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Which Toothpastes Contain Microbeads?

Posted on September 23, 2014 | in Dental Products | by

And what the H E double hockey sticks are microbeads anyway?

According to the ABC News report you can watch below, these plastic toothpaste microbeads are made from one of the world’s most common forms of plastic.

That material, used to make plastic bottles, is used for color in some toothpaste, and is approved by the FDA.

As if because it’s common, it’s automatically safe to put in toothpaste…

The culprit ingredient to look for on ANY tube of toothpaste would be Polyethylene.

This is the FDA approved food additive that according to Proctor & Gamble (the manufacturer of Crest® toothpaste), are completely safe FDA approved food additives used for color.

How Did We Come To Learn About Toothpaste Containing Plastic Microbeads?

Enter Trish Walravenan RDH, active blogger and social media maven, who just so happens to be a real-life dental hygienist at this The Colony, TX. dental office.

Trish Walraven RDH

Trish first started blogging about something strange she noticed in patient mouths, all the way back in March of this year:

When I clean people’s gums, a lot of times when the water is flushing around, we would see a speck — and it would be blue — and gone.

Walraven says she has been cleaning teeth for 22 years and now she’s speaking out about microbeads.

Is Toothpaste Containing Microbeads Safe?

As pointed out in the video, P&G goes on to say, “Years of clinical research show no evidence of particles persisting underneath the gumline or causing harm.”

The FDA chimes in to say they are, “…not immediately aware of any safety issues with this product.”

To cut through all of the chaff and chatter, and to make a simple assumption, these plastic microbeads are probably not harmful…as far as we know right now – as supported by “years of clinical research” – but that doesn’t mean they’re beneficial either.

And just because what we know now says these microbeads are safe in toothpaste, doesn’t mean that more research, time, & technology could prove that hypothesis totally wrong.

Furthermore, since this polyethylene – what these toothpaste microbeads are made of – is actually a food additive, which is also used to make plastic bottles and only used for color in some toothpastes, how safe can it be for human consumption?

To be fair, the idiot light warning to not swallow or consume toothpaste is right on the tube, but what else do we eat or use for personal hygiene that contains these plastic microbeads?

Certainly more questions than answers at this point, but the authorities we need to turn to for answers to these questions aren’t government bureaucracies or television news outlets.

After all, if it weren’t for Trish’s keen attention to detail in treating her patients, we may never have known about toothpaste microbeads.

To be absolutely positive you’ll get the correct answer, ask a dental hygienist or a dentist if you’re concerned about toothpastes that contain these microbeads…or any other oral health issue!

Like Wes Welker forking out hundos at the Kentucky Derby, we as dental patients need to take responsibility for what we put in our mouths. And the people to answer our dental health related questions are the professionals we entrust with our care.

So What Other Toothpastes Contain Microbeads?

That one is difficult to say without doing a comprehensive grocery isle audit of toothpaste ingredients.

And with what is certainly a polyethylene PR hush campaign in full swing, we may never know to what extent these microbead containing toothpastes have permeated the cavity preventing public.

According to this Good Morning America video, most of the toothpastes using polyethylene as an ingredient are made by Crest®.

If we should encounter a random tube of toothpaste we think might contain these microbeads, simply check the ingredients label on the back of the toothpaste tube or box for polyethylene – the offending microbead ingredient.

Here is a complete (UPDATED 10/7/14) list of the Crest® toothpastes containing polyethylene, courtesy of Commerce Drive Dental in Mankato, MN:

– Crest 3D White Radiant Mint
– Crest Pro-Health For Me
– Crest 3D White Arctic Fresh
– Crest 3D White Enamel Renewal
– Crest 3D White Luxe Glamorous White
– Crest Sensitivity Treatment and Protection
– Crest Complete Multi-Benefit Whitening Plus Deep Clean
– Crest 3D White Luxe Lustrous Shine
– Crest Extra White Plus Scope Outlast
– Crest SensiRelief Maximum Strength Whitening Plus Scope
– Crest Pro-Health Sensitive + Enamel Shield
– Crest Pro-Health Clinical Gum Protection
– Crest Pro-Health For Life for Ages 50+
– Crest Complete Multi-Benefit Extra White+ Crystal Clean Anti-Bacterial
– Crest Be Adventurous Mint Chocolate Trek
– Crest Be Dynamic Lime Spearmint Zest
– Crest Be Inspired Vanilla Mint Spark
– Crest Pro-Health Healthy Fresh
– Crest Pro-Health Smooth Mint

UPDATE 2016:

Thanks to the new Microbead-Free Waters Act of 2015, which according to this NY Times article, sailed through Congress in an age when most legislation plods.

The new law bans tiny beads of plastic that have been commonly added as abrasives to beauty and health products like exfoliating facial scrubs and toothpaste.

A bill to protect the environment was introduced by sponsor NJ Congressman, Frank Pallone, Jr. in the House of Representatives back in March of 2015.

In early December 2015, the House passed the bill. A week later, the Senate passed it as well, without changing a word and by unanimous consent.

Under the law, companies will have to stop using beads in their products by July 2017.

Now, watch this video to get a chuckle from this oldie but goodie about a different type of bleads

For some tips on how to choose the best toothpaste, check out the infographic below – but don’t forget you can always text, email, Facebook, Tweet, or even call your trusted local dentist if you just can’t figure out which toothpaste doesn’t contain plastic microbeads.

How to pick out the best toothpaste.
( Infographic source: )


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+Chris Barnard is Managing Editor of, a patient-centric Social Dental Network blog dedicated to enabling the digital dental health conversation - and the eradication of the cavity creeps.
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