“Do not swallow toothpaste. If swallowed, please contact the Poison Control Center immediately.”
You’ve definitely seen that warning on your toothpaste. But what about “Do Not Absorb?” You don’t see that warning, but it’s worth keeping in mind that regardless of whether you swallow your toothpaste or not, you’re absorbing the formula through your gums. The human mouth contains many tiny blood vessels, which is why supplements are often best ingested under the tongue for rapid delivery throughout the body. The same mechanism is at work—though not to your body’s benefit—with any chemicals you put in your mouth.
We come into contact with more than 500 chemicals and toxic substances every day. In fact, one study found that more than 200 chemicals were present in newborn umbilical cord blood, which means children are exposed to potentially harmful chemicals in utero. This exposure may seem scary, but it does not have to be.
Isn’t everything a chemical? Sure, food and water are made of chemicals. The air you breathe is a chemical. But when toxicologists talk about chemicals, they’re talking about the substances, many of which that we encounter regularly, that can cause significant harm to the body.
How to Lower Exposure
While we can’t get rid of the chemicals found in air pollution, we can lower our exposure to the toxins found right in our homes. Surveys have shown that, on average, women are more exposed than men to various harmful chemicals lurking in cleaning products and personal care products like body washes, makeup, lotions, and perfumes.
Take a look at the ingredients on the tube of your toothpaste. There are many common chemicals in toothpaste that can be harmful. If you see any of these chemicals in your toothpaste, you risk absorption of harmful chemicals every time you brush: Fluoride, Parabens, Triclosan, Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, Sodium Laureth Sulfate, Artificial Colors, and Diethanolamine.
To limit your exposure to everyday harmful chemicals, the first thing that should be swapped out is your household toothpaste and mouthwash. Yes, even though you know better than to swallow your toothpaste, your mouth is still absorbing the chemicals in these products. We brush our teeth at least twice a day, which equates to 730 times per year—aka, 730 opportunities for your body to absorb the ingredients that aren’t meant to be ingested. Switch to clean toothpaste and mouthwash, and you won’t have to worry anymore.
About Natosha Ash
Natosha is a Naturopathic Medical student, pursuing my ND degree, and masters in Genetics and
Genomics with an emphasis on Nutrigenomics/Nutrigenetics. She has a passion for research, and
health and wellness education as well as merging health with law.