Plastic In Toothpaste Alarms Dentists, Crest Agrees To Remove Microbeads

Plastic in toothpaste has alarmed dentists so much that the makers of Crest toothpaste agreed to remove the controversial microbeads.

A number of years ago, the discovery of polyethylene plastic beads in body scrubs and face washes caused an uproar in the community among product and consumer watchdogs. Moreover, plastic additives, thought to be biodegradable, were part of the furor, but at the time, the Food and Drug Administration (or FDA) said there was no public health hazard, according to the Washington Post.

However, a growing number of dentists say plastics added to toothpaste products are not necessarily safe. Practitioners worry that the microbeads in Crest products are not working as designed. In other words, the tiny particles are not uniformly breaking down when a person brushes their teeth. As a consequence, the beads are becoming lodged in tiny gum and tooth pockets.

Dentist Justin Phillip agrees, and is alarmed that users of the OTC products are doing their mouths a disservice.

“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. Periodontal disease is scary.”

Crest released a statement over plastic in its toothpaste. However, the company insists there is no danger to the public.

“While the ingredient in question is completely safe, approved for use in foods by the FDA, and part of an enjoyable brushing experience for millions of consumers with no issues, we understand there is a growing preference for us to remove this ingredient. So we will. We currently have products without microbeads for those who would prefer them. We have begun removing microbeads from the rest of our toothpastes, and the majority of our product volume will be microbead-free within six months.”

The toothpaste company said the plastic in a variety of toothpaste products, such as Crest 3D White and Crest Pro-Health products, are only used as a color-additive.

Earlier this year, another dental hygienist took issue with mixing aesthetics with health benefits. Trish Walraven took to her personal blog and joined the charge in getting the toothpaste giant to change its course on adding plastic microbeads to its products. She claims her own children have experienced the downside of the company’s decision.

“Polyethylene plastic is in your toothpaste for decorative purposes only. This is unacceptable not only to me, but to many, many hygienists nationwide. We are informing our patients.”

At the time of this writing, the American Dental Association maintains its endorsement for Crest, and says there is no clinical evidence to question the safety of its products.

Still, the notion of plastic in toothpaste in unsettling to many.

[Image via: YouTube via Food World News]