Dental Discovery May Prompt You to Change Your Toothpaste

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PHOENIX, Arizona — A dental hygienist in Phoenix noticed something strange in the mouths of her patients — and spoke up about it.

Now a toothpaste manufacturer is taking action, according to KNXV.

Trish Walraven has seen lots of things as a dental hygienist, but until a few years ago, she had never seen anything like this.

“We thought it was a cleaning product or something that people were chewing,” Walraven said.

They were little blue dots trapped in the tiny spaces between people’s teeth and gums.

“Some weeks I’ll see five or six patients,” Walraven told KNXV.

Walvaren started asking around and other hygienists were seeing the blue dots, too.

It took awhile, but they finally figured out what it was — polyethylene.

It’s  a plastic used in all kinds of things like garbage containers, grocery bags, bullet proof vests, even knee replacements … and now in toothpaste.

Walvaren said one brand appears to use the plastic microbeads more than others.

“Pretty much everyone was saying that they were using some form of Crest toothpaste,” Walraven said.

Dentist Justin Phillip said the microbeads shouldn’t be anywhere near your mouth.

“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, Phillips said. “Periodontal disease is scary.”

Walvaren wants the beads gone, too.

She wrote a blog that has gotten national attention. It even caught the eye of Proctor & Gamble.

In a statement to ABC 15 the Crest manufacturer said: “While the ingredient in question is completely safe, we understand there is a growing preference for us to remove the ingredient. So we will.”

Crest said the majority of its toothpaste will be microbead-free in six months.

They’ll be completely gone by March of 2016.

If you want to make sure the product you’re using is microbead-free, take a look at the ingredient list and make sure it doesn’t include polyethylene.

15 comments

    • Kyra

      My guess is that they won’t recall it because they are claiming that it’s not unsafe. I don’t necessarily believe that it’s safe, but I don’t know. If it was completely safe, I don’t think they would cave so easily.

    • marcopolish

      They want to sell off their stock, at the amount of stock times the price they sell it they would lose out on a lot of profit. That is the reason. They could manufacture and voluntarily recall at any time and replace inventory at any time, it takes them only minutes to do so, even at great bulk supply. It’s the money, period.

  • Sue

    what is the purpose of it in toothpaste? is it a scrubbing agent?
    I don’t think they have to recall it because it is considered safe.

    • Tracy

      Considered “safe” according to who? The manufacturer? I would trust this statement far before I would trust the money maker’s “safe” claims… ““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, Phillips said. “Periodontal disease is scary.”

  • XINGEN

    THE MICROBEADS SERVE AS A SCRUBBING AAGENT THAT DOEN’T SCRATCH THE ENAMAL.
    GETTING THEM OR ANY FOREIGN SUBSTANCE CAUGHT BETWEEN TEETH OR UNDER THE GUM LINE WOULD LEAD TO PERIDONTAL DISEASE WHICH IN TURN LEADS TO CARDIAC DISEASE.

  • david s. mills

    Great Of P&G to acknowledge the problem — actually a minor miracle. Their speed of product removal is problematic. Maybe we could all keep buying Crest and throwing it away until the improved paste comes on the market. That would please P&G $wise, and we would eventually get the good stuff. Am I joking….or is this a sincere suggestion? I myself don’t know.

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