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What to Know About Microbeads in Your Toothpaste

Sunday, January 17th, 2016

is this safe hagen dental microbeads

“What’s all this I’m hearing about microbeads?”

Microbeads are scrubbing beads that have commonly been used in a variety of exfolianting products. They’ve also been used to provide color in products ranging from soap to gum! Recently, more attention has been garnered for how they are used by popular brands in cosmetics as well toothpaste.

By definition, they are called “microbeads” because they are less than 5 millimeters in diameter—but many microbeads used in toothpaste, lip balm and makeup are much, much smaller.

“…But are microbeads in my toothpaste safe?”

The answer is that the polyethylene microbeads that are used in brands including Crest Toothpaste and others are microbeads that are safe (1). While you can always ask us when you have questions about any toothpaste or oral hygiene product, a general rule of thumb is that products that have the ADA Seal are products that have been independently evaluated by the ADA Council on Scientific Affairs for their safety.

With that said, Crest (the brand receiving most of the attention for its use of microbeads) has committed to removing all microbeads in its toothpastes going forward. They have already removed microbeads in the majority of their toothpastes.

“What exactly is the concern with microbeads in my toothpaste?”

The microbeads used in the majority of toothpaste brands today are in fact safe—however, some people still prefer not to use toothpaste with microbeads as a precaution. The concern is that chemically, these tiny particles are plastic microspheres, and some people would rather see more biodegradable particles in their makeup, personal care products and in their toothpaste.

what to know about MICROBEADS

Taking a step back, know that polyethylene (which is what you would see on the list of ingredients in any product that has these kinds of microbeads) is an FDA-approved food additive. Microbeads are an inactive ingredient and they are not associated with any health risk.

Many of your favorite toothpaste brands have many toothpastes that do not contain any microbeads.

According to the Crest blog, they have a long list of toothpastes that have no microbeads whatsoever. The list includes:

  • Crest Pro-Health Advanced Smooth Mint
  • Crest 3D White Radiant Mint
  • Crest Sensi Repair & Prevent, Crest Pro-Health [HD]
  • Crest Whitening + Scope, Crest Baking Soda Peroxide
  • Crest Extra Whitening, Crest Cavity
  • Crest Tartar + Whitening (1)

You can see that’s quite a long list that offers you microbead-free brushing, if desired—and that is just Crest alone. As mentioned, it was recently announced that due to media attention as well as consumer concern and confusion, Crest is removing all of the microbeads by late February/March of this year. The majority of all Crest products, as well as others available on the shelf, are already microbead-free. Because of a growing consumer sentiment that reflected a preference to remove all microbeads, other brands that also made this pledge include L’Oreal, Neutrogena, Unilever and Johnson & Johnson.

Want to talk more with us about microbeads and whether or not they are safe for you and your family? Contact us online or give us a call today to schedule your next appointment at 513.251.5500.

References/Further Reading