Is Toothpaste Edible? Toxins, Studies, Alternatives (2020)

Natural Pioneers Is toothpaste edible

Your kids keep eating their strawberry toothpaste? We’ve got you covered. You’ll learn about basic ingredients of popular brands, what is OK & NOT OK to swallow, toxins and safe toothpaste alternatives, even for your little ones.

Toothpaste is not edible. Most popular toothpastes contain chemicals, including fluoride, that can severely harm our health. This also holds true for non-toxic, fluoride-free toothpastes. If your child tends to swallow toothpaste, consider brushing without toothpaste or with unflavored toothpaste.

Let’s start with an ingredient check!

1. What Is In Our Toothpaste?

You spend 24 hours brushing your teeth over the course of a year. That is if you brush your teeth twice daily for about 2 minutes, as recommended. While adults might swallow toothpaste only by accident, with kids it’s a different story. Children end up swallowing more toothpaste than they spit out. And can we really blame them when their toothpaste tastes like strawberry?

We took a popular drugstore toothpaste (Colgate Total Sf Deep Clean) and evaluated its ingredients and toxicity when swallowed. You can find these ingredients in most common drugstore toothpastes, hence they are likely identical with the toothpaste you have in your home.

Ingredients in toothpaste are divided into active and non-active ingredients. Active ingredients, for example, are what help prevent cavities, gingivitis and protect against sensitivity. Inactive ingredients are the non-medicinal components. They are formulated to give toothpaste its taste and texture.

Natural Pioneers Is toothpaste edible ingredients of toothpaste

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Toothpaste Ingredients: [1]

Active Ingredient:

  1. Stannous Fluoride

Inactive Ingredients:

  1. Water
  2. Sorbitol
  3. Hydrated Silica
  4. Glycerin
  5. PEG-12
  6. Tetrasodium Pyrophosphate
  7. Sodium Lauryl Sulfate
  8. Flavor
  9. Microcrystalline Cellulose
  10. Sodium Citrate
  11. Zinc Phosphate
  12. Cellulose Gum
  13. Sodium Saccharin
  14. Cocamidopropyl Betaine
  15. Propylene Glycol
  16. Xanthan Gum
  17. Citric Acid
  18. Sucralose
  19. Titanium Dioxide

Phew, so many ingredients! It’s a long list. Now, let’s take a look at what is OK & NOT OK when swallowed.

2. OK & NOT OK Ingredients To swallow

Let’s begin with ingredients that are OK to swallow. Let’s be clear here. While they are unlikely to do any harm to our health in low doses, they are not healthy or good for you. In larger doses, even some OK ingredients might cause diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, dizziness and more.

OK Ingredients In Toothpaste

Water, Sorbitol, Flavor, Microcrystalline Cellulose, Cellulose Gum, Sodium Saccharin, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Xanthan Gum, Citric Acid, Sucralose, Sodium Citrate, Tetrasodium Pyrophosphate, Hydrated Silica and Glycerin. [2]

These are pretty harmless given the small amount contained in toothpaste. Now, let’s take a look at the NOT OK ingredients. These bad boys are linked to major diseases and I personally don’t want them any close to the lining of my mouth. Hence, I don’t use regular toothpaste for that reason. More on that later. Here’s the 6 bad boys you definitely don’t want to swallow.

Natural Pioneers is toothpaste edible toxins in popular toothpastes and side effects of fluoride

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NOT OK Ingredients

  • Stannous Fluoride

Why you shouldn’t swallow it: Fluoride is a highly controversial topic. And while fluoride is able to substantially reduce the prevalence of cavities, it is also highly toxic to our health. Studies show that fluoride is associated with diseases like arthritis, cancer, kidney disease, thyroid diseases, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and male infertility. Furthermore, it is linked to bone fracture and bone diseases, endocrine disruption, and severe brain damage (7-point lower IQ in children). [3], [4]

  • Zinc Phosphate

Why you shouldn’t swallow it: The Environmental Working Group classifies zinc phosphate as moderately toxic to our organ system. [5]

  • PEG-12

Why you shouldn’t swallow it: This solvent is toxic to our organ system and can be contaminated with 1,4 dioxane, a chemical well known to cause cancer. [6], [7]

  • Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS)

Why you shouldn’t swallow it: SLS is toxic to our organ system and causes irritation to skin, eyes, and lungs. [8]

  • Propylene Glycol

Why you shouldn’t swallow it: Propylene glycol is linked to reproductive damage, extreme skin irritation, and cancer. [9]

  • Titanium Dioxide

Why you shouldn’t swallow it: Titanium dioxide can cause cancer and can be absorbed through the lining of your mouth. [10]

 “All things are poison, and nothing is without poison; the dosage alone makes it so a thing is not a poison.”

Paracelsus

We’re done. We’ve determined the 6 chemicals that can do severe harm to your system when swallowed. If you find yourself worried about your toothpaste, especially if you have kids, breathe!

First of all, make sure eating or swallowing toothpaste won’t happen again. Second, choose a non-toxic toothpaste that won’t do harm to your health. As we’ve learned above, even regular use of toothpaste (without swallowing) will get these toxins in touch with the lining of your mouth where they will be absorbed. Hence, only a non-toxic toothpaste without any nasties can help to keep your teeth happy and shiny, and your health protected.

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3. How To Find Safe Toothpaste

Easier said than done! Toothpaste is one of those products where finding a truly great product takes a lot of time & research. You’re lucky! We’ve done the research for our families and are happy to share it with you. Here’s toothpastes we’ve used in the past and currently use. They are all non-toxic & fluoride-free.

Natural Pioneers Is toothpaste edible recommended safe, non-toxic toothpastes

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Will natural toothpaste still get my teeth clean?

Let’s see what Dr. Okano, DDS, MS, Professor of Dentistry says. [11]

You really do not need toothpaste to remove the dental plaque from your teeth. Purely the mechanical action of the toothbrush bristles and your dental floss disrupts the dental plaque that ultimately leads to tooth decay and gum disease. […] Now, toothpaste does have some benefits. Some will have some whitening agents for those who want whiter teeth with associated concerns, though, with abrasiveness, and sensitivity considerations. You would also have a fresher feeling mouth. But as far as removing the causative factors for tooth decay and gum disease, the toothpaste itself is not as important as purely the mechanical action of your toothbrush and your dental floss.”

DAVID K. OKANO, DDS, MS

We like to use toothpaste for it’s whitening benefits and the fresh feeling it provides. Here’s our favorites. We buy the in bulk, give them to friends, and never run out.

1. Essential Oxygen BR Organic Toothpaste

Why We Love It:

  • Numerous certifications
  • Whitens your teeth with food grade hydrogen peroxide
  • Certified organic

2. David’s Natural Toothpaste

Why We Love It:

  • Stylish products in 4 yummy flavors
  • 98% USA origin ingredients
  • EWG verified

3. Miessence Organic Toothpaste

Why We Love It:

  • Fresh taste of spearmint and peppermint
  • Antiseptic properties: cinnamon leaf oil & clove bud essential oil
  • Certifed organic

4. Earthpaste

Why We Love It:

  • Comes in 8 different flavors, including activated charcoal options for whitening
  • Basic ingredients are simple & natural: Redmond clay, xylitol, essential oils & salt
  • #Mudmouth

4. Conclusion

Ingredients on toothpaste are divided into active and non-active ingredients. Active ingredients, for example, are what help prevent cavities, gingivitis and protect against sensitivity. Inactive ingredients are the non-medicinal components. They are formulated to give toothpaste its taste and texture.

More than half of the ingredients were harmless. However, in larger amounts these harmless ingredients can potentially come with severe side effects. More importantly, we found 6 ingredients that can cause severe harm when swallowed.

Stannous fluoride, zinc phosphate, PEG-12, sodium lauryl sulfate, propylene glycol, and titanium dioxide should not be swallowed. These chemicals are toxic to our organ system, linked to cancer, irritation, and reproductive damage. Specifically the use of fluoride in toothpaste, which may reduce the prevalence of cavities, should be used with caution. It is associated with arthritis, cancer, kidney disease, thyroid diseases, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and male infertility. Furthermore, it is linked to bone fracture and bone diseases, endocrine disruption, and severe brain damage (7-point lower IQ in children).

Toothpaste is not edible. Chemicals in toothpaste can do severe harm to your health.

We at Natural Pioneers recommend non-toxic, fluoride-free toothpaste. Safe products include Essential Oxygen BR Organic Toothpaste, David’s Natural Toothpaste, Miessence Organic Toothpaste, and Earthpaste. But again, even non-toxic, natural toothpaste is not edible and should not be swallowed.