5 Tips for Healthier Toothpaste

breastmilk cancer children hormones immunity reproductive health self-care teeth Oct 15, 2018

by Angela Cummings and Sophia Ruan Gushée


If you're looking for another product to detox, and you haven't thought about your toothpaste, then read this article to learn about potential toxic exposures from your toothpaste. You can then re-evaluate yours, and decide what's best for you after considering additional information you may not know.

And parents should read on since children often accidentally swallow—and sometimes intentionally eat—toothpaste. 

We’ll review toxic chemicals found in toothpaste, potential health effects, and how to find healthier options.


What are the toxic chemicals in conventional toothpaste?

Conventional toothpaste contains groups of chemicals such as:

  • Pesticides. The ingredient “Triclosan” is used in popular toothpaste products. Used as an antibacterial, Triclosan is also registered with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency as a pesticide. Below are potential health effects towards which Triclosan may contribute:
    • Disruption of thyroid and reproductive hormones.
    • Damage to the liver, immune system, and other vital organs.
    • Resistance to bacteria, which may cause a larger health challenge.
    • Antibacterial chemicals have been detected in breast milk. The potential health effects are not fully understood.
  • Sodium Benzoate. Preservatives, such as sodium benzoate, are common in conventional toothpaste. Preservatives extend the shelf life of products. Sodium benzoate may contribute to hyperactivity in children.
  • Synthetic Colors and Artificial Flavors. Made of a variety of man-made chemicals, synthetic colors and flavors (like mint, orange, strawberry and other flavors) are common in toothpaste. Children’s toothpaste surely come in a variety of colors and flavors to make brushing teeth more fun. Many adult toothpastes are colored and flavored as well.

Artificial flavors and colors are developed in a laboratory using man-made chemicals. They may contribute to symptoms ranging from irritation to cancer. Each color and flavor are made of different chemicals, and each color and flavor result from various chemical formulas. So potential health effects vary by chemical formulas, individual exposures, and unique vulnerabilities. 


What are the harmful effects of these chemicals on our health?

As mentioned above, the chemicals above may contribute to a variety of health effects in children and adults. In summary, they include :

  • Hyperactivity
  • Cancer
  • Thyroid function, reproductive hormones
  • Immune system and organ toxicity
  • Resistance to bacteria


5 tips for healthier toothpaste

The good news is: there is nontoxic (and less toxic) toothpaste for children and adults. Here are a few things to look for when choosing nontoxic toothpaste.

  1. Free of Artificial Colors. Look for toothpaste that is free of artificial coloring. You can achieve this by reading labels to avoid dyes (e.g. FD&C Blue 1, F&C Green 3, etc).
  2. Avoid Artificial Flavors. Avoid toothpaste labeled with “artificial flavors.” It’s a general term meaning flavors made of chemicals are in that product.
  3. Avoid Natural Flavors. Manufacturers are allowed to label products “natural” even when artificial dyes and flavors are used. This can happen if the U.S. Food and Drug Administration considers these additives as GRAS which stands for “generally recognized as safe.”
  4. No Artificial Sugar. Sugars are often added to toothpaste. When artificial, the sweetening agent is made of chemicals that could be harmful to health.
  5. EWG Skin Deep guide. The guide ranks toothpastes (and other personal care items) according to the healthiness of the product.



Toothpaste is a product that could be detoxed. Be aware of the toxic exposures from yours and your family to mindfully decide which toothpaste you prefer. Choosing a nontoxic toothpaste can reduce toxic chemicals they are accidentally swallowed when we brush—and sometimes intentionally eaten by children.


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About Ruan Living

Ruan Living simplifies a nontoxic lifestyle through its Practical Nontoxic Living podcast, free detox workshops, online D-Tox Academy, and transformative 40-Day Home Detox. It aims to help you avoid toxic chemicals, heavy metals, and electromagnetic fields (EMFs) from what you buy, own, and do— without compromising your joy and convenience. Ruan was founded by Sophia Ruan Gushée, author of the bestselling critically acclaimed book A to Z of D-Toxing: The Ultimate Guide to Reducing Your Toxic Exposures and several detox workbooks. A graduate of Brown University and Columbia Business School, Sophia has served on the Brown University School of Public Health Advisory Council and Well+Good Council. A popular nontoxic living speaker, consultant, and teacher, Sophia lives in New York City with her husband and three daughters. Her passion for empowering others to enjoy nontoxic living began with the birth of her first daughter in 2007. Everything she creates is a love letter to her children and for the healthiest, brightest future possible. You can learn more here: Sophia’s Impact.


This article is for informational purposes only. This information is provided “as is” without warranty.

It is not, nor is it intended to be, a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment and should never be relied upon for specific medical advice. We do not offer medical advice, course of treatment, diagnosis, or any other opinion on your conditions or treatment options. To the extent that this article features the advice of physicians or medical practitioners, the views expressed are the views of the cited expert and do not necessarily represent the views of Ruan Living.

In no event will Sophia Ruan Gushee or Ruan Living be liable for any damages or loss of any kind resulting from the use of this website. Anyone relying upon or making use of the information on this website does so at his or her own risk.

Some of the services and products recommended on this website provide compensation to Sophia Ruan Gushee or Ruan Living. All recommendations are based foremost upon an honest belief that the product, service, or site will benefit our site visitors in some way.  

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