Friday, July 20, 2012
Even though toothpaste (in some form or another) has been around as long as the Ancient Greeks have, the formula (as we know it) did not become popular until World War I. As soon as companies began manufacturing toothpaste, people began to purchase the magical concoction – guaranteed to produce glistening teeth! White teeth were all the rage after World War I had ended, and toothpaste quickly became a product that most people simply couldn’t live without.
Toothpaste is one item that nearly everyone uses today, but what makes this concoction so special? Whether you brush your teeth once per day or three times per day, chances are that you’ve never taken the time to read that ingredient list. Some believe that the ingredients contained in a standard package of toothpaste are essential – others believe that water may be just as effective. In the end, there’s a good reason why most toothpaste packages warn: “Do Not Ingest!”
That same ingredient that coroners can’t live without can be found inside of your toothpastse tube. Formaldehyde kills all of those small bacteria that climb onto your teeth after eating or sleeping. If a large amount of formaldehyde is accidentally ingested, the result could be fatal. Severe formaldehyde ingestion results in jaundice, kidney damage, liver damage, and death.
Foam, suds, activation! What would toothpaste be without that satisfying soapy feeling? Manufacturers use regular detergent in order to appease the masses that prefer bubbly toothpaste. While bubbles may be fun, be careful if you accidentally ingest a large amount of this stuff – swallowing detergent can cause digestive tract burning.
Stretchy and slimy, seaweed holds that paste together. Without this green stuff, toothpaste would simply fall apart! The good news is that seaweed isn’t toxic. In fact, seaweed has a number of nutritional benefits, though hitting the sushi bar is a better way of gaining those benefits.
Minty, minty, minty! Fresh breath can only be kept fresh with the help of peppermint oil! While refreshing when brushing your teeth, peppermint oil can cause a slow pulse, heartburn, and muscle tremors if it is consumed.
As slick as the petroleum that it is derived from, paraffin creates a smooth paste that oozes onto your toothbrush. As you might imagine, paraffin wasn’t meant to be eaten. If you happen to swallow this ingredient, you may end up with abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, and severe constipation.
That’s right – chalk. Thanks to the fact that chalk is made from exoskeletons, it’s hard enough to remove all of that caked on gunk from your pearly whites. Chalk dust may cause lung problems if inhaled, and swallowing a bit of chalk could cause bleeding.
This is another common toothpaste ingredient, though it’s usually found in white paint. When added to toothpaste, titanium dioxide has the safe effect on your teeth as it does on walls – it keeps them nice and white (for a few hours, at least!). Ingesting titanium dioxide won’t hurt you, but it isn’t recommended either.
Something has to combat that terrible detergent taste! Saccharin is sweet, but not too sweet – just the way that most people like their toothpaste! Saccharin has been a hot topic of debate every since Theodore Roosevelt was in the White House. The USDA tried to ban the substance in 1972, though it is considered “safe” to ingest today.
One last ingredient to add a minty note to your breath. Without menthol, toothpaste might taste like, well, chalk, glycerin, paraffin, detergent, titanium dioxide, and seaweed! Go ahead and ingest menthol if you like, but sipping some tea containing menthol is a far better idea than chewing on your tube of toothpaste.