Toothpaste: Avoid these substances
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Avoid these substances in toothpaste

Your toothpaste may contain suspected endocrine disruptors or chemicals suspected of both damaging the genetic material. Find out which substances to avoid.

Christel S. Kirkeby og Katja Ravn · Foto: Getty Images · 30. september 2022

We all use toothpaste, and dentists recommend toothpaste with fluoride to protect our teeth from cavities. 

The Danish Consumer Council THINK Chemicals has tested toothpaste with fluoride for the content of chemicals unwanted for your health and the environment. Several of the tested toothpastes did not fare well.

These brands are included in the test

We have tested 47 toothpastes purchased in Danish stores and online webshops. We have selected toothpaste for both children and adults from both popular brands and niche brands.

The brands included in the test are: Aquafresh, Colgate, Curaprox, Denivit, Dentalux, Dr. Jones, Dr. Organic, Ecodenta, Fuchs, G.U.M, Jordan, Lavera, Marvis, Oral-B, Pepsodent, Pierrot, Rema1000, Sensodyne, Urtekram, Viofluor, Xtra, Zendium, Zymbion and Änglamark.

Be aware of these substances in your toothpaste

In the test, 6 toothpastes receive the lowest rating, C-rating. Half of the toothpastes are marketed for kids.

5 of the 6 C-rated toothpastes contain the substances triclosan or parabens, which are suspected of being endocrine disruptors.

Endocrine disruptors are suspected of affecting the ability to have children or contributing to certain cancers.

Triclosan has been in the scientific spotlight for a long time. In addition of being able to affect the hormonal system, the chemical accumulates in the environment and can create resistant bacteria. The Danish Environmental Protection Agency recommends, that you avoid triclosan altogether.

A single C-rated toothpaste in the test contains propyl gallate, which is particularly allergenic.

Look out for titanium dioxide in toothpaste

In the test, we have found the dye titanium dioxide in 24 toothpastes, which receive a medium rating, a B-rating.

Titanium dioxide is a naturally occurring color pigment that can make products like toothpaste appear chalky white.

However, titanium dioxide can accumulate in the body and is suspected of damaging the genetic material, when it is consumed.

Therefore, the substance is prohibited as an additive in food, but it is still allowed in personal care products, regardless of the fact that you inevitably consume some of the product (e.g., toothpaste or lip balm).

We recommend keeping an eye out for titanium dioxide or CI 77891 in personal care products that you might consume.

Fluoride in toothpaste is not the same as fluorinated substances

Fluoride in toothpaste is sometimes confused with harmful fluorinated substances, also called PFAS. However, it is not the same.

Fluorinated substances are used, among other things, to make outdoor clothing or frying pans water-, dirt-, and grease repellent. It is also used in dental floss to make the flossing more smooth and easy.

Fluoride in toothpaste is a different chemical. Fluoride in toothpaste is an inorganic substance. In toothpaste the substance is added to prevent cavities by strengthening the enamel of the teeth.

Fluoride in toothpaste does not have the same properties as PFAS. However, young children should avoid too much fluoride. Only use a small amount of toothpaste and teach them to spit out after brushing.

The overall exposure is problematic – not the individual product

It is generally a good idea to limit your exposure to endocrine disruptors wherever you can. In this way, you will keep your overall exposure as low as possible.

The individual toothpaste will not pose any health risk, even if it contains the substances that are suspected of being endocrine disruptors.

However, your – or your child’s – total exposure to these substances may contribute to endocrine disrupting effects. Also known as the cocktail effect.  

About the test

  • We have purchased a large selection of toothpastes with fluoride in Denmark. Both in stores and online.

    We have reviewed the ingredient lists for chemicals that may be allergenic, environmentally damaging or endocrine disrupting.

  • 47 toothpastes:

    • 12 toothpastes are without unwanted chemicals.
    • 29 toothpastes contain environmentally harmful substances or the dye titanium dioxide.
    • 6 toothpastes contain suspected endocrine disruptors or highly allergenic substances.

    Titanium dioxide

    Recent research shows that titanium dioxide can accumulate in the body and possibly damage the genetic material, when we eat it. Titanium dioxide is also suspected of being carcinogenic, if you inhale it.

    Titanium dioxide is therefore prohibited as an additive in food, but is still allowed in personal care products, that you also consume or inhale part of when using.

    We rate titanium dioxide in toothpaste with a medium rate, the B-rating, because you can eat part of the product during use.

    In the test, the substance is found in 24 toothpastes. Several toothpaste manufactures have announced that they are phasing out the substance, and will soon introduce new products.


    Triclosan is an antibacterial substance that, among other things, is suspected of being an endocrine disruptor. The substance can accumulate in the body and is suspected of a number of different undesirable health effects. The substance is found in 2 toothpastes in the test.


    Parabens in the form of methylparaben and sodium methylparaben are suspected of being endocrine disruptors. Parabens have been found in 5 toothpastes in the test.

    Propyl gallate

    Propyl gallate is particularly allergenic, and is found in a single toothpaste in the test.


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