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What's in your toothpaste anyway?

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If you've been worried about your triclosan-containing toothpaste – an antibacterial agent that helps prevent gingivitis – the good news is that it is essentially away from the US market, although it is still technically permissible.

Its removal is probably due to widespread circulation of research suggesting that triclosan may interfere with some thyroid hormones and immunity and generally contribute to antibiotic resistance, says Tunde Akinleye, a chemist in the Consumer Reports food safety division. (Triclosan was banned from hand soaps and body washes in 2017.)

Until some months ago, Colgate Total still contained ingredient. But it has now been updated to a triclosan-free formula, renamed Colgate Total SF.

That's good news for consumers, says Akinleye, "because triclosan is not worth the risk." So if you have a tube of the old formula in your bathroom, we suggest throwing it.

Here are a few words worth paying attention to.

ADA Approval Mark: A toothpaste carrying this seal from the American Dental Association must be safe and effective for it regardless of its labeling requirements. It must also contain fluoride, have no ingredients that "cause or contribute to" decay and do not damage the teeth.

Abrasives: Calcium carbonate and modified silica help remove food residues and surfaces.

Baking Dose: Toothpaste with baking powder (sodium bicarbonate) shows some promise to reduce plaque and can slightly reduce gum bleeding compared to toothpaste that does not. Desensitizing agents: Used regularly, ingredients such as sodium citrate, casein phosphopeptide and potassium nitrate can help relieve unpleasant sensitivity. They affect some people and not others, says Richard Niederman, professor at the NYU College of Dentistry.

Fluoride: This active ingredient is available in a variety of forms (including sodium fluoride and dental fluoride) and helps protect the teeth from decay. "Fluoride is effective at reducing cavities by 20 to 30 percent," says Niederman. Stannous fluoride can also help with sensitivity and gum inflammation. You can buy fluorine-free toothpaste, but it may not help reduce cavities.

Sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS): SLS is called a detergent, but it has little cleaning ability. Instead, it creates foam that helps to circulate the toothpaste in hooks and hooks. Some people can get cancerous years or experience peeling of the mouth tissue in as little as one use. If you are among them, look for SLS-free or "nonfoaming" toothpaste.

Whiteners: Basic whiteners include hydrogen peroxide, which chemically ignites teeth and polyphosphates, such as sodium hexametaphosphate, are said to aid in enamel staining.

But some experts say that these are not concentrated enough or in contact with tooth surfaces that are long enough to make a noticeable difference. And polyphosphates can cause mouth irritation. Xylitol: Some small studies suggest that both fluorine and xylitol toothpaste may be better in cavity prevention than a fluoride-only product. But experts say that even brushes several times a day, they are unlikely to provide enough xylitol to give an advantage.

Copyright 2019, Consumer Reports Inc.

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