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Toxic Toothpaste for Children

by Tiffany in Children, Health & Healing

child brushing teethNo I am not talking about tainted toothpaste from China. I am talking about pretty much all children’s toothpaste you find at conventional grocery stores.

I forgot to buy kids toothpaste and I go through the stuff like water with at least 2 kids who like to squirt it on mirrors, toilets, light switches….you name it. This is a problem because they won’t use my neem and licorice root toothpaste…they say it is too hot for them AND they won’t use homemade either. So……when my kids and I were at Kroger I gave in to their request for some of that sugary, rainbow colored toothpaste that is for kids. I had a knot in my stomach but I said yes and when I got home to check the ingredients I could have slapped myself.

The Makings of Toxic Toothpaste: Aquafresh Bubble Mint

D&C red dye #30 and FD&C blue #1 lake – There is nothing like crude oil in your kids toothpaste right? Well these dyes are derived from petroleum or coal tar. Over several decades of use, some of these synthetic dyes have come under greater scientific and government scrutiny due to their carcinogenic and mutagenic activity. Because of this, they are still referred to in the industry as coal tar dyes, according to the FDA. Remember red dye #2 or as it was called before it was banned, the dye of death? I guess red dye #30 is perfectly safe though right? NOT!

Some studies indicate that FD & C Blue Dyes 1 & 2 can trigger a wide number of behavioral, learning, and health problems. FD&C color dyes may also cause potentially severe allergic reactions, asthma attacks, headaches, nausea, lack of concentration, and cancer.

Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) – This is the ingredient that gives toothpaste (and TONS of other personal care products) their foaming ability. This same stuff is widely used to degrease cars too. Even more scary is that when companies have healing cremes or products they need to test on irritated skin, SLS is the irritant they choose to rub on the skin of humans and animals to see if they then “heal” it with their new product.

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.

Flouride – This is not the beneficial additive that it is touted to be. In fact Dr. Mercola has stated that there is enough fluoride in a typical toothpaste tube to kill two small children if they consumed the whole tube at once. Since typical toothpaste for kids tastes like candy this is not hard to see happening either.

Also according to the Fluoride Action Network, no disease has ever been linked to a fluoride deficiency. Humans can have perfectly good teeth without fluoride. See 50 Reasons to Oppose Fluoride.

Now we all tell our kids not to swallow the toothpaste but they contain very small molecules that may penetrate through the mucous membranes in the mouth, enter the blood stream, and build up in the liver, kidneys, heart, lungs, and tissues.

I decided to list some healthier alternatives below. Now these have some flaws too ( I am pretty sure these have SLS) but they are much better than what I mentioned above. ;)

Weleda Toothpaste, Children’s Tooth Gel – Does not contain fluoride, detergents, synthetic fragrances, colors, and preservatives. Ingredients include: glycerin, water, hydrated silica, calendula officinalis flower extract, algin, foeniculum vulgare (fennel) oil, mentha viridis (spearmint) oil, esculin.

Tom’s of Main Silly Strawberry – Uses calcium and silica to gently clean. Does not contain saccharin, artificial sweeteners, preservatives and kids love the taste.

For SLS free you can try:

Enamel Saver it is designed for kids and has no SLS.

Natural dentist kids sparkle berry blast – A great toothpaste.

OR make your own:

Stevia Toothpaste
2 tablespoons baking soda
1/8 teaspoon white stevia powder
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon powder

Blend the ingredients in a small glass jar. Scoop on a dampened toothbrush and brush as usual.

Friday, August 24th, 2007


  • Jai

    Everyday I learn something new from you, Tiffany. Thank you for taking the time to educate us! (namely *me* who is clueless and new to the whole green way of life!)
    And thanks for the suggestions, I will seek out a toddler alternative as well.

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  • Av0gadro

    I just wanted to recommend Squigle as a SLS free alternative. My husband can’t tolerate SLS at all (it gives him canker sores) and we went through about 8 kinds of toothpaste in one year before we settled on Squigle.

  • Carrie

    Thanks for the recipe Tiffany, I’m going to try that. I like Tom’s of Maine for the kids, but I have to be careful with Tom’s because some of their varieties have flouride.

    Actually my favorite natural toothpaste in the world is the one made by Sunrider, the stuff Diana Walker sells. It’s awesome, and my Dad’s dentist told him once when he went for a cleaning: “Whatever you’re doing different, keep doing it!” after he started using it.

    I just always forget to order it!

  • Armand Rousso

    Toxic toothpaste! The title is quite scary but still your idea about alternatives is very interesting.

  • roma sur

    Hi Tiffany,
    thanks for the tips. That’s great research! My kid is 15 months old. What would be your best recommendation for him?

  • Meredith

    Tom’s of Maine is my favorite brand. The only toothpaste I ever used that doesn’t make me gag. According to their website, they are coming out with a new SLS free type. Has anyone else noticed now hard it is to find any health/beauty product without SLS?! It’s in everything. Like HFCS in food. Scary.

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  • Mariana

    A brand you didn’t mention but is also SLS free (and comes in fun flavours like orange) is Thee Green Beaver Company.
    Look these people up! It’s awesome stuff and cheaper than Tom’s too.
    I just switched because I’ve been under a rock and am only now starting to realize that I’m ignorantly giving myself cancer! argh!

  • Gemma

    Recently i bought Sterling silver toothbrush from ToysRUs store at on great discounted prices..

  • toys

    Two things. Firstly, if toothpaste is so easy to make, why all the chemicals etc. in toothpaste? Secondly, can you get Sunrider in South Africa? It sounds pretty good. Thirdly (okay, I said two points, but meant three) they use Flouride to purify water. Now I wonder what all that flouride has done to me over the years. I often wonder if my allergy problems aren’t caused by simple things like the toothpastes I’ve been using (and the waters I’ve been drinking.)
    Oh yes, one more thing. I don’t think they should make wonderful flavors of toothpaste for the kids. When I was growing up, they didn’t. I got over it. And at least I was never tempted to down a whole tube of the stuff!

  • livingoody

    My kids switched to Ultrashine by Neways and love it. No flouride, only safe ingredients.
    Great products for the whole family.

  • Online art paintings

    Fluoride reduces the incidence of dental caries and slows or reverses the progression of existing lesions (i.e., prevents cavities). But when taken excessively it can cause fluorosis – abnormal enamel development. The challenge therefore is to know the optimal dosage of Flouride but there have been no controlled studies to evaluate the optimal dose. Non-flouride toothpaste is also not good. Thus it is not correct to actually use a non-flouride toothpaste because for sure the manufacturers are just using a substititute.

  • Mastic&AloeMan

    Looking for a natural tooth paste with the incredible ingredients of Mastic Oil and Aloe. Here it is:

    I tried this in Dec of 2002 and have been using it ever since. I usually brush recommended 3-4 min with Masticdent and 10-20 sec with my old favorite for mint.

    Not really expensive in comparison to benefits. $7 – $20

    Most people don’t even know this stuff exists, as with most great products.

    Try it and post a comment … you should be very pleased, especially if you’ve been looking for a natural tooth paste like I WAS.

    Take care and take it easy, your health depends on it. Later.


  • Katey

    I feel so stupid to asking you a question. Where can I find stevia powder? I keep looking at grocery store and cant find it .

    thanks :)

    • Pat

      Katey, in Canada we can buy stevia power in most grocery stores in the artificial sweetener section. Try looking in health food stores in your area if you can’t find it where you shop for groceries.

  • Tiffany

    Try Whole Foods or Amazon for Stevia powder.

  • Dentists Denton

    For kids, we really should think of a better alternative to make kids safe on the toothbrush they are using.

  • Dentist Vallejo

    This is a very good post! You provided some great tips and awesome info. Fluoride is an acute toxin. You should monitor your child if he is using a fluoride toothpaste, because, you do not know how much of the toothpaste your child is swallowing. Half a tube of fluoride toothpaste can kill a child.

  • MaryAnn

    There are safer alternatives. Thanks for the post. Educating the public is the first step to help them make their own choices.

  • Kathya

    Very interesting post.

    i have also heard that Glycerin is not a good for your teeth.
    it stays in your teeth as a plastic coat and doesn’t let your teeth go through re-mineralization causing cavities underneath or inside the tooth.we are using our homemade past as well. :D

  • Liz

    I’m still looking for a good kids’ toothpaste.
    -Tom’s of Maine comes in the epoxy lined aluminum tube which I don’t trust, although they claim it’s safe (BTW Tom’s is owned by Colgate)

    -The Natural Dentist kids’ toothpaste was okay, except that it contained mica for the shiny glitter in it to make it fun for kids. But I say we don’t need the shiny mineral in our little ones’ mouths!

    – Kiss My Face kids’ toothpaste almost made it, but it contains zinc citrate and if you study zinc, you know cadmium is involved.

  • Nancy

    Thanks for such great information. I set out to look for an alternative toothpaste and still didn’t recognize most ingredients. I think I’ll try my own and see what happens thanks for the recipe and for pointing me to other other alternatives!

  • Stacey

    FYI,,,both Tom’s fluoride-free and fluoride toothpastes have SLS in them.  Just looked today at Whole Foods.  It’s the last ingredient but there nonetheless. What’s going on?!

    • Tiffany

      Bought out by Crest if I recall…

  • Edgartowny

    I bought the Natural Dentist- only to be shocked that it has higher levels of flouride than normal.  FYI  Toms is owned by Colgate and formula has changed:(
    I’m going to try recipe.  Thank you.



  • Liz

    I use Spry infant tooth gel for my daughter and find it works well.  I buy it at a natural pharmacy.

  • Elta Meinert

    Childlife Toothpaste Tablet Natural Berry
    Ingredients: ExoCyan® CRAN (American cranberry extract), silica, calcium lactate, sodium bicarbonate, carrageenan, xylitol. Other Ingredients: All natural berry flavor, IsoMalt, sodium acylglutamate, magnesium stearate.this is what we use.

  • me

    I’m sorry but stevia and natural don’t belong in the same sentence. When I seek a natural alternative stevia doesn’t fit the mold. Its a contradictory of sorts… I truly want a NATURAL solution. Nonetheless I’m greatful for individuals such as yourself who don’t conform to the “typical” way.