Plastic in Your Toothpaste? Really?

 

A patient recently arrived to my office with a large red area on her gum tissue. She has been a patient for years and her gums have always been in good shape. The lesion was not in the area of the end of the root which would indicate a root canal, and it wasn’t at the gum line which would indicate a gum infection. I snapped a photo with my I-phone and texted it to my periodontist and asked him what he thought it was.

The next day the periodontist reported that there was a foreign body that had to be removed. He also reported that this may cause recession at some point in her life requiring gum grafting.

I researched more of this online and found an interesting article on how many popular brands of toothpaste have little plastic balls in their composition. Yes, it makes the toothpaste pretty. But do you really want plastic polyethylene travelling through your system? And these are not biodegradable, so there is more plastic entering into the water system. From a dental standpoint, there are reports of the plastic staying embedded in the gums after brushing.

The American Dental Association says that these beads are safe and that there is lack of clinical evidence stating otherwise. However, the plastic balls offer nothing more than a cosmetic improvement for brushing, with several downsides to continuing its use.

 

Hopefully it will be just a matter of time before polyethelene plastic is discontinued from dental products.  In the meanwhile, for several reasons, including dental health, I wouldn’t recommend this pretty toothpaste