As parents, we teach our children the importance of brushing their teeth. Unfortunately, when most kids do brush, they’re using toothpaste made from a slew of dangerous compounds including artificial colorings and flavorings, aspartame, DEA, propylene glycol, saccharin, sodium lauryl sulfate, stannous fluoride and triclosan.
I have always been concerned about the toxic chemicals added to most brands of commercial toothpaste. But this concern was amplified when I became a father, since toxin-filled toothpaste is marketed so heavily to children using bright colors and sweet flavors as gimmicks to make them enjoy brushing more. Sadly, most dentists are oblivious to the long-term health consequences of exposing children to these dangerous chemicals at a young age.
That’s why I decided to investigate the potential health risks linked to the dangerous compounds found in most commercial brands of toothpaste. What I discovered proved to be sobering wake up call that should alarm all parents and health-conscious individuals.
Fluoride? Isn’t that the wonder drug responsible for the “Look Mom, no cavities!” dental report we all want for our kids? It is if you believe the American Dental Association (ADA) and most toothpaste manufacturers…
Should You Trust the ADA?
Beginning in 1945, municipal governments across the U.S. began to fortify their water supplies with a form of fluoride quite different than the form of the compound found in natural lakes, rivers, and aquifers. The fluoride added to our drinking water (hexafluorosilicic acid) is generated as a by-product from the phosphate fertilizer industry. This is a different chemical form than what is added to many toothpaste products (stannous fluoride). In my opinion, both forms pose serious health and cosmetic risks to our children and us.
Today more than ever, America is awash in toxic forms of fluoride added to drinking water, food, toothpaste, mouth rinses and other dental care products. Yet, even as government officials, trusted health organizations and toothpaste manufacturers eagerly promote the universal use of fluoride-laced toothpaste and drinking water for children and adults, not everyone is smiling.
There are valid reasons for skepticism. For example, I discovered that the American Dental Association (ADA) receives large sums of money from the toothpaste industry for endorsing their fluoride-based products. In 1997, the NY Times reported that the ADA had endorsed Crest toothpaste and at least 1,300 other products. In fact, Crest, introduced by Procter & Gamble as America’s first commercial fluoride toothpaste, became the number-one bestselling dentifrice by 1960 only after the ADA did what it had never done before: endorse one specific brand of toothpaste.
If a toothpaste manufacturer is willing to pay the ADA to acquire its coveted “Seal of Acceptance” for their toothpaste, they will probably receive it. The ADA examines each submission to make sure it meets certain criteria, but those criteria, with respect to safety and efficacy, have been called into question by a growing number of research studies. The cozy pay-to-play relationship between the ADA and toothpaste manufacturers hardly inspires confidence in the impartiality of the ADA’s blessing printed on the labels of numerous dental-care products.
Here’s another aspect of the ADA’s ethics I find disturbing: A report revealed that in 1995, the ADA received 15% of its annual income from such trade groups as the Sugar Association, Coca-Cola, and M & M. With one hand, the ADA accepts submission payments from toothpaste manufacturers who are seeking its “Seal of Acceptance” for decay-fighting dental products; with the other hand, the ADA accepts “donations” from the food companies that make products guaranteed to cause tooth decay. As a result of these apparent conflicts of interest, I’m now skeptical of anything the ADA says — or of any product it endorses.
Fluoride: Every Parent’s Nightmare
What I discovered next truly alarmed me: In 1997, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) beefed up the warning printed on every toothpaste tube to read:
WARNING: Keep out of reach of children under 6 years of age. If more than used for brushing is accidentally swallowed, get medical help or contact a poison-control center right away.
Equally as disturbing, I found a number of studies that link fluoride to allergic reactions, cancer, dementia, reduced IQ, dental deformity, and hardening of the arteries. So not only is ingesting even a small amount of fluoride cause for immediate concern, these studies suggest that there are even much greater long-term consequences, since as adults they’ll run the risk of suffering from one or more serious health problems.
Does this sound like something we should be pushing our kids to put in their mouths twice a day?
Most parents might think they could rely on toothpaste companies to make safe and effective products for their kids, and on the FDA to ban harmful products from the marketplace. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Regrettably, the need to seek medical assistance if your kid accidentally swallows more than a pea-sized amount of toothpaste suggests there’s been corruption of morality on the part of both industry and the government.