Dental discovery may prompt you to change your toothpaste

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A dental hygienist in Phoenix noticed something strange in the mouths of her patients — and spoke up about it.

Now a toothpaste manufacturer is taking action, according to KNXV.

Trish Walraven has seen lots of things as a dental hygienist, but until a few years ago, she had never seen anything like this.

“We thought it was a cleaning product or something that people were chewing,” Walraven said.

They were little blue dots trapped in the tiny spaces between people’s teeth and gums.

“Some weeks I’ll see five or six patients,” Walraven told KNXV.

Walvaren started asking around and other hygienists were seeing the blue dots, too.

It took awhile, but they finally figured out what it was — polyethylene.

It’s  a plastic used in all kinds of things like garbage containers, grocery bags, bullet proof vests, even knee replacements … and now in toothpaste.

Walvaren said one brand appears to use the plastic microbeads more than others.

“Pretty much everyone was saying that they were using some form of Crest toothpaste,” Walraven said.

Dentist Justin Phillip said the microbeads shouldn’t be anywhere near your mouth.

“They’ll trap bacteria in the gums which leads to gingivitis, and over time that infection moves from the gum into the bone that holds your teeth, and that becomes periodontal disease, Phillips said. “Periodontal disease is scary.”

Walvaren wants the beads gone, too.

She wrote a blog that has gotten national attention. It even caught the eye of Proctor & Gamble.

In a statement to ABC 15 the Crest manufacturer said: “While the ingredient in question is completely safe, we understand there is a growing preference for us to remove the ingredient. So we will.”

Crest said the majority of its toothpaste will be microbead-free in six months.

They’ll be completely gone by March of 2016.

If you want to make sure the product you’re using is microbead-free, take a look at the ingredient list and make sure it doesn’t include polyethylene.

Source: KNXV/CNN

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10 comments

  • Jack

    Could someone ask Proctor & Gamble exactly why they put it in Crest toothpaste? Was it a means to rid themselves of a byproduct of something else they manufacture?

  • William Hurst

    But does it actually increase periodontal disease or is that just conjecture. Seems that they have studied it and their toothpaste reduces gum disease.

  • DK

    This is why I stopped buying standard commercial toothpaste years ago. If you can’t pronounce half the ingredients, or there are food dyes in something that’s meant to clean yourself, ask yourself if it’s worth putting in your body.

    These beads have been found to cause problems in water supplies, too, as people started using body washes with these plastic beads they started appearing in lakes/rivers/etc., and it’s a proble for fish. Waste-water treatment apparently can’t remove them they are so tiny.

  • Jason

    Make your own toothpaste with coconut oil and baking soda. Add some essential oils if you want it minty. Then you won’t have to worry about things like this.

    If that’s too ambitious, try Ecodent Tooth Powder. Simple ingredients you can recognize.

  • Linda S

    Here’s another toothpaste tidbit. I was usung Crest Pro Health and couldn’t figure out why there was always this white stuff, like chunks of something in my mouth. My hygenist said there was an ingredient in the Pro Health series of toothpastes that was making my gums slough off! Ever hear of that?

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