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Toothpaste manufacturer takes action after dental hygienist’s discovery

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PHOENIX, Ariz. (CNN) — A dental hygienist in Phoenix noticed something strange in the mouths of her patients — and spoke up about it. Now a toothpaste manufacturer is taking action.

Trish Walraven has seen lots of things as a dental hygienist, but until a few years ago, she had never seen anything like this!

“We thought it was a cleaning product or something that people were chewing,” said Walraven.

Little blue dots were trapped in the tiny spaces between people’s teeth and gums.

“Some weeks I’ll see five or six patients,” Walraven said.

Walraven started asking around, and discovered that other hygienists were seeing the same thing.

It took awhile, but they finally figured out what it was: polyethylene.

It’s a plastic used in all kinds of things like garbage containers, grocery bags, bullet proof vests, even knee replacements, and not toothpaste.

Walvaren says one brand appears to use the plastic microbeads more than others.

“Pretty much everyone was saying that they used some form of Crest toothpaste,” Walraven said.

Valley dentist Justin Phillip says the microbeads shouldn’t be anywhere near your mouth.

“They’ll trap bacteria in the gums which leads to gingivitis, and over time that infection moves from the gum into the bone that holds your teeth, and that becomes periodontal disease.  Periodontal disease is scary.”

Walraven wants the beads gone, too.

She wrote a blog that has gotten national attention. It even caught the eye of Proctor and Gamble.

In a statement to ABC 15 the Crest manufacturer said: “While the ingredient in question is completely safe, we understand there is a growing preference for us to remove the ingredient.  So we will.”

Crest says the majority of its toothpaste will be microbead-free in six months.

They’ll be completely gone by March 2016.

If you want to make sure the product you’re using is microbead-free, take a look at the ingredient list and make sure it doesn’t include polyethylene.



  • A Wallflower

    I’m livid. I’ve been using Crest Gum Protection toothpaste for well over a year because after having my daughter, my gums have gone down hill. And it has those blues dots in it that may have contributed to my gum problem. It’s just so ridiculous, why must companies add so many unnecessary things to products that are supposed to HELP you?

    • DLyn Kimmel

      THIS IS WHAT I LOVE: Valley dentist Justin Phillip says the microbeads shouldn’t be anywhere near your mouth. “They’ll trap bacteria in the gums which leads to gingivitis, and over time that infection moves from the gum into the bone that holds your teeth, and that becomes periodontal disease. Periodontal disease is scary.”

      In a statement to ABC 15 the Crest manufacturer said: “While the ingredient in question is completely safe, we understand there is a growing preference for us to remove the ingredient. So we will.”


    • roflol123

      Hello! If you’re having gum problems, I would suggest looking into oregano or clove oil to drop onto your toothpaste before using. Or switch over to a more natural one. Also, a book I highly recommend is “Holistic Dental Care” by Nadine Artemis. She offers lots of wholesome looks into what we should really be using for our mouths instead of the mainstream items you would find in most stores today. If you have any questions, please feel freeto ask anything! God bless!

    • Frank

      The saddest part is that you just assumed it was safe because they told you it was. Do your research and take personal responsibility for yourself and you would have avoided crest all together. Fluoride is garbage that doesn’t belong in your body. Consider your food, and other products that you use on daily basis. Wake up….and enjoy new health. Don’t live in willful ingnrance

      • DLyn Kimmel

        Hi Frank:

        With all due respect, I assure you, I feel the need to suggest some of your remarks seem borderline condescending. Others I’ve read today (here and on another site) have been measurably more harsh than yours, but just because YOU know (and perhaps many others do as well) it does not guarantee every person who brushes their teeth does – or WOULD! Why would they until the issue presents itself in THEIR life or that of someone they know…. y’KNOW? :)

        I’m guessing the average person does not stop to adequately research every thing they are told is good for them or bad for them or debatable or amazing, etc. I know I certainly don’t, and believe me, I WOULD LOVE TO! That would surely be the job for ME!!! I suppose, if they’ve gone to COLLEGE (or even high school NOW a days I’d think) they SHOULD know that certain sources are considered RELIABLE and MANY are not AND that even the reliable ones may need additional study, etc. You can find online information to both support and refute pretty much every statement ever spoken!!!

        Ever see that commercial? I think it’s for allstate or state farm…. the dude that walks up to a lady who is talking with another man and says, “Bonjour” <<< almost slaughters the pronunciation – like… bone jer or something. She had just shared how she met this guy online …. and he's FRENCH! hah! lol & smh – anyway…………………

        I'm ALSO guessing you do not mean anything hurtful by your comments; I don't know. I just get the feeling that you chose your words carefully to some degree and that you just wish people would DO what you suggested. Not everyone is going to receive the message gently – and no, that doesn't mean they are stupid or wimpy or need to put on their big girl panties or big boy pants anymore than it means the writer is……… I really hate when people say those things. The word saddest, for example, when said sincerely, is precious and appreciated. But in black & white it is difficult to know if the writer is being snide and intending a negative connotation such as that's a sad excuse for a…….. !

        Your 2nd sentence, as well as the phrase, "wake up" can easily be taken as "if you had just been intelligent, you wouldn't be in this situation". Well, the person who IS in the situation clearly feels stupid as it is I'd think. Why add insult to injury – even inadvertently. And "telling" someone to or not to do something, especially when you suggest they are being willful in their actions, is another direct accusation. I'm just sayin those who know how to present information clearly and who have a passion for contributing to the well-being of others, need to consider the way they say what they have to say if they wish it to be readily received and beneficial to the reader/listener. In speech class, written communication, and technical reporting, we were always repeatedly told one thing: One must ALWAYS consider "your audience & your purpose" for sharing what you have to share. Sorry, my biggest soap box is effective communication – grin!

        Typically speaking, no one cares what you KNOW until they KNOW that you CARE! It's not often that a perfect stranger can walk up to you or me and tell us something we will quickly run with. They have to have some right, some confirmable authority to speak into our lives.

        But again, who has the time to research every last piece of promising information. And as I said in another comment, just WHOM shall we trust anyway? sigh………………. yes, we MUST do some research on topics of great importance and relevance in our lives – no question. But if and when we can NOT, either we sometimes don't have much of a choice and may feel hard pressed NOT to follow the advice we receive from various sources. I would sincerely love to be an advocate of knowledge – researching every thing – at least major things or not well known things….. and have that knowledge banked where people can go to get reliable, trustworthy truth! A reliable source is one that has been proven true over and over and over. So even in doing research, folks have to understand how to locate this kind of information.

        Gonna ramble – sorry. What a quandary! There's always the "better safe than sorry" approach too if necessary. Thanks for sharing Frank! :)

  • Jackie, RDA

    Just for the record, toothpaste does not clean your teeth. Your toothbrush and proper brushing and flossing cleans your teeth.

    • DLyn Kimmel

      No, the “majority” will be in 6 months; ALL will be free of it by March 2016! Absurd if you ask me. I really liked this part though:

      Valley dentist Justin Phillip says the microbeads shouldn’t be anywhere near your mouth. “They’ll trap bacteria in the gums which leads to gingivitis, and over time that infection moves from the gum into the bone that holds your teeth, and that becomes periodontal disease. Periodontal disease is scary.”

      In a statement to ABC 15 the Crest manufacturer said: “While the ingredient in question is completely safe, we understand there is a growing preference for us to remove the ingredient. So we will.”


  • DLyn Kimmel

    How’s about Crest and Reach get together and take responsibility for all the gum issues we have today…. sigh! I have little to no enamel left on my once beautifully white teeth and also have receding gums. As I understand it, there are 2-3 primary reasons for the gum issue, ONE of which is related to the hard-bristled toothbrushes of years past (Reach was incriminated in the data I’D read some time ago). Brush your teeth! Brush your teeth! Brush your teeth! Well, I SURE DID: all the time with a hard-bristled Reach toothbrush! :(

    • Troy Jackson

      try using baking soda and magnesium together. I have and receding gum lines gone and teeth enamel began to build up and it made my teeth stronger.

      • DLyn Kimmel

        From another comment you made: Colgate too!!!??? :( ugh – I read the ingredients in my Colgate tube and did not see the culprit ingredient listed. :(

        So, you are certain there was nothing else that could be responsible for the repair of your gums, Troy? I do not have insurance that covers what the dds said he would have to do to fix it (treat it, whatever). They (ins) seem to think it’s more cosmetic apparently! @$$holes! ugh – As you may have read throughout my various comments, I don’t know who to trust anymore. I guess I like to find solid support of any idea I’ve not personally experienced. But maybe you felt the same way when the idea was presented to you… I don’t know. :)

        Thanks! :)

  • Justne

    I’m holding in my hands one tube of crest 3d white and one tube of Colgate optic white. Me and my buddy share a house and use different toothpastes and I just felt the need to examine them. On the crest tube one the “active ingredients” are listed but not the inactive ones. On my Colgate however all the ingredients are listed, active and inactive. Is it just me or does it seem like crest has been hiding something?

  • Jedi

    Coconut oil and bicarb of soda together are the best for cleaning and whitening your teeth and promotes healthy gums. Go back to natural products, it’s the best.

  • Lanny

    This is just plain ridiculous, but doesn’t surprise me one bit! Toothpaste is typically useless, same a hair shampoo but used by the masses to control our behavior. Flouride is still in our drinking water and proven harmful by research yet we are still told to use it in our toothpaste and in dentist visits. We are essentially guinea pigs. My two cents – Hydrogen Peroxide used daily as a mouthwash. It cleans your gums thoroughly, prevents gingivitis, and even whitens too. Great stuff ! : )

  • MissHygieniality

    Woah LANNY, before you go extolling terrible advice, do some research. Straight hydrogen peroxide is HARMFUL! It will kill healthy tissue and leave you with a mild chemical burn. Hydrogen peroxide should ALWAYS be diluted 50/50 with water.

    • Lanny

      @Missghygieniality — I didnt think I had to go into the actual directions on how to take it orally, and figured intelligent people are smart enough to read the label on the bottle. Ive taken it over 2.5 years without diluting it. No burns. Maybe some need to dilute. Everyone is different. Cheers!

      • DLyn Kimmel

        Home > Ask the Doctor > Can you take hydrogen peroxide internally?
        Can you take hydrogen peroxide internally?
        Written by: Michael Greger M.D. on November 8th, 2012

        Based on this question:
        I have a question regarding the use of hydrogen peroxide internally. I’m not finding much information on the subject and I have a family member who’s looking into it based on some (limited) online research. Thoughts and feedback would be appreciated.

        Yikes! Hydrogen peroxide should never be taken internally. It can cause irritation of the gastrointestinal tract with nausea, vomiting, and foaming at the mouth (the foam may obstruct the respiratory tract or result in pulmonary aspiration). Within minutes of ingestion, confusion, coma, convulsions, cyanosis and cardiorespiratory arrest may ensue if the concentration is high enough. Oxygen gas embolism in the brain may cause a stroke even after just a few sips. Most problems occur at concentrations >10%, but even dilute solutions can be toxic. If your family member wants to oxygenate their blood they should try exercising!

        Instead of consuming pro-oxidants like hydrogen peroxide, I recommend eating anti-oxidant rich foods. See, for example:

        The Power of NO
        Antioxidants in a Pinch
        Antioxidant Power of Plant Foods Versus Animal Foods

      • DLyn Kimmel

        Lanny: did you read the article? just askin cuz you have not said anything on it at ALL. FYI: All of what I am pasting below [numbered] is directly from the link YOU shared. There are clearly some fairly strict instructions on how to use which grade and for what purpose. I’m SURE the average person does not stop to adequately research every thing they are told is amazing. You know? I mean, if they’ve gone to COLLEGE (or even high school now a days) they SHOULD know that certain sources are considered RELIABLE and MANY are not. You can find a link to support and refute pretty much every statement ever spoken…. ONLINE!!! Ever see that commercial? I think it’s for allstate or state farm…. the dude that walks up behind a lady talking with another man and says, “Bonjour” <<< almost slaughters the pronuniciation. She had just told her friend how she met him online and he's FRENCH! hah! lol – anyway…………………………..

        1) NOTE: Do not swallow any peroxide. When the peroxide rinse is done, be sure to rinse out your mouth with water.
        2) Only 35% Food Grade hydrogen peroxide is recommended for internal use. At this concentration, however, hydrogen peroxide is a very strong oxidizer and if not diluted, it can be extremely dangerous or even fatal. Any concentrations over 10% can cause neurological reactions and damage to the upper gastrointestinal tract. There have been two known fatalities in children who ingested 27% and 40% concentrations of H202. Another reports tells of a 26 month old female who swallowed one mouthful of 35% H202. She immediately began vomiting, followed by fainting and respiratory arrest. Fortunately, she was under emergency room care and although she experienced erosion and bleeding of the stomach and esophagus, she survived the incident. When she was re-examined 12 days later, the areas involved had healed (J Toxicol Clin Toxicol 90;28(1):95-100).

        3) Personal note: As with ANY food, drug, or supplement, using the product according to instructions is key to safety. If someone uses too much, then of course ramifications may be felt. We’ve NEVER heard of ANY harmful side effects from the correct usage of Food Grade hydrogen peroxide.

        4) (Don’t use chlorinated tap water to dilute the peroxide!)
        Article Source

        I think after reading through it AND the comments (lots of 'em) I am just all the more unsure. I mean I would like to find "sources cited" for one thing – and there are none in this article.

        There are clearly variables to consider regarding the use of H2o2 for anything internal. God only knows the various interactions with not only things like different kinds of fillings, but body chemistry, and I imagine other things too. I just hope that people who read this information will be wise and do a little research of their own rather than simply taking one post (any one’s) and goin with it. You know?

        MY comment to a parent using it in her child's ears follows….. you'd have to go to the link Lanny shared above.

        I am just learning a lot about H2o2 uses and all I can say is I sure hope, for your sweet child’s sake, that the future does not prove this to have been a horrible horrible idea. I’m not saying it IS, but we all know that we find out such things LATER – AFTER having done so for years….. smh – that would scare me right out of it.

        MY question is WHO do we trust? I mean, HONESTLY, the pharmaceuticals and medical professions are not always high on that list. Insurance companies, attorneys, the government……… honestly…………. I would not know anymore what is helpful IN THE LONG RUN…. so very sad indeed. :(

        Yeah, I think I will wait until a day I feel more comfortable with any ONE of the ideas I've been reading. I guess I will fall back on "better safe than sorry". :) THANKS FOR THE LINK Lanny! :D

  • Troy Jackson

    I used Crest for years but, somehow I kept developing calcium deposits between my gum line and my tooth even after dentist had just finished cleaning my teeth a week later. So my wife decided to go with baking soda with magnesium. I can say this that my teeth are cleaner and it completely erased the calcium deposit that kept forming on my gum line. I will not use toothpaste from Crest or Colgate ever again. It was causing more deteoriation of my tooth by the gum line and now my teeth feel stronger now than ever without having problems of swollen gums.

  • care4all

    this is just another thing to prove to me big companies care less about human health. plastic in toothpaste, really? it’s completely safe yet the dentists are saying the opposite. what purpose does it serve except to make the toothpaste look pretty?

    • DLyn Kimmel

      Ohhhh Sweetheart! If you want to open THAT nasty, sour, rotten, RANCID can o’ worms… [grin] we could be here for all of eternity discussing how “big companies” have screwed us over for centuries. :( Do a search on sugar, aspartame, PRO-BIOTICS, Frank Searle <—- I BELIEVE his name was………… look at how the FDA actually DISapproved [shocker] of something BAD for us and the the big conglomerates got involved and suddenly those tumorous lab rats merely had some expected swelling, etc………………. I can't even go into it! MONEY TALKS! Oftentimes, however, it is SAYING to the general public: YOU ARE NOTHING! We could care less about your well being, so long as you are just naive enough to "buy" what we are selling! :(

      The means by which I came across this information was through a sales video, but the INFORMATION in that video was more than worth all the remedy in MY mind anyway. sigh Paraphrasing an earlier comment: Beware! Do some personal research! Watch out for your SELF – AND each other! But remember, all one can do is share their own experience and what they have learned… hopefullyTOGETHER, we can determine enough of the FACTS to make wise decisions about such things as they come up.

  • May

    I would just like to know HOW it even came up about putting these micro pieces of plastic in the toothpaste in the first place???? What was the reasoning behind it??? and last but not least…….HOW WAS IT EVEN POSSIBLE to get it APPROVED in the first place and put into action???

  • Sandra B. Poehler

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    When I look at your blog site in Ie, it looks fine but when opening in Internet Explorer,
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  • Lilli L. Preedom

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  • Enviro-Mentalist

    These beads are used in many, many products, most commonly in face and body wash/scrubs. On top of the potential issues it can directly cause with our own health they pose a huge risk to our water supplies and the creatures that rely on that water to leave. Imagine that these ‘beads’ don’t really decompose and we have fish swimming around with bellies full of them.. I personally use Arbonne products to stay away from so many of these ingredients. Something else I can add about research is you always want it from a scientific source and not something that is opinion-based or points being made in the name of positive marketing for a specific brand. That said I will also leave you with 3 things.
    #1. Research SLS (Sodium Lauryl/Laureth Sulphate) and know that this ingredient is used in virtually every product that foams.
    #2. Research what Mineral Oil really is, where is comes from and what it does to your skin.. Then look at your labels and try to find a product without it – It’s really shocking.

    Most of this learning for me did come from Arbonne. But that said, I basically used their ingredient policy and items listed and then did my own independent research. Mayo clinic is a fabulous resource.

    Take care all!

  • Regina Q. Schug

    Your style is very unique in comparison to other people I have read
    stuff from. I appreciate you for posting when you’ve
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