January 1, 2019

Why I Switched Toothpastes and Why You Should Too, Today

I wanted to title this post "How Your Tooth Paste Could be Killing You" but didn't want to sound over-dramatic. But I've got some serious news for you. If you're using Colgate Total, it's not too far from the truth.

Perhaps the subject of tooth-brushing is not quite as romantic as a self-pampering skin care routine or a fun make-up review but I couldn't help sharing about such an neglected yet critical component to our everyday habits for a safe and healthy life.

Assuming that all of us brush our teeth at least once or twice a day, this well ingrained habit could actually be killing us... slowly. And it's all due to our obsession with hygiene and our efforts to obliterate all bacterium from our lives.


You'll find Triclosan in Colgate Total's toothpaste, a common antibacterial compound banned in all other soaps by the FDA since 2016. Triclosan was first introduced to the public in mass amounts when the popularly sought after antibacterial products flooded our market – in the form of body soap, plastic containers, house cleansers, chopping boards, etc.

“Companies will no longer be able to market antibacterial washes with these ingredients because manufacturers did not demonstrate that the ingredients are both safe for long-term daily use and more effective than plain soap and water in preventing illness and the spread of certain infections” 
– Statement by the FDA for NBC news

What's scary about Triclosan is that it doesn’t just wash off – it "permeates our bodies. It can be found in human fat tissue, in the umbilical cord blood of newborn babies, in human breast-milk, and in significant quantities in the urine of 75% of people on any given day." [A. Collen] This chemical messes with our hormones [testosterone and estrogen], pollutes the freshwater ecosystem, disrupts the natural balance of good/bad bacterium living in and on our bodies, and when it comes in contact with chlorinated tap water, it turns into a carcinogen – chloroform – especially during the process of tooth brushing, “chemicals get rapidly absorbed into the bloodstream.” [NYTimes]

Then why is this toxin still in use in our day to day household items, and how is this compound allowed in Colgate Total’s toothpaste?!

I'm just brushing the tip of the iceberg here but I hope this quick look at Triclosan will encourage you to glance at the ingredient lists when purchasing antibacterial products – advertised as “killing 99.9% of all viruses and bacteria” – for your home. So far the FDA has banned 19 chemicals used in antibacterial soaps but “like many chemicals in our everyday lives, the safety of the antibacterical chemicals has never really been scrutinized. Rather than requiring chemicals to be proven safe and effective before they are sold, like pharmaceutical drugs, it's up to the regulatory agencies to prove after they have been unleashed on the public that they are dangerous, in order to get them banned. Of the 50,000 or more chemicals in use in the West, just 300 or so have actually been tested for safety. " [A. Collen]

My hubby and I have switched over to different toothpastes and have replaced all of our tooth brushes as well – as the “ brushes accumulate[s] about seven to 12.5 times the amount of triclosan a person comes in contact with while brushing.” [TIME] And thankfully and finally, I’ll soon be done using my bulk sized purchase of Lysol wipes from Costco and be switching over to a natural option to clean surfaces in the near future.


If you have 5 min, I found that these articles worth taking a quick scroll through – all three are pithy and informative.

Why a Chemical Banned From Soap Is Still in Your Toothpaste – New York Times

Triclosan Is Still Allowed In Toothpaste. Here's What You Should Know – TIME

FDA Orders Antibacterials Removed From Consumer Soaps – NBC

Also, I highly recommend 10% Human by Alanna Collen to... everyone! In this thought provoking book, Ms. Collens communicates, in a way we can all understand, the intriguing and complex matters of microbes and how they are impacting almost every aspect of the human body.

10% Human by Alanna Collen [pg. 168-178]

Photos for this post showcase tree details 
of our recent trip to Sequoia Nation Park, CA!
All images © 2019 Grace Song Photography


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