"You will brush your teeth 1,000 times per year or more, and each time you do, you will ingest some toothpaste. If you think that is not a problem, think again," says Dentist and Oral Health Expert Dr. Harold Katz. "Some of the ingredients in many commercial toothpastes are undeniably bad for you."
Here is a short list of the basic harmful ingredients Dr. Katz says consumers should know:
* FD&C blue dye No. 2. This dye is in many toothpastes, but the Center for Science in the Public Interest warns against it as it might be related to learning and behavioral issues, severe allergic reactions and other health problems.
* Sodium lauryl sulfate. The American College of Toxicology says it can cause skin corrosion, irritation and canker sores. In lab rats, the ingredient led to depression, diarrhea and death.
* Triclosan. The anti-microbial ingredient is listed as a pesticide and is used in OTC toothpaste and hand soap. But the Environmental Protection Agency demanded more research be conducted because of triclosan's negative effects on thyroid and estrogen levels.
* Saccharin and aspartame. Both are artificial sweeteners, and both made the Center for Science in the Public Interest's list of additives to avoid.
What toothpastes should you use?
Katz recommends that consumers looking to avoid problem ingredients buy an "ethical" toothpaste brand.