  I usually just look at the front side of my teeth that show when you talk or smile.  To me it looked like someone had poured white cement around my teeth.  I was appalled.  My hygienist proceeded to first polish my teeth hoping that that would remove the debris but it didn’t do it completely.  She had to follow with her scrapper and really dig into the stuff to remove it.  Then she had my dentist check my mouth.  Luckily no cavities.  My dentist did tell me that this situation can lead to problems of not just cavities but to destruction of my teeth, and could even set me up for oral cancer due to the stress of so many cells being killed and sloughed off 24 hours a day.  To be on the safe side, I had a complete xray of my mouth to make certain there were no problems the naked eye couldn’t see in my exam.  I do not get xrays of my mouth each time I visit my dental hygienist but felt an xray was warranted.

Polishing and scraping not enough

After my xray, my hygienist went back through each of my teeth flossing them.   A lot of the debris came out from between my teeth with the flossing.  In fact, she said it was like bubbles.  I was too busy commanding the suction wand keeping all of the junk sucked up trying not to swallow any of the toxic stuff to care about how many bubbles my mouth was releasing.  We got into a pretty good rhythm–floss, scrape, squirt with water, swish, and then suck it all up.  In spite of how careful we were trying to be, I still had to swallow and I know I ingested some of the stuff.  When I went home I took appropriate measures to counteract my experience.  Sometimes it is hard knowing the potential side effects of a chemical allergy and in essence that is what I was a victim of.

I learned a valuable lesson.  I have known about the dangers of fluoride and that a lot of toothpaste has hidden MSG in the formula to enhance the flavor.  In fact I have lectured and advised ADD individuals to avoid the use of fluoride in products, water, and MSG.    Ordinarily I brush my teeth with Baking Soda and a little water to make a paste or sometimes a drop of hydrogen peroxide to the Baking Soda to make the paste.  This has been my toothpaste for years.  However, I got busy and didn’t realize I had run out of Baking Soda when I used the last bit in my current box.  I had a small sample box of this toothpaste  so I used it.  My grocery store was closed for the weekend and I thought I’ll just use a little of this until I get to the store.   Well, my lesson was learned the hard way.  One:  don’t run out of Baking Soda   Two:  don’t do something when you know better   Three: If there is something out of the ordinary don’t wait for a scheduled appointment, get in quick.

I hope my personal experience will cause you to think about choices we make and the convenience behind those choices.    I am a label reader but I rationalized my decision that this once wouldn’t hurt.  I have never gotten into the habit of buying toothpaste, even toothpaste from health food stores but here I was using a popular store brand of toothpaste.

Although this did not happen to me, my hygienist said she was also aware that there are some individuals that develop a rash around their mouth when they use this brand of toothpaste.  Again, if you have anything out of the ordinary occur get to your dentist and don’t delay.

Additional Precaution

Check your toothpaste for the ingredient Triclosan.  It is a pesticide that is put into hand sanitizer products to kill germs and bacteria.  It is now being added to toothpaste as a “12 hour germ-fighting protection”.

Researchers have identified Triclosan in deep tissue within 3 hours of contact.  One it gets  into deep tissues, it disrupts your thyroid gland.  It can also make testosterone levels drop by over 30 percent.  There are also scientific studies that link it to increased cancer risk.  In Europe, Triclosan is banned in food but in the U.S. the FDA is still sitting on the fence regarding the safety of Triclosan.

In hand sanitizer products it has been reported to allow bacteria to grow stronger and more resistant to medication.  This could be dangerous if you get an infection.

If you want to learn more about Triclosan  you can check out the following research articles:

Sandborgh-Englund, G. Adolfsson-Erici, M. et al. “Pharmacokinetics of Troclosan Following Oral Ingestion in Humans,” Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health, Part A. 2006, Dec; 69(20):1861-1873.

Kumar V, Chakraborty A, Kural MJ, Roya P. 2009.  “Alteration of testicular steroidogenesis and histopathology of reproductive system in male rats treated with triclosan.” Reproductive Toxicology 27:177-185.

Gee RH, Charles A, Taylor N, Darbre PD. “Oestrogenic and androgenic activity of troclosan in breast cancer cells.” J Appl Toxicol 2008; 28:78-91.