by Dr. Pooneh Ramezani, DDS
There are no US federal regulations that define or monitor 'natural' claims on product labels. This can make it very difficult for consumers to determine if their everyday personal care items are indeed natural.
One company in particular, Tom's of Maine, has used the word to persuade shoppers that their products are more natural then they actually are. In 2015 a group of health-conscious individuals filed a deceptive marketing class action lawsuit against Colgate-Palmolive Company and its subsidiary Tom’s of Maine, because the Tom’s of Maine toothpaste allegedly includes highly chemically processed ingredients, which are not natural.
Tom’s of Maine Toothpaste Ingredients to Stay Away From:
Sodium Lauryl Sulfate. SLS is a surfactant or foaming agent that's often derived from coconut or palm kernel oil, but it’s contaminated with toxic byproducts during the manufacturing process. It also has a reputation for causing or irritating existing allergies and increasing canker sore outbreaks. Ouch.
**Not all Tom's of Maine toothpastes have SLS, but there are other ingredients in their formulas that have harmful side effects.
Carrageenan. Extracted from red seaweeds, this substance is used for its thickening and stabilizing properties. It has no nutritional value and because it can cause symptoms like digestive troubles and skin rashes (amongst others), it shouldn't be consumed regularly. Even if you don't ingest toothpaste, these toxic ingredients can be absorbed through the soft tissues of the mouth and enter into your bloodstream.
- Titanium Dioxide. This inorganic compound gives toothpaste it’s bright, white color. Titanium dioxide nanoparticles can penetrate into your gums and have toxic effects in your brain and cause nerve damage. It's also possibly carcinogenic to humans, which means it has the potential to cause cancer.
Before you reach for another ‘natural’ toothpaste, make sure to review the ingredient list. You might also want to give Dr. Brite's SLS-free toothpaste and mouthwash with natural & organic ingredients, a try!
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