Did you know that polyethylene is the most common plastic in the world? It is used primarily for containers and packaging and has been a major concern for the environment because polyethylene is not biodegradable. But did you also know that polyethylene is being included in your body scrubs and toothpaste?
Manufacturers are including the plastic beads in these product as a cleaning agent. However, some dental professionals are cautioning consumers after they have been finding the polyethylene blue beads stuck under their gums.
That’s what happenend to Emily Lallouz when she went to get a root canal procedure done in the summer of 2015. While she was undergoing the dental procedure, the dentist asked Emily if she used Crest Pro-Health toothpaste. She said ‘yes’ and was told that the blue beads were stuck under her gums. Her Facebook post reads, in part:
“She then did real cleaning and kept blasting out those blue plastic beads from under my gums!!! If you thought they burst or were ‘beads of magical fluoride and whiting fun’ they are NOT!! If you or your kids are using this STOP NOW!”
Cheryle Pestana had a similar incident in 2014 when she went to get her teeth cleaned. The Rhode Island woman claims her dentist found four plastic beads stuck in her gums from Crest 3D Whitening toothpaste.
Dental hygienist Trish Walraven made a video to show how the polyethylene microbeads become embedded after brushing your teeth.
Last year she wrote about her concerns regarding the microbeads on her blog. “I’ve been seeing these blue particles flush out of patients’ gums for several months now,” she writes. “So has the co-hygienist in our office. So have many dental hygienists throughout the United States and Canada who have consulted with each other and realized that we have a major concern on our hands.”
Although Trish is awaiting scientific evidence of whether the polyethylene is causing gum problems, she is concerned enough to advise her patients not to use the products.
“I am not saying that polyethylene is causing gum problems, I’d be jumping too soon to that conclusion without scientific proof,” she writes. “But what I am saying definitively is that plastic is in your toothpaste, and that some of it is left behind even after you’re finished brushing and rinsing with it.”
Some dentists have come out and said that the polyethylene plastic beads could cause dental problems.
“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,” dentist Justin Phillip tells ABC 15 News. “Periodontal disease is scary.”
With the increasing public concern, Proctor & Gamble, the manufacturer of Crest toothpastes, recently announced that they are phasing out the microbeads from their toothpaste and that none of their products will have the beads by March 2016.
If you want to be sure your toothpaste does not have plastic, take a look at the ingredient list and make sure it does not contain polyethylene.
This is good news not only for your health but also for the environment! Increasingly, microscopic balls of hard plastic is been seen as a global threat and major environmental contaminant. As result, lawmakers in the United States and Canada are moving to ban microbeads from products completely. Some states, such as California and New Jersey, have already banned microbeads.