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Parabens in Your Child’s Toothpaste?

Parabens in Your Child’s Toothpaste?

Even children’s toothpastes that proudly say they’re fluoride free and safe if swallowed can contain harmful ingredients like parabens. Here’s how to find safer toothpaste for your baby.

Pediatric dentists recommend that parents start brushing their baby’s teeth as early as six months old, just to get them into the habit. We started brushing my 11-month-old son’s teeth when he was around nine months, and he LOVES it! He opens his mouth as soon as he sees the brush. I think the bristles feel good on his swollen gums, since he’s been working on teeth numbers nine and 10 for a while now.

Related Reading: Kids & Caffeine: Do you need to decaffeinate your child?

At first we just brushed with water, and a few weeks ago I felt like he was ready for a little dab of toothpaste. The toothpaste went over very well with him, which was a relief. In fact, everything was going great until one evening I idly turned over the tube of Baby Orajel Tooth & Gum Cleanser and scanned the ingredients. What did I see? Parabens. And not just one. There were two different sorts of parabens that I’d been putting into my son’s mouth every single evening for weeks: methylparaben and propylparaben.

Related Reading: Top 10 Toxic Beauty Ingredients to Avoid

I was furious at Baby Orajel, but more than that, I was furious at myself. The bottle clearly proclaims “Safe if Swallowed” on the front, but I know better than to trust front-of-package labeling. I should have read the ingredients the day that we bought the toothpaste, but every busy parent lets things slip sometimes, and this just slipped.

What’s so bad about parabens?

You’ll find parabens in an array of beauty and personal care products. They work as preservatives, so companies use them to lengthen the shelf life of their products.

Parabens are possible carcinogens. They’re also endocrine disruptors, meaning that they can monkey with our hormones. That’s even more of a concern when you’re exposing your baby’s developing brain and body to these chemicals.

Chemical companies say that parabens are safe at certain levels, and there are limits on the amounts of parabens allowed in products. The big trouble is that since parabens are in so many products, you’re not just getting exposed once or even once a day. Chances are there are many products in your kitchen and bathroom that contain parabens, and those exposures add up.

Are you feeling a little bit helpless? Don’t worry! There are safer brands of baby toothpaste out there, and you can even make your own baby toothpaste at home.

Are there parabens in your childs toothpaste?

Parabens are just one ingredient to avoid in baby toothpaste.

Paraben-Free Baby Toothpaste

Of course, parabens are just one questionable ingredient that you’ll find in baby toothpaste. That Baby Orajel toothpaste I bought my son also contains saccharin, for example, which I would never knowingly feed to my son. When I’m feeling overwhelmed about sussing out safe personal care products like this, I turn to my old friend: the EWG Skin Deep Database. They use a handy traffic light system, so you can see at a glance whether the baby toothpaste you’re considering is safe (green light), so-so (yellow light), or toxic (red light). If something isn’t listed in their database, I just move on and find something that is.

I searched their database and found a couple of baby toothpaste recipes to share with you guys. I hope this list helps you avoid what I went through with my kiddo!

1. Kiss My Face Toothpaste without Fluoride

2. Jack n’ Jill Natural Toothpaste – Maybe it’s the cute packaging, but this is the one I want to find for my little guy!

3. Earth’s Best Toddler Toothpaste

4. Tom’s of Maine Children’s Natural Toothpaste – They have varieties with or without fluoride, so check the label if this is an issue for you.

5. Homemade Toothpaste – This recipe from Inhabitots uses aloe vera gel as the base for a smooth texture that your child is a lot more likely to accept over other more gritty homemade toothpastes.

I’d love to hear from the other parents out there! What toothpaste do you use for your little one? Do you make your own? Let’s share tips in the comments!

Read more: Babies, Conscious Consumer, Family, Health, Oral Care, , , , ,

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Becky Striepe

Becky Striepe is a freelance writer and vegan crafter living in Atlanta, Georgia. Her life’s mission is to make green crafting and vegan food accessible to everyone! Like this article? You can follow Becky on Twitter or find her on Facebook!

105 comments

+ add your own
2:25AM PDT on Apr 25, 2014

Thank you

4:14PM PDT on Mar 13, 2014

Personally I never used or would use toothpaste of any kind on a baby, toddler, or young child until they're older and know how to spit all of it out including the clean rinse water that they're taught to swish around their mouth. A clean washcloth is used to wipe their gums, wipe their teeth front, back and the chewing surfaces and the surface of the tongue is all that's necessary in the beginning. Then when 2 or more teeth appear a small manual wet very soft bristle toothbrush without anything added. Then you add the battery operated/rechargeable soft bristled toothbrush made just for small children who can learn just hot long to brush each quadrant without being distracted by the taste of . Then introduce toothpaste hopefully organic, and chemical free whether it's homemade or commercially made. I've even used tiny baby sized dab of organic virgin coconut oil on the toothbrushes just to get them used to having something being on it and swallowing a little bit of coconut oil in my opinion is a lot safer then swallowing unneeded chemicals including sulfates in every form that cause lots of foaming. Keep them safe no matter what you use.
enough

7:28PM PDT on Mar 11, 2014

Thanks for sharing

11:03AM PDT on Mar 10, 2014

Thank you

11:14PM PDT on Mar 9, 2014

I still have my teeth after 70 plus years and have used normal toothpaste all my life

7:34AM PDT on Mar 9, 2014

uh-oh, ick!

12:20AM PST on Mar 9, 2014

I only buy organic paraben free

4:27PM PST on Mar 8, 2014

noted. and spam flagged

7:59PM PST on Mar 7, 2014

So you don't need fluoride to strengthen or remineralize your teeth? Just keep them clean?

7:30PM PST on Mar 7, 2014

And this is not just in children's toothpaste. After years of using Tom's of Maine and also
another brand with Peelu, I went back to using Colgate because my teeth just did not feel
clean enough.
Within three weeks, of using Colgate toothpaste with baking soda & Peroxide, I have been
experiencing headaches, trouble concentrating, and vision problems.
This is the only thing I have changed lately, so I am assuming it is from this.
Thank you for the recipe for making your own.

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