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Toothpaste: A protector of tooth or bringer of harm


The Toothpaste

The development of toothpastes began in China and India during 300-500 BC. Initially, crushed bone, crushed egg and oyster shells were used as abrasives in tooth cleaning. Modern toothpastes were developed in the 1800s. Later, soap and chalk were added to their formulations and after Second World War soap was replaced with various chemical ingredients as abrasives, emulsifying agents, etc. In addition to 20–42% water, toothpastes are derived from a variety of components, including three main ones: abrasives, fluoride, and detergents. When it comes to toothpaste a lot of international as well as national brands compete in the market.

Brands and their ingredients:

Brands like, Dabur, Colgate, Pepsodent, Close-up, Himalaya, Vicco, etc claims that they are unique to their products. Some of these brands claim to be 100% herbal and others promise to give 99.9% germ check. Majority of the market is shared by Colgate, Dabur, Closeup and Pepsodent.

Ingredients:

Starting with Closeup, Pepsodent, Colgate the following are the ingredients claimed at the back of the carton:

Close-up: Sorbital, hydrated silica, water, SLS, PEG-32, cocamidopropylbetain, flavour, cellulose gum, sodium saccharin, sodium fluoride, Sulphate mica, sodium hydroxide, other CI.

Pepsodent: Water sorbitol, calcium carbonate, hydrated silica, SLS, trisodium phosphate, flavour, PEG-32, cellulose gum, sodium saccharin, benzyl alcohol, sodium mono floride, other CI.

Colgate: Silica, glycerine, sorbitol, SLS, triclosan, titanium phosphate, titanium dioxide coated mica, sodium carboxyl methyl cellulose, FD&C Blue, carrageenan gum, propylene glycol, flavour, etc.

Commonly found ingredients in toothpaste can affect badly to our health. Such ingredients are:

  • Sorbitol
  • Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS)
  • Saccharin
  • Floride
  • Other abrasives and excipients

Abrasives:

  • Every tooth paste has Abrasives even in most of the ayurvedic tooth pastes (which are discussed here).
  • The 50% of the toothpaste has the mixture of abrasives. It helps to remove plague and calculus through which cavities are minimized.
  • The following are some of the abrasives: aluminium hydroxide, calcium carbonate, various calcium hydrogen phosphates, various silicas and zeolites, and hydroxyapatite
  • Majority of the toothpastes contain powdered white mica, which acts as a mild abrasive, and also adds a cosmetically pleasing glittery shimmer to the paste.

All these Polishing agents not only remove stains from tooth but also do not improve dental health, also cause enamel erosion.

Triclosan:

  • It was used in primarily as preservatives and pesticides, and was regulated by EPA (Environmental Protection Act).
  • Brushing your teeth and washing your mouth using the products with Triclosan can expose you to the harmful effects of Triclosan that include impaired heart and muscle function and hypothyroidism.

The other dangerous ingredient which is being very much cautious in western countries is Fluoride; since people have started being cautious by being aware of the effects of fluoride even well reputed and largely selling companies had also started manufacturing fluoride free tooth paste. In western Countries therefore they got two kind of toothpaste with and without fluoride.

Fluoride:

Boon:

  • Calcium fluoride is the most-common naturally-occurring form of fluoride, and in small amounts it is not toxic
  • FYI: Males over 18 years: 4.0 mg/day, Females over 14 years: 3.0 mg/day
  • Most of the tooth pastes got 1000 ppm (parts per million) mentioned behind the carton like Pepsodent and Colgate, Himalaya

Bane:

  • It is a by-product of the aluminium manufacturing process
  • Until the dental benefits of fluoride were popularized in the mid-20th century their primary uses were in rat poison and insecticides.
  • It is also dangerous air pollutant as well during its manufacturing process
  • Also effects brain also kidney if consumed in large quantities
  • Pepsodent, Colgate total, close-up and even Himalaya which claims as “helping your gums maintain their natural health” contains fluoride.

Apart from the above chemicals, some of the toothpaste’s companies highlight its natural herbal ingredients with its medicinal values. Herbs such as Bishop’s Weed Neem, Barks of Toothache Tree, Pomegranate, Triphala, False Black Pepper, etc. are used by Himalaya.

Whereas, Dabur RED has got rich natural ingredients like piper nigrum (maricha) pippali, shunti, tejovati, lavang, karpoor, pudina satva, gairic powder to exract menthyi acetate, menthine,  methyl cinnamate, and so on to reduce gingivitis, bad breath and keep the teeth strong.

Vicco uses around 20 herbal extracts. On website it claims that “These herbal extracts are chosen for their beneficial effect on the teeth or the gums. Vicco is made from herbs, barks, roots and flowers, not from artificial chemicals. Vicco Toothpaste includes the famous Ayurvedic herb called Vajradanti, which, when translated, means “diamond teeth.” It contains no artificial ingredients, no harsh abrasives, and no fluoride.

But they also use artificial sweeteners and preservatives like all other toothpastes such as sodium saccharin, methyl paraben, sodium benzoatepropyl paraben and excipients-q.s.

So, it is advised on the basis of information given that whenever you go to select your toothpaste, don’t go on the attractive labels, as the health comes first………..

BE SENSIBLE

SOURCE: Wikipedia, India’s top responsibility brands, and others sites

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