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Plastic Microbeads in Toothpaste- What?!

The company, Proctor & Gamble, will be removing the polyethylene microbeads from its Crest toothpaste line. This comes after a dental hygienist spoke about finding the blue plastic pieces in patient’s gums, which can trap bacteria in the gums and can lead to gingivitis and even periodontitis. Although the ADA suggested that clinical studies show that the microbeads do not pose a health risk, many dentists and hygienists in the United States had noticed these microbeads in people’s gums. That doesn’t sound good now does it?

A statement by the company says, “While the ingredient in question is completely safe…we understand there is a growing preference for us to remove this ingredient. So we will.” Polyethylene is the most common plastic in the world, and is typically used for containers, bottles, and plastic grocery bags, and because it lasts pretty much forever and is not biodegradable, this is a cause for concern when being used in your mouth. As well, these tiny microbeads are small enough to slip through water filtration systems, causing an environmental concern. Two states have even introduced legislation to ban products containing microbeads.

When these microbeads are left in the gums, they can be a cause for irritation. This foreign object then attracts bacteria which usually lead to gingivitis. When gingivitis is left untreated, it then becomes periodontal disease, which can cause other systemic issues in the body as well as tooth loss.

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