· By Deepa Patel
Chemical Danger: Nom Nom...Looks Like Some Lovely Titanium Dioxide
Titanium Dioxide is a horrid non-organic compound said to give products that photo-friendly polar white look... Sadly, it’s also been linked to cancer and some studies have shown it can even mess up your reproductive bits... So, if you were thinking about how important your pearly white teeth are in the dating world... you may want to reconsider your long-term plans...
This common additive, responsible for giving toothpaste its bright white colour, has recently raised concerns due to its potential risks and toxicity. In this blog post, we'll delve into the origins, uses, potential dangers, and side effects of titanium dioxide in oral care.
How is Titanium Dioxide Produced?
Titanium dioxide is a naturally occurring mineral that undergoes a refining process to become the white pigment used in various products, including toothpaste. This process usually involves extracting titanium ore from the earth, refining it into a fine powder, and then heating it to create the pigment. The end result is a highly effective ingredient that imparts that gleaming white look that we associate with cleanliness.
Why is Titanium Dioxide Included in Toothpaste?
The reason titanium dioxide finds its way into toothpaste is twofold. Firstly, it's responsible for that brilliant white shade that we all expect from our toothpaste, a colour linked to cleanliness and stain removal. Additionally, it helps improve the texture and consistency of toothpaste, giving it a smoother and more visually appealing feel. While these aesthetic perks are desirable, it's important to consider the potential drawbacks.
Dangers and Toxicity of Titanium Dioxide
One of the primary concerns surrounding titanium dioxide is its potential toxicity. The safety of this compound is a subject of ongoing research and debate. Some studies have raised concerns about the nanoparticle form of titanium dioxide, which is used in certain toothpaste formulations. These nanoparticles are minuscule, allowing them to penetrate tissues and cells, potentially causing harm.
Banned in the EU
The European Union (EU) has acknowledged the potential dangers of titanium dioxide in its nanoparticle form and banned its use as a food additive (E171) since 2020. This decision was taken due to concerns about its potential impact on human health, especially when ingested. However, this ban doesn't extend to its use in toothpaste, which remains a matter of debate and concern.
Possible Side Effects
The potential side effects of titanium dioxide in toothpaste are a cause for concern. While research is ongoing, there's evidence suggesting that ingesting titanium dioxide nanoparticles may be linked to health problems, including:
- Gut Disruption: Some studies indicate that consuming titanium dioxide nanoparticles can disrupt the balance of gut bacteria, possibly leading to digestive issues.
- Inflammation: There's evidence that titanium dioxide nanoparticles might trigger inflammation in the body, which can contribute to various health problems.
- Bloodstream Entry Risk: Nanoparticles from toothpaste may enter the bloodstream, and their long-term effects aren't yet fully understood.
- Potential Cancer Risk: While not yet definitively proven, some animal studies have hinted at a potential connection between titanium dioxide nanoparticles and cancer.
In summary, titanium dioxide in oral care products, like toothpaste, poses potential risks and toxicity concerns, particularly when in nanoparticle form. While the EU has banned its use as a food additive, its presence in toothpaste is still up for debate. It's essential to keep yourself informed about the ingredients in your oral care products and make informed choices about your dental hygiene routine. If you have concerns about titanium dioxide in your toothpaste, consider exploring alternative toothpaste options or seek advice from your dentist for a safe and effective oral care plan. Your health should always take precedence.
By Alessandro Rocchi
By Alessandro Rocchi