Are Your Dental-Care Products Safe?

Is the mouthwash that you're using potentially harmful? (iStock photo)

Today, it's not difficult to take care of your teeth and maintain a gorgeous smile. You can find numerous dental-care products on the market that promise to control tartar, kill germs, control the formation of cavities, and promise sparkling white teeth for all.

However, are you aware of the fact that there are a few ingredients included in your teeth whiteners, toothpastes and mouthwash that can be more harmful rather that advantageous to your teeth? With that said, there are some debatable ingredients included in a few of the oral-care products, and we should use them with caution. These are:

Triclosan. It is important to note that the region below the tongue, which is the floor of our mouth, is vascular. It can work as a quick path of absorption to our bloodstream. One of the popular ingredients of toothpaste, Triclosan, promises to work for up to 12 hours in order to prevent the formation of bacterial plaque. However, this ingredient has raised an alarm, since many studies have indicated that it acts as an endocrine disruptor, and in turn, causes hormonal imbalances including thyroid issues and fertility problems. It is also connected to antibiotic resistance.

Recently, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has conveyed apprehensions regarding this ingredient; thus Johnson & Johnson is planning to remove Triclosan from its soap by 2015.

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Alcohol. Alcohol is another risky ingredient, which is found in mouthwash. One of the most popular brands of mouthwash contains 20 percent concentration of alcohol. You may not be aware of it, but alcohol dries your mouth and makes your breath worse. Moreover, it makes your teeth more susceptible to cavities because alcohol reduces the natural protection of saliva. Researchers have also indicated some connection between the overuse of alcohol and mouth cancer.

You can easily find lots of good mouthwash products on the market that are free of alcohol. It is suggested buying those that contain zinc since this mineral works to fight the root cause of bad breath.

Carbamide peroxide. This ingredient is commonly found in gels, rinses and whitening toothpastes. Urea is the byproduct of carbamide peroxide, which later converts to ammonia. One should not confuse this ingredient with hydrogen peroxide, which is considered safe to use when used in moderate amounts. Hydrogen peroxide is a better alternative since it breaks down into water and oxygen and, it works faster.

It is easy to get confused with teeth-whitening products. Some people equate the word "whitening" with "bleaching," and they consider that such whitening dental products will work to remove deep stains residing inside the tooth and bring back their sparkling smile.

However, when you read the label of whitening toothpaste, you will notice that it claims to eradicate only the surface stains. This simply means that this product is only working to remove the top layer of stains on the outer enamel, and it is not effective enough to whiten the inside of the tooth. If you really want to get rid of the stains on the teeth, you will need heavy abrasives to scrape away the stains on the enamel surface.

Here, it is essential to know that enamel does not grow back. Thus, if you are looking for effective whitening toothpaste, you should get a professional strength hydrogen peroxide gel tube. You can add this gel on your regular toothpaste every time you clean your teeth. This treatment will surely whiten your teeth from the inside as well as outside.

Doctors suggest brushing your teeth at least twice a day, along with rinsing and flossing. It is also recommended that you see your dentist twice a year in order to keep your teeth and gums healthy.

Don Colbert, M.D. has been board-certified in family practice for over 25 years and practices anti-aging and integrative medicine. He is a New York Times best-selling author of books such as The Bible Cure Series, What Would Jesus Eat, Deadly Emotions, What You Don't Know May be Killing You, and many more with over 10 million copies sold. He is the medical director of the Divine Health Wellness Center in Orlando, Florida, where he has treated more than 50,000 patients. He also is an internationally known expert and prolific speaker on integrative medicine.

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