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Ingredients to watch out for in your toothpaste

ROANOKE, Va. – If you have an older tube of Colgate Total in your bathroom, check the ingredients and if it has triclosan -- Consumer Reports says toss it.

Triclosan is an antibacterial that may help prevent gingivitis, but also may have some side effects including endocrine disruption as well as an impact on immunity, and it may also contribute to antibiotic resistance. 

It was banned from hand soaps and body washes in 2017. It's still technically allowed in toothpaste but is essentially gone from the market.

So, what should be in your toothpaste?

"The first thing people should look for in a toothpaste is fluoride. Fluoride will help decrease tooth decay," said Dr. Michael Schwarz, D.M.D. 

Consumer Reports says other ingredients include baking soda or sodium bicarbonate, which may help reduce plaque, and hydrogen peroxide, which can act as a whitener. Some experts say it's not concentrated enough or on your teeth long enough to make a noticeable difference. 

If your teeth are sensitive to hot and cold, you may use a toothpaste with desensitizers. Used regularly, ingredients such as sodium citrate, casein phosphopeptide, and potassium nitrate may help relieve sensitivity. 

There's also Sodium Lauryl Sulfate or SLS. It creates foam to help circulate the toothpaste into the spaces between teeth. 


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