Oral Cleaners

A very common cause of oral allergy and oral irritation is mouthwash and toothpaste. If you believe the inflammation in your oral tissues is due to an infection and you are allergic to these substances, you are likely using them more and more in an attempt to get your condition under control. If you are allergic to them, the result is that you are compounding your condition. If you are not allergic to them, they contain tissue irritants and can still cause inflammation of your oral tissues.

Mouthwashes and oral cleaners may actually do more harm than good:

Antimicrobial treatment of periodontal diseases disturbs the human ecology: a review.


Mouthwash and toothpaste commonly contain compounds called SLS and DLS. Those acronyms stand for sodium laure* sulfate and disodium laure* sulfate. These are harsh detergents that are derived from coconut. It is commonly the first ingredient in dishwashing soaps. It is a common ingredient of detergents and cleaners. A significant portion of the population reacts to these "sulfates". These sulfates are well established tissue irritants and they do tissue damage.

Sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) induced irritant contact dermatitis: a correlation study between ceramides and in vivo parameters of irritation. Aug, 1996 http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov:80/entrez/query.fcgi?cmd=Retrieve&db=PubMed&list_uids=8917825&dopt=Abstract

Chemically induced inflammation in rat oral mucosa. Oct. 1998


These products might also contain plant oils. Many people react allergically to specific plant oils. Also, some commonly used plant extracts are well-known irritants and poisons. There are many web sites that are purely technical and not trying to sell something, that have information on various plant oils like eucalyptus oil, tea tree oil thymol, menthol and other things present in these products.

Thymol: Not effective against the 3 major bacteria that cause tooth decay


From this site: http://home.primus.com.au/IP-PWPSTORE02/64/royellis/mtsafe.htm

"THYMOL: Eye contact will cause burning and possible permanent eye damage. Thymol is toxic and can be absorbed through the skin in doses large enough to cause toxicity. Inhalation and ingestion also cause toxic effects. Symptoms include abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, feelings of suffocation, shortness of breath, circulatory collapse possibly leading to convulsions, delirium, collapse and death. EYES - Code 2: SKIN - Code 12: INHALED - Code 16: INGESTED - Code 17"

A common mouthwash, Listerine has 2 important claims on its label. First it kills millions of germs on contact. That sounds impressive, but they cleverly omit stating relative to how much total bacteria. Millions of germs can represent a small portion of the total flora in your mouth. Secondly, it kills the germs that cause gingivitis. It does not say it kills the germs that cause periodontal disease. Even if you believe that periodontal disease can be caused by a bacterial infection, these are likely to be different bacteria than the ones that cause gingivitis. It is not a good idea to kill off the weak 25% off and leave the real hearty, nasty bacteria behind with no competition for food. The product contains cell toxins and does tissue damage which provides food for bad bacteria. The substances in Listerine are not selective and kill off beneficial bacteria as well. The result is that you are possibly effecting the natural bacterial balance in your mouth in a destructive way, and making your problems worse, not better.

Alcohol is not an effective disinfectant. If it was surgeons would use it to scrub up and the health departments would require its use for sterilization of surfaces and tools. Bleach and hydrogen peroxide are also not effective disinfectants.

From the FDA web site:

"More About Antiseptics

In its proposed rule, FDA listed these active antiseptic ingredients as tentatively safe and effective: ethyl alcohol (48 to 95 percent), isopropyl alcohol, benzalkonium chloride, benzethonium chloride, camphorated metacresol, camphorated phenol, phenol, hexylresorcinol, hydrogen peroxide solution, iodine tincture, iodine topical solution, povidone-iodine, and methylbenzethonium.

Five ingredients listed as tentatively effective only in combination products are ethyl alcohol (26.9 percent), eucalyptol, menthol, methyl salicylate, and thymol. "

The last sentence is a match to the ingredients in Listerine. The alcohol in Listerine is 21.6%. The plant oils are only effective in combination.

The information is from:


Also note that they say "are Tentatively safe" as that is not yet proven. They also say "tentatively effective".

Benzoic Acid is actually a prescription drug and a food preservative. Sodium benzoate is a salt of benzoic acid, at this site you can review the side effects of this drug. Many people react to this substance.


 Mouthwash and toothpaste also contain dyes. Dyes are food coloring and have the designation FD&C #no. or similar code. A large portion of the population is allergic to dyes, with red dye taking the lead, yellow dye with a close second. Red dye in dog food caused tremendous problems with dogs and any small animal veterinarian can tell you about that.

To learn more about the effects of food coloring or dyes:


According to the FDA, all of these ingredients might have some antibacterial properties, which will be effective at correct concentrations and exposure times, with a tentative effect.

Each one of these ingredients is an irritant, a poison, has produced allergic reactions and has biochemical side effects. The antibacterial properties that they have might be more harmful than beneficial.

Your body is designed to have bacteria in your mouth and to keep it under control. Most of what you put in your mouth has antibacterial properties, especially food. Your saliva contains a high concentration of antibodies. Your oral tissues are constantly equipped with a fresh supply of immune cells. Considering that you are already equipped to adequately fight infection in your mouth with 24/7 coverage, you may want to consider if it is really worthwhile to you to irritate your oral tissues with these products and disrupt your natural balance. The irritation and other side effects have an effect on your natural processes. Your body is not designed to require constant assistance at controlling bacteria.

If you are allergic to it, you should terminate usage immediately.

Your exposure to dyes in the products that you are using to clean your mouth is in addition to the dyes you get from anything that you consume. The same is true for all additives. Your exposure is additional, not instead of. You should be careful of this wording. One organization notorious for wording like this is the ADA. The association is a political organization of dentists, for dentists, whose purpose is to promote the dental industry. Most dentists are members. The ADA is notorious for clever wording such as "in addition to". They are also notorious for claiming that some very questionable practices are not proven to be detrimental. There are many publications in the journals with the exact opposite position as the ADA on several issues. There are many web sites provided by people who realized that the ADA can be very misleading and have published their opposing views with all the literature to support it. View the ADA’s position on Mercury Amalgam fillings. Mercury is the most poisonous substance on the planet next to plutonium. It has been outlawed in the US several times because of all the permanent health problems it causes. They claim "you get more from your environment". That is not instead of, that is in addition to. They also claim that poisoning from mercury amalgam fillings is controversial yet there is significant research that points to the contrary. It happens to be an inexpensive, easy to use material for a dentist. The dental industry is largely responsible for polluting the environment with it.

The manufacturers of products are interested in making money. The will use careful wording to emphasize effects that might sound beneficial. Rinsing your mouth out with 0.042% menthol may reduce your bacterial flora by 0.02%. Rinsing your mouth with water will likely do the same thing. That does not mean that the menthol did not do it, and that is why the advertising is so misleading. They never tell you about the harmful side effects. Your skin is coated with a keratin substance to protect it from chemicals. Your oral tissues are not. Toothpaste has always been part of most of our lives and we never question whether or not we really should be using it. Several decades ago when these products came out, there was basically no information on the adverse side effects and science and technology was not advanced enough to know what they know today. As research continues, more information will surface.

You should be familiar with the latest research on flouride, one of the ingredients in your toothpaste. It is now believed that adding flouride to the drinking water was not a good idea.


Some more information on toothpastes:

Skin reactions and irritation potential of four commercial toothpastes

The effects of tartar-control toothpaste on the oral soft tissues

To get an idea of what "safe" means:

U.S. Food and Drug Administration perspective of the inclusion of effects of low-level exposures in safety and risk assessment. Feb, 1998


Threshold of toxicological concern for chemical substances present in the diet: a practical tool for assessing the need for toxicity testing. March, 2000


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