If you think antibacterial products are good for your health, think again.
One of the main antibacterial products in toothpaste, triclosan, certainly isn’t.
It’s actually a common ingredient in cosmetics, deodorant, detergent, soaps, children’s toys and garbage bags.
That’s probably the first indication that it doesn’t really belong in your toothpaste.
What Is Triclosan?
Triclosan is a preservative used to prevent or slow down microbial growth and protect products from spoilage (1).
In toothpaste, it’s also used to prevent bacterial overgrowth and gingivitis (2). Coconut oil offers the same benefits but without the side effects.
The chemical has been under scrutiny because the FDA does not have evidence that triclosan added to personal products provide any extra health benefits.
The European Union currently classifies triclosan as a skin and eye irritant. It’s also nearly impossible to filter out of waste water and is very toxic to aquatic organisms, resulting in devastating long-term effects on the environment (3).
The Canadian Medical Association has called for a ban on antibacterial consumer products, such as those containing triclosan for fear of contributing to antibiotic resistance.
It’s also known to cause massive environmental damage, so the country is slowing fazing it out through its Chemical Management Plan.
Although the FDA doesn’t classify Triclosan as a dangerous substance, there is ample evidence that it can cause a multitude of health problems.
Science Daily reports that prolonged exposure to triclosan can cause chemical-induced liver tumors, liver fibrosis and cancer in mice (4).
Triclosan is a suspected endocrine disruptor, meaning that it interferes with hormone function (5).
Its chemical structure is similar to that of the thyroid hormone (T4) as well as other known endocrine disruptors like including polychlorinated bisphenyls (PCBs), diethylstilbestrol (DES) and bisphenol A (BPA) (6).
The chemical has the ability to display estrogenic and antiestrogenic, as well as androgenic and antiandrogenic effects, which can disrupt normal hormone levels.
Moreover, it has the ability to accumulate in liver and adipose tissue, meaning that it can stay in your body and slowly accumulate over time.
Triclosan is toxic to healthy cells. In cultured human breast cancer cells, the chemical boosts proliferation of cancerous cells, thereby quickening the spread of the disease (7). It also interferes with immune function, making your body more vulnerable to cancer (8).
Ditch Your Toothpaste
Triclosan is absorbed by your body through your skin and mouth. It’s in so many products that nearly everyone is exposed to the chemical everyday. In fact, a 2008 study, found triclosan in the urine of 75% of the children and adults tested. Pregnant women were even more likely to have chemical in their urine.
Triclosan isn’t an essential ingredient in many products, so read the labels on your personal products before purchasing them. Nearly everything you can buy at the pharmacy can be made non-toxic at home.
DIY Whitening Toothpaste
It make look strange, but it’ll keep your smile healthy and bright!
- 4 tablespoons of baking soda
- 2 teaspoons of coconut oil
- 5-10 drops of peppermint or clove oil
- 8 tablespoons of water
- Mix all the ingredients, except the oil of your choice, in a pot at low heat (just enough for the coconut oil to become liquid).
- Stir until it starts forming a consistent paste.
- Turn off the heat and add the peppermint or clove oil and keep stirring for another minute or two.
- Place the paste in a glass jar and let it cool.
- Simply store at room temperature and you should be good to go.