Dentists Provide Tips for Parents during Children’s Dental Health Month

Chicago-Nationwide Dentists and national oral health care experts say many ingredients in some commercial toothpastes are of questionable benefit and some are just plain bad for you. February is National Children’s Dental Health Month — a good time for parents, and anyone who uses toothpaste, to take a few minutes to read the label on toothpastes.

Here are some common ingredients to avoid:

FD&C blue dye No. 2: This commonly used toothpaste dye is one of several on the list of additives to avoid, maintained by the Center for Science in the Public Interest. It’s said to be linked to learning, behavioral and health problems, severe allergic reactions, and headaches, among other problems.

Sodium lauryl sulfate: The American College of Toxicology reports this ingredient in cosmetics and industrial cleaning agents can cause skin corrosion and irritation.

Triclosan: An anti-microbial ingredient, the federal Environmental Protection Agency lists triclosan as a pesticide and regulates its use in over-the-counter toothpastes and hand soaps.

Look for natural ingredients, such as aloe vera juice, which cleans and soothes teeth and gums and helps fight cavities and kill disease-causing bacteria in the mouth.

Also, avoid all toothpastes that contain sodium lauryl sulfate, a harsh detergent that has been linked to canker sores. Toothpastes that are free of sulfates include Weleda’s Salt Toothpaste and TheraBreath.