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Naturally Thinking: The taste of toxic toothpaste

April 14, 2012
By Lauren D. Ragland Special to The Inter-Mountain , The Inter-Mountain

"But I don't want to! It makes me feel sick! Please don't make me!"

I was the little girl pleading not to brush my teeth before going to bed. I always felt like I was going to throw up afterward. I always really tried not to swallow ANY toothpaste, but it did not matter. However cautious I was in brushing my teeth with toothpaste, I always felt like I was going to throw up afterward.

Why is this? I know many of you reading this feel the same. Regular toothpaste still makes me feel sick. I found out why very quickly upon reading the labels on the toothpaste products in my own home.

Article Photos

The Inter-Mountain by Lauren D. Ragland
Both Xyliwhite ($5) made in Bloomington, Ill., and Homeodent ($7) from France, are free of sodium lauryl sulphate, which is a toxic chemical-degreasing product used in most popular toothpastes. These safe, natural products are shown at Good Energy Foods in Elkins.

We are basically rubbing our mouths with rat poison, engine degreaser.

The standard warnings on every label since 1997 is: "Keep out of the reach of children under the age of six. If more than used for brushing is accidentally swallowed, get medical help or contact Poison Control Center right away."

Why is a warning like this a product we put in our mouth every day?

The three most important letters to learn today are SLS, if you have not been enlightened already. Sodium lauryl sulphate is a very nasty, very toxic sudsing chemical-degreasing product used as a thickener and foaming agent. It is also used as a garage floor cleaners and engine degreasers and car wash soap.

For some reason ungraspable by this writer, it is Food and Drug Administration approved it for use in hygiene products including toothpaste, as well as facial soaps, lotions, bubble bath, shampoo and conditioners.

It has been outlawed in Europe for generations.

The American College of Toxicology reports that SLS can cause skin corrosion and irritation. In 25 percent of the animals tested, doses of .8 to 110 grams/kilogram in lab rats caused depression, labored breathing, diarrhea and death. It said, "SLS may stay within the body for up to five days, accumulating in the heart, liver, lungs and brain. When combined with certain other chemicals, sodium laurel sulfate transforms into nitrosamines, a class of powerful carcinogens that cause the body to absorb harmful nitrates. It causes potentially carcinogenic formation of nitrates that react with other product ingredients."

Concerned that too many young children were swallowing toothpaste, the FDA, beginning in April 1997, required the following warning to appear on tubes of fluoridated toothpaste: "Use only a pea-sized amount and supervise child's brushing and rinsing (to minimize swallowing)." Parents also are warned to keep the toothpaste "out of the reach of children under 6," and to "seek professional help or contact a poison center immediately" if more than is used for brushing is accidentally swallowed.

"Would you allow your family to brush their teeth with engine degreaser or rat poison?" asks Scott Baker, a researcher and writer on natural solutions for gum disease, on his website.

He also asks: Did you know that most popular toothpastes contain enough fluoride in 4 ounces to kill a small child within 2 to 4 hours?


He shares that the journal of the American College of Toxicology reports that SLS can penetrate and be retained in the eye, brain, heart, and liver with potentially harmful long-term effects. Also found in most shampoos including "no tears" baby shampoos, SLS can keep children's eyes from developing properly, can cause cataracts in adults, can retard healing, and can impair hair growth.

Baker continues, "in children and youth, minimal ingestion of sodium fluoride causes salivation, nausea, vomiting, epigastric pain, and diarrhea. Large doses of the carcinogen may cause paralysis, muscular weakness and clonic convulsions, followed by respiratory and cardiac failure.

"It's no wonder that fluoride can cause death in humans! In addition to being one of the main ingredients in toothpaste as well as rat and cockroach poisons, sodium fluoride is also a key component in anesthetic, hypnotic and psychiatric drugs and Sarin Nerve Gas!"

SLS is "perhaps the most dangerous ingredient in personal-care products. Because SLS has a foaming property, it is added to toothpastes in order to generate foam and give the impression that the toothpaste is working. However, SLS has been found to be quite corrosive and harmful to skin tissue."

Try and grasp this twisted idea: Sodium lauryl sulphate is used AS a "skin irritant" because it IS a skin irritant. Laboratories use SLS it to irritate skin on test animals and humans so that they may then test healing agents to see how effective they are on the irritated skin. Unbelievable! This same chemical is approved for use in our most personal care products. Are they trying to make us sick, or what?

Are there alternatives to using this poison? Naturally! Personally I make a concoction of a 1/4 cup each of baking soda and coarse sea salt, blended with a slosh of olive oil and a tasty oil such as tangerine or peppermint. Keep in a small jar and stir with your tooth brush before use. Works fabulously!

Toothpaste buyers should look for natural ingredients, such as aloe vera juice, which cleans and soothes teeth and gums and helps fight cavities, according to the May/June 2009 issue of General Dentistry. Aloe vera tooth gel is said to kill disease-causing bacteria in the mouth.

At my local health food store, Good Energy Foods in downtown Elkins, I found multiple natural toothpaste products that do not include SLS as an ingredient. They include Xyliwhite ($5) made in Bloomington, Ill.; Homeodent ($7) from France; and Jason Natural Products ($8) from Culver City, Calif., are also free of SLS.

Tom's of Maine Natural Toothpaste is not so natural after all. Tom's Cavity Protection toothpaste contains the same toxic SLS as the name brand products. Always take the time to read labels!

I have made many new best friends for life after sharing this story of naturally thinking, and you will too. You're welcome!

- Lauren d'Ablemont Ragland is a freelance writer living in the heart of the Monongahela National Forest in Randolph County. This column provides general health and natural healing information and is not specific advice intended for any particular individual(s). Readers can share suggestions by emailing



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