As a consumerist, you trust the manufacturer you buy from to sell you quality products. For this reason, you probably wouldn't ever imagine there could be harmful chemicals in something you are using every day. The unfortunate truth is not many people realize what they are putting in their body. In fact, do you really know what harmful ingredients could be in the toothpaste you are buying?

Aspartame and Saccharin In More Than Just Sweetening Packets

Aspartame is something you have heard of, but might not have realized is in toothpaste. Aspartame was found by accident when a chemist was testing an anti-ulcer drug and started being added to food and beverages in the eighties. The studies that have been done on the side effects of the sweetener have tied it to migraines, problems sleeping, heightened anxiety, depression, and a long list of other health problems stating that it is not good for human consumption.

Saccharin is another sweetener you've probably heard of and it can also be found in your toothpaste. While the National Toxicology Program removed this additive from the list of carcinogens, the Center for the Science of Public Interest disagrees with this decision, stating that there is no reason to remove it as there is evidence it caused cancer in rats.

Polyethylene and Propylene Glycol

Polyethylene is another potentially harmful ingredient that could be in your toothpaste. It's a plastic used in making grocery bags and other products that are not for human consumption. These plastic microbeads in your toothpaste can cause infections by getting trapped underneath your gums. Bacteria trapped there can cause gingivitis and can eventually move into the bone and cause periodontal disease.

Propylene glycol is an ingredient you might find in your toothpaste that can also be found in antifreeze. Contact with this chemical over time can cause liver, kidney, and brain problems. It's a type of mineral oil that can irritate the lungs, eyes, and skin and can cause toxicity in your organs.


Triclosan is in a lot of toothpaste and has an antibacterial agent. It is also categorized as a pesticide and a possible carcinogen. Tests in mice showed it caused a reduction of heart function and they lost their grip strength. This is concerning because if you have heart disease, then you're already operating with a reduced heart function, and this chemical appears to lower it more.

Next time you're brushing your teeth, check out your tube and see what's really in your toothpaste. You might be surprised to find some of these harmful ingredients have been there the whole time. You dentist can recommend a toothpaste that is both effective and safe for your health.