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Oral Health

How toxic are the ingredients in toothpaste?

Aug 11, 2023

The average person uses more than 1kg of toothpaste in a year but how often do we think about the ingredients in the toothpaste we’re happily putting in our mouths? Are they safe, or are they actually toxic?

Recently, I was at the supermarket and picked up a mainstream brand of toothpaste. It was incredibly cheap to buy, but what was the real cost of using it?

Take a look at the ingredients list:


Why are there so many chemicals in toothpastes?

Do you have any idea what most of the active or inactive ingredients are?

Most of us don’t have a clue! Let’s find out:


Sodium monofluorophosphate

Also known as MFP, it’s a colourless, odourless salt used as a source of fluoride to help prevent dental cavities. Created synthetically from phosphate rocks, it can reduce mineral loss in tooth enamel, but also causes skin and gut irritation, insomnia, high blood pressure and type-2 diabetes symptoms. Too much fluoride can also lead to arthritis, bone damage, osteoporosis, muscular damage, fatigue and joint-related problems.

It also takes much less fluoride to negatively affect a child. 80 percent of fluoride poisoning cases were reported in children under age six, and many kids love to eat toothpaste!


Dicalcium phosphate dihydrate

An inorganic salt and an abrasive used to clean the teeth. Can make your teeth sensitive by weakening the enamel.



Most toothpastes contain between 20–42 per cent water to stop them from drying out. When your product is almost half water, this explains why toothpaste can be sold at such low prices!



A binding agent and texture enhancer that gives toothpaste its smooth mouthfeel and helps the paste stay moist. Glycerin leaves that slippery, clean feeling on the teeth. The bad news: it also coats the teeth and is a plaque magnet. Glycerin often comes from genetically modified vegetable oils or can be a by-product of soap production.


Sodium lauryl sulphate (SLS)

Used as foaming agent in toothpaste. It is a harsh ingredient and is also used as an insecticide! SLS causes microscopic tears in the mouth, which can eventually lead to ulcers and inflammation. It strips the mouth of its natural lining, making the tissues weak.


Cellulose gum

A common thickening agent, which can come from wood pulp.  A 2021 study found that long-term consumption altered levels of beneficial bacteria and nutrients in the gut and may promote chronic inflammatory conditions, including colitis and colon cancer.


Flavour and Colour

Artificial colouring has been linked to hyperactivity and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in children. Titanium dioxide is an artificial colour often used in toothpaste to enhance the white colour. This compound is only safe when it is not absorbed, but we all swallow tiny amounts of toothpaste. It may be a carcinogen and could have a negative effect on our organs.


Tetrasodium pyrophosphate

Used to remove magnesium and calcium from your saliva to prevent tartar from forming. Can cause side effects such as increased tooth sensitivity, especially if you have receding gums. It can also increase sores on the gums and corners of the lips.


Sodium saccharin

The most common form of sweetener used in toothpaste. It is about 300 times sweeter than sugar but is also known to have carcinogenic properties! It helps to cover up the unpleasant flavours from other synthetic ingredients. Rats and mice were at a greater risk of bladder cancer when given saccharin and it increased their incidence of brain tumours and lymphoma.


brushing teeth with toothpaste

Are the chemicals in toothpaste toxic?

It’s hard to say.  Large companies will swear that their ingredients are rigorously tested and are safe for humans, but what constitutes a “safe amount” is often unclear. Overall, the ingredients in most toothpastes are often quite toxic.

Try eating toothpaste and you’ll soon find out that diarrhoea, nausea, vomiting and other low-grade gastrointestinal symptoms will be your companions.

Also, chemicals once seen as safe for toothpaste are now being ‘outed’ as dangerous. Take aspartame – actually, please don’t take aspartame!


Why you should avoid aspartame in toothpaste

This artificial sweetener, which is in everything from diet soft drinks to toothpaste was just found to potentially cause cancer. Reuters has reported that The World Health Organisation’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) conducted a safety review of aspartame and is preparing to label the sweetener as “possibly carcinogenic to humans”.

In 2022, a French study of more than 100,000 adults suggested those consuming larger amounts of artificial sweeteners, including aspartame, had a slightly higher cancer risk.

Aspartame metabolises quickly and becomes methanol — a poisonous form of alcohol. Our bodies then covert this to formaldehyde, which is very damaging to us. It causes headaches, dizziness, weakness, memory loss and gastro-intestinal issues. It’s best to part ways with aspartame!


Why does toothpaste have so many toxic chemicals in it?

Toothpaste companies will say that using synthetic chemicals guarantees quality control and that it’s easier to standardise amounts and their effects.

Chemicals are used in toothpaste for:

1. Consistency

Toothpaste manufacturers prioritise the effectiveness and consistency of their products by using chemical components to provide reliable outcomes.

2. Taste, texture and good looks

Synthetic ingredients can also be easily engineered for the most appealing taste, texture and aesthetic appeal. However, this doesn’t mean they are safe or effective.

3. Stability and Shelf Life

Toothpaste often sits on shelves for extended periods before being bought. Chemicals allow products to remain stable and last longer.


toxic chemicals in toothpaste

What are the problems with synthetic ingredients?

Most of the synthetic chemicals used in toothpaste are made on a huge scale in factories. They are often based on fossil fuels and are created using energy-intensive processes.

Hazardous waste and toxic emissions are also part of their creation. The chemical industry uses the most energy in the world, pumping out greenhouse gases which fuel the climate crisis.


oral botanica 100% organic ingredients with no toxic chemicals

Are there any 100% natural toothpastes that work?

The good news is that you don’t need to resort to nasty chemicals to look after your teeth.

Oral Botanica is created from six plant based, 100% natural and organic ingredients – proven to safely protect and strengthen your teeth and gums, while efficiently killing bad bacteria. It works jmuch better than major commercial brands and it allso protects the good bacteria in your mouth. Chemical-based toothpastes indiscriminately kill all mouth bacteria.

What’s in Oral Botanica natural liquid toothpaste?

Formulated from six organic botanical oils to dramatically improve your oral health.


almond nuts

Organic Almond Oil

Strong antioxidant. Cleans teeth, removes fresh stains.


peppermint leaves

Organic Peppermint Oil

Antibacterial. Kills unwanted bacteria in the mouth, freshens the breath.


spearmint leaves

Organic Spearmint Oil

Antibacterial. Prevents tooth decay and keeps the mouth healthy.



Organic Myrrh Oil

Anti-inflammatory and antibacterial. Relieves mouth ulcers, gingivitis and bad breath.


clove leaves and flower buds

Organic Clove Oil

Antiseptic. Soothes sensitive teeth and sore throats.


teatree leaves

Organic Tea Tree Oil

Antibacterial and antifungal. Heals bleeding and receding gums.


That’s it!  There is nothing else in it! Just a minty blend of all-organic oils for highly effective, powerful natural healing and restorative dental care.


A word of warning:

Not all “natural” toothpastes are as safe or as natural as Oral Botanica. Be an ingredient detective and make sure you fully understand what each ingredient is before you buy.

Think about it: If you have no idea what an ingredient is, you also have no idea what it’s doing to you!

Once you find a toothpaste that’s free from unnecessary, harsh and toxic chemicals, why not switch to natural? Natural toothpastes are better for our bodies and the planet, and have been proven to work gently and sustainably for thousands of years.

Plus, reading and understanding the ingredient list will be a breeze!

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