You use it morning and night, maybe even in the afternoon. You’ve probably been using the same brand for years, but do you even know what’s in it? Yep—we’re talking toothpaste. And we’re looking into it because any product you use every day, multiple times a day is worth investigating since your exposure is so high. Here’s how to choose the perfect tube:
- Keep an eye out for triclosan, an antibacterial chemical found in a variety of personal hygiene products. While it’s not often used—and is being phased out of usage all together—it still exists in certain brands. Triclosan is thought to contribute to antibiotic resistance, is a hormone disruptor and could potentially cause an increased cancer risk.
- Besides triclosan, also read your toothpaste label for parabens. In addition, be aware that added flavors can contain undisclosed ingredients. To learn more about the ingredients in your toothpaste, check the Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep Database, which lists the details of more than 350 toothpastes.
- Using a whitening toothpaste? Many are completely safe to use, however some contain a preservative called butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT), which can cause dizziness, headaches and fatigue.
- Interested in a toothpaste alternative? Try baking soda! It’s safe and effective, and studies have confirmed that it helps remove stains and plaque. A warning: It does have a very strong salty taste, which is why many people prefer the minty freshness of traditional toothpaste.