18 Oct 2011

Toothpaste Ingredients Reality

This is the long awaited article in order to understand our daily toothpaste ingredients. I could write only on the famous international and Indian brands like Pepsodent, Colgate, CloseUp, Babool, Meswak, Neem, Sensodyne and Signal (click to see photo). They should cover majority of the global toothpaste market. If your toothpaste is not one of these, simply check ingredients on the tube and know the possible hazards.

Surprisingly, the brand names like Babool, Neem, Meswak also have lots of chemicals. Only thing is they additionally got extract of some herbs which is not going to reduce the harms from other added chemicals. Some toothpaste only describe the herbal content but not the other chemicals used in the paste.

My aim is not to de-motivate oral hygiene. Neither am I trying to promote/demote any particular brand nor am I claiming that the used chemicals are not beneficial at all. I’m attempting to bring forward the possible risks hidden behind the strong marketing campaigns of modern toothpastes. The list below is not all inclusive and for indication purpose only. The RISKS mentioned vary between persons, doses, method of injection, concentration and various other factors.

Why should dentifrice have harmful chemicals obtained from poor animals? Companies would never declare the unhuman source of the ingredients. Therefore, tooth powder with natural constituents is always better and healthier alternative because use of finger additionally offers massage to the gums which can never be achieved by toothbrush.


Claimed Purpose

Toothpaste Brands

Possible Health Hazards

Also used in/as

Usually obtained from/by

Benzyl Alcohol



Irritating to the upper respiratory tract, Headache, Nausea,
Vomiting, Dizziness, Drop in blood pressure, CNS depression, and death in
severe cases due to respiratory failure

Inks, Paints, Lacquers,
Perfume, Cologne, Soap, Shampoo, Nail enamel remover, Air freshener,
Laundry bleach, Detergent, Vaseline lotion, Deodorants, Fabric softener

Fruits, Teas, Oils, Hydrolysis of benzyl chloride using sodium

Calcium Carbonate


Pepsodent, Signal, Babool, Meswak, Neem

Kidney stones, Stomach or bone pain, Constipation, Headaches,
Nausea or Comas

Cement, Chalk, Emulsion paints, Adhesives, Sealants, Decorating
fillers, Ceramics

Chalk, Mining or quarrying

Calcium Gluconate

Anti Poisonous


Nausea, Constipation, Stomach upset, Renal plasma flow, Diuresis, Natriuresis, Vasodilation, Cardiac arrhythmias, Decreased blood
Pressure, Bradycardia

Mineral supplement, Hypocalcemia,
Treatment of HF burns, Hyperkalemia

Calcium salt of gluconic acid



Colgate, Babool, Meswak,

Suppressing immune function, Probable Carcinogen

Shoe Polish, Beer, Processed meat, Shampoo


Cellulose Gum


Pepsodent, Signal, Babool, CloseUp, Meswak


Paints, Detergents, Textile sizing

Cellulose and chloroacetic acid

Cocamidopropyl Betaine


Colgate, Sensodyne

Allergic reactions

Shampoos, Hair conditioners, Hand soap, Bubble bath, Shower
gels, Industrial cleaning Formulations

Coconut oil and dimethylaminopropylamine



Signal, Babool, Meswak

Carcinogen, Highly toxic to humans, Ingestion of as little as 30 mL of a solution containing 37% formaldehyde has been
reported to cause death

Resins, Disinfectant and biocide, Tissue fixative and embalming
agent, Photography

Catalytic oxidation of methanol



Colgate, Sensodyne, Neem

Low toxic, Anal irritation, Burning sensation, Diarrhea, Gas,
Nausea,  Stomach cramps

Liqueurs, Snus, Pharma,
Soaps, Shaving cream

Byproduct of soap-making

Hydrated Silica

Abrasive, Thickener

Pepsodent, Colgate, Signal, Sensodyne, Babool, CloseUp, Meswak, Neem

Persistent, Bioaccumulative in
wildlife and humans, Can damage tooth enamel

Paints, Varnish, Beer

Natural ore

Limonene (Orange Flavor)



Skin and respiratory irritant, treated as hazardous waste for

Cosmetics, BioFuel




Signal, Neem

When applied on the skin may react with UVB leading to increased
skin aging and DNA damage

Cosmetics, Personal care products, Food preservative (E218),



Binder, Humectant

Pepsodent, Signal, CloseUp

Contains toxins that affect reproduction, Probable Carcinogen






Carcinogen and contains toxins that affect reproduction. Slightly
hazardous in case of skin contact (irritant, permeator),
of eye contact (irritant), of ingestion, of inhalation.

Lubricant in tyre manufacturing, Plasticiser for sponges and synthetic leather, Paper softner,  Anti curl
agent, Flux for soldering, Intermediate in resin manufacturing


Potassium Nitrate

Dentine hypersensitivit


Coughing and shortness of breath, Skin or eye contact may result
in irritation such as redness, itching and pain. If ingested, can cause Blue
lips and Fingernails, Abdominal pain, Dizziness, Nausea, Vomiting and

Fertilizers, Rocket propellants, Fireworks, Gunpowder, Fire

Combination of ammonium nitrate and potassium hydroxide

Propylene Glycol

Absorbant, Stabilizer


Low chronic oral toxicity, Can produce slight transient
conjunctivitis, Exposure to mists may cause eye irritation, as well as upper
respiratory tract irritation

Toiletries, Pharmaceuticals, polyester compounds, Deicing
solution, Artificial smoke, Paintballs, Coolant, Solvent

Propylene oxide



Signal, Neem

Hormone mimicking properties, Carcinogen (may cause
breast cancer), Itching, Burning, Scaling, Hives and Blistering of skin in
sensitive individuals

Cosmetics, Personal care products, Food preservative (E216),

Plants, Insects

Sodium Carboxymethyl Cellulose


Colgate, Neem


Ice cream, Explosives, Paints, Plywood, K-Y Jelly, Laxatives,
Detergents, Textile sizing, Welding electrodes

Alkali-catalyzed reaction of cellulose with chloroacetic

Sodium Fluoride

Anticaries agent

Pepsodent, Colgate, Signal, Sensodyne, CloseUp

Carcinogen, Developmental/reproductive toxicity, Endocrine
disruption, Thyroid disease, Fluoride is more toxic than lead (5-10 gm dose
for a 70 Kg person is lethal)

Pesticides, including fungicides and insecticides, Laundry
scour, Desilylation, Glass frosting, Stainless
steel pickling

Neutralizing the byproduct of superphosphate fertilizer

Sodium Hydroxide (Caustic Soda)

pH Regulator

Colgate, Sensodyne

Neurotoxicity, Organ system toxicity (non-reproductive),
Irritation of the respiratory tract, Pulmonary edema, Severe skin burns with
deep ulceration and permanent scarring

Detergents, Drain cleaning, Aluminium
production, Caustic washing of crude oil, Paper making

Electrolytic chloralkali process

Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SDS, NaDS)

Detergent, Surfactant

Pepsodent, Colgate, Signal, Sensodyne, Babool, CloseUp, Meswak, Neem

Eczema, Organ system toxicity (non-reproductive)

Garages as engine degreaser and to mop the oil strained floors,
Shampoo, Shaving foams

Lauryl alcohol with sulfur trioxide gas and then neutralized
through sodium hydroxide or sodium carbonate

Sodium Monofluorophosphate

Anticaries agent

Pepsodent, Signal, Neem

Developmental/reproductive toxicity

Osteoporosis, Fluorination for drinking water, Bactericide
medicine and Flushing agent for metal surface

Hydrolysis of difluorophosphate ions
with dilute sodium hydroxide

Sodium Saccharine


Pepsodent, Colgate, Signal, Sensodyne, Babool, CloseUp, Meswak, Neem

No food energy, leads to an increase in cell proliferation of
the urothelium. Studies in laboratory rats during
the early 1970s linked saccharin with the development of bladder cancer.
Later studies could not find such evidence with humans. Who knows what comes

Canned fruit, Flavored gelatin, Dessert toppings, Diet sodas,
Baked goods, Jams, Chewing gum, Candies

Anthranilic acid reacting with nitrous acid,
sulfur dioxide, chlorine, and then ammonia

Sodium Silicate


Babool, Meswak, Neem

Irritation of mucous membranes, Burning sensation, Coughing or
shortness of breath, Nausea, Vomiting, Can cause severe gastrointestinal
irritation that presents with nausea, vomiting and diarrhea

Adhesive, Cements, Passive fire protection, Refractories,
Textile and lumber processing, Automobiles, Drilling fluids, Detergent

Sodium carbonate and silicon dioxide react



Pepsodent, Colgate, Signal, Sensodyne, Babool, CloseUp, Meswak, Neem

Irritable bowel syndrome, Severe abdominal pain, Gas, Severe

Sugar substitue, Laxative, Cosmetics,
Chewing gums

sorbitol-6-phosphate dehydrogenase, succinate dehydrogenase, sorbitol dehydrogenase

Specially Denatured Alcohol 38 B

Solvent, Thinner


Unpalatable but otherwise seems to be non-poisonous

Cosmetic Astringent, Solvent, Viscosity Decreasing Agent

Mixing ethanol with a denaturing agent

Tetrasodium Pyrophosphate

Tartar controlling agent


Toxicity is approximately twice that of table salt when ingested

Food additive as palatability enhancer, Detergents, Instant

Sodium tripolyphosphate and a sodium

Titanium Dioxide

Dye, Opaque

Pepsodent, Sensodyne

IARC has determined that titanium dioxide is possibly carcinogenic to humans based
on inadequate evidence in humans and sufficient evidence in experimental

Sunscreen and UV absorber, Photocatalyst,
Electronic data storage medium

Naturally occurring oxide of titanium




Endocrine disruption, Allergic, Reacts with the chlorine in the
tab water to form chloroform gas and chlorinated dioxins, both known

Pesticide, Deodorants, Shower gels

2,4,4'-trichloro-2'-methoxydiphenyl ether with aluminium chloride in benzene under reflux

Trisodium Phosphate



Chronic Toxicity is known but is not believed to be significant
for low concentration

Automatic dishwashing soaps, Toilet bowl cleaners, Stain remover
and degreaser, Flux for hard soldering

Sodium hydroxide with the filtrate of phosphoric acid and soda




30 ml of oil of wintergreen is equivalent to 55.7 g of aspirin,
or about 171 adult aspirin tablets. This illustrates the potency and
potential toxicity of oil of wintergreen even in small quantities. 7.07 gm
can be a lethal dose for a 70-kg adult.

Rubefacient, Chewing Gum, Candies, Root beer,
Glacial acetic acid, Antiseptic


Xanthan Gum



Respiratory symptoms, Necrotizing enterocolitis,

Cosmetics, Drilling operation, Salat
dressing, Suace, Frozen food, Ice creams

Corn, Wheat, Dairy, Soya

Zinc citrate trihydrate



Side effects include nausea, vomiting and upset stomach. Taking
high doses may result in headaches, drowsiness, dizziness, hallucinations,
sweating, lack of coordination, anemia, intolerance to alcohol, weakened
immune system functioning and increased cholesterol

Dietary supplement, Oral care products

Zinc compounds


  1. Great Reasearch and Great information. I am the one in the gang who has left tooth paste. I am using neem datun and tooth powder now for almost 1 year.
    The people whi who says that they don't feel fresh if they don't do brush then start using neem datun. One small datun would last for week.

  2. Hk..pamho...what toothpaste should i give to my 2yr old daugher who has still not learnt to gargle.???

  3. Hk..pamho...what toothpaste should i give to my 2yr old daugher who has still not learnt to gargle.???

  4. Thought the tooth powder available at http://vediccowproducts.com/19-vegetarian-tooth-powder.html doesn't contain chemicals, and may not cause any harm, if inhaled; still I recommend to use baby tooth paste for kids who haven't learnt to gargle. The reason being we need to first provide an attitude for hygiene. E.g. NEEM datun is not harmful, but if given to kids, they may be averse to cleaning teeth owing to the lack of external pleasure in using NEEM. Once they are little grown and are convinced with the benefits, we can offer them better options which may lack convenience but are good for them. Hope its clear.

  5. A healthy mouth is the first line of defense for a healthy body. Dental infections produce a lot of bad bacteria that can lead to inflammation and infection. If left unchecked, the problems in your mouth can cause serious issues in the rest of your body and can often be a warning sign of negative things to come. When bacteria enter the bloodstream, it can cause a great deal of harm and lead to diseases. www.goodsamdental.org

  6. Awesome article, I am a big fan of this website, keep on posting that great content, and I'll be a regular visitor for a long time...looking for the next one....keep it up! dutch orange mix