Trying To Be Greener

Safer eco-living, one day at a time

How Safe Is Your Toothpaste? September 23, 2008

The Environmental Working Group has a website called Skin Deep. This site is an excellent resource for consumers in that it lists thousands of personal care products in an organized way and rates them on how safe their ingredients are.

“Skin Deep pairs ingredients in more than 25,000 products against 50 definitive toxicity and regulatory databases, making it the largest integrated data resource of its kind.Why did a small nonprofit take on such a big project? Because the FDA doesn’t require companies to test their own products for safety.”

At Skin Deep, you can find hundreds of specific items for hair, skin, eyes, nails, baby, oral care, fragrance, and makeup rated from 0-10, zero being the safest. Each item’s score is explained in detail and safer options are given.

In today’s post I’m listing safer toothpaste choices from Skin Deep’s site that can easily be found at your local drugstore. I’ve also listed some common items with higher (not safe) scores as comparisons. It should be noted that although Skin Deep gives products a “low hazard” or “moderate hazard” score, some of them contain the chemicals below with cautions from testing results of these chemicals:

PEG – 12 (Dioxane)- Organ system toxicity (non-reproductive), Contamination concerns
Propylene Glycol – FDA says is safe for general use but can cause cancer and contains toxins that affect reproduction
Proplyparaben, Methylparaben  (parabens) – hormone mimicking properties; may cause breast cancer
PEG/PPG 38/8 Copolymer, PEG/PPG 116/66 Copolymer (Dioxane)- Organ system toxicity
Flavor - Ingredient not fully labeled – identity unknown
Sodium Fluoride - Cancer, Developmental/reproductive toxicity, Endocrine disruption,
Sodium Hydroxide – Neurotoxicity, Organ system toxicity (non-reproductive)
Hydrogen Peroxide – Neurotoxicity, Organ system toxicity (non-reproductive)
Triclosan (Dioxane) – Endocrine disruption
Sodium Lauryl Sulfate - Organ system toxicity (non-reproductive)
Hydrated Silica – Persistent, bioaccumulative in wildlife and humans
Mentha Piperita (Peppermint Oil) - Enhanced skin absorption, Contamination concerns
Polyethyene (Dioxane) – Cancer, Allergies/immunotoxicity, Organ system toxicity (non-reproductive)
Sodium Monofluorophosphate – Developmental/reproductive toxicity

Toothpaste with a score of 1 having a “low hazard”:

Tom’s of Maine Anti-Plaque Plus Whitening Clear Gel Peppermint- Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, Hydrated Silica

Tom’s of Maine Natural Toothpaste with Propolis & Myrrh, Fennel- Sodium Lauryl Sulfate

Tom’s of Maine Natural Liquid Toothpaste for Children, Goofy Grape – Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, Hydrated Silica

Toothpaste with a score of 3 having a “moderate hazard”:

Crest Sensitivity Protection Toothpaste – Sodium Fluoride, Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, Hydrated Silica

Sensodyne Maximum Strength Toothpaste for Sensitive Teeth and Cavity Protection – Propylene Glycol, Sodium Monofluorophosphate, Flavor, Sodium Lauryl Sulfate

Colgate Toothpaste, Regular- Sodium Monofluorophosphate, Flavor, Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, Hydrated Silica

Toothpaste with a score of 4 having a “moderate hazard”:

Crest Tartar Protection Tartar Control Gel Toothpaste- Sodium Fluoride, Flavor, Sodium Lauryl Sulfate

Arm and Hammer Peroxicare Toothpaste Baking Soda and Peroxide Freshmint – Sodium Fluoride, PEG/PPG 38/8 Copolymer, PEG/PPG 116/66 Copolymer (Dioxane), Flavor, Sodium Lauryl Sulfate

Crest Kids Spider-Man Super Action Liquid Gel- Sodium Fluoride, Flavor, Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, Hydrated Silica

Orajel Toddler Training Toothpaste, Fruit Splash – Flavor, Proplyparaben, Methylparaben  (parabens, Propylene Glycol

Toothpaste with a score of 5 having a “moderate hazard”:

Colgate Kids 2 in 1 Toothpaste & Mouthwash Strawberry – Sodium Fluoride, PEG – 12 (Dioxane)

Toothpaste with a score of 6 having a “moderate hazard”:

Colgate Total Plus Whitening Toothpaste – Sodium Fluoride, Triclosan (Dioxane), Propylene Glycol

Mentadent Toothpaste, Advanced Clean – Sodium Fluoride, Sodium Hydroxide, Flavor, Sodium Lauryl Sulfate

Crest Sensitivity Toothpaste Whitening Plus Scope – Polyethyene (Dioxane), Sodium Fluoride, Flavor

Visit Skin Deep and check out how your own toothpaste rates if it’s not listed above. Then decide if you need to make some changes to one with a lower score.

Take a look at earlier posts of mine on how safe is your deodorant, bar soap, baby shampoo and soap, mascara, and shampoo and conditioner.

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10 Responses to “How Safe Is Your Toothpaste?”

  1. We’ve been Tom’s people for years and love it.

    When my girls see their friends using the electric blue conventional gel toothpastes, they’re horrified.

  2. DR Says:

    Thanks for the info…much appreciated

  3. dimplemonkey Says:

    Great website! More people should know about this and be informed to make the correct decisions when it comes to their personal care products.

  4. Well I’ll be damned. Good thing I have sensitive teeth, I guess. :0

  5. shamelshipman Says:

    Jen, does your Tom’s have SLS? I was amazed when every “natural” toothpaste in my so-called “health food store” contained SLS…including Tom’s.

    I finally found–and absolutely love–Thieves toothpaste.

    http://www.secretofthieves.com/thieves-toothpaste.cfm/79544

  6. Shamelshipman: Yes, the Tom’s we use does have SLS. Thanks for the link to your toothpaste; I’m about to go check it out.

  7. Angela Says:

    I was so frustrated when I tried shopping for a decent toothpaste at Whole Foods, almost all of them had SLS or hydrated silica or sodium fluoride. I finally settled on Dessert Essence gel (Cinnamon). I like what I read on the Thieves, a shame it’s not carried in stores.

  8. Sandy Says:

    Safemama.com did a review on a Canadian toothpaste a while back that contains none of the ingredients mentioned above. Here is the link to the safemama.com review. If anyone tries this toothpaste out, please post on how they like it.

    http://safemama.com/2008/09/29/review-the-green-beaver-company-natural-toothpaste/

  9. Errol Larmonie Says:

    Can anyone tell me why in heaven’s name the toothpaste companies persist in bringing toothpaste on the market that has a warning label that tells you to call a Poison Control Center if accidentally swallowed, and some even give the telephone number to dial?
    When I was brushing teeth together with my 9 year old her eyes fell on the warning label and she immediatle spat the foam from her mouth and asked me what is going to happen to her (true story).
    Sure I understand the dangers of toxins like Fluoride, Peroxide, and SLS.
    My point is: why put it in, and recommend me to brush my teeth after every meal if you know your toothpaste is poisonous.
    I am sticking with my products that follow a “Do no Harm” Philosophy: no poisons, toxins, or any harmful chemicals in their stuff. Feel free to contact me for more information.

  10. Michelle Bradford Says:

    I am so excited to have found this site! Thanks so much for compiling so much helpful information! :)


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