Have you ever noticed that there’s a warning label on toothpaste that tells you to call poison control if ingested in large amounts? It’s mostly due to the litany of harmful ingredients (chemicals) added in the name of “bacteria control”. As it turns out, the bacteria aren’t the only organisms that are affected, we can react poorly to these chemicals, as well.

Colgate toothpaste contains a harmful chemical known as triclosan. Initially used to reduce plaque buildup, gum inflammation, and gum bleeding, this chemical became a staple for Colgate toothpaste. So what’s bad about it? Triclosan causes has been used in body wash and soap up until the end of 2016 when the FDA (Federal Drug Administration) BANNED its use. The consensus behind the ban was that experts warned that it causes birth defects and promotes drug resistant infections. Shouldn’t that mean it should be banned from toothpaste? Absolutely. Unfortunately, Colgate was able to “argue” that the chemicals positive antibacterial effects outweighed the associated risks.

Now before you just go grab any toothpaste not containing triclosan, you should be aware of another common ingredient found in toothpaste, stannous fluoride. Although not necessarily harmful like triclosan, stannous fluoride (Colgate, Crest, etc…) can cause yellow staining on your teeth, so you are essentially giving yourself harder to remove coffee stains. This component was initially used in patients exhibiting high rates of dental decay to prevent cavity formation and it’s the hottest dental hygiene ingredient on the market. Just exercise caution not to use it too frequently to prevent the staining effects. For example, Crest Gum Detoxify gently tiptoes around this phenomenon by calling it “gentle” whitening…with a warning label on the back that stannous flouride causes staining. As a professional or consumer, just be mindful of how things are cleverly worded to (arguably) mislead people on some of the drawbacks of their product.

You can find some better toothpaste alternatives here.