Dentists discover microbeads in toothpaste - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Dentists discover microbeads in toothpaste

(Source: WBRC video) (Source: WBRC video)
(Source: WBRC video) (Source: WBRC video)

A dental hygienist in Phoenix noticed something strange in the mouths of her patients and spoke up about it.

I didn't have any clue what it was," Trish Walraven said.

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," Walraven said.

Little blue dots, trapped in the tiny spaces between people's teeth and gums.

"Some weeks I'll see 5 or 6 patients," Walraven said.

She started asking around and other hygienists were seeing it too. It took a while, but they finally figured out what it was.

"Polyethylene," she said.

It's a plastic used in all kinds of things. Garbage containers, grocery bags, bullet proof vests, even knee replacements and now in toothpaste.

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

"Pretty much everyone was saying that they were using some form of Crest toothpaste," she said.

Valley dentist Dr. 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," Phillips said.

Walvaren 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 the Crest manufacturer says: "while the ingredient in question is completely safe, we understand there is a growing preference for us to remove the ingredient. So we will."

Anyone wanting to make sure the product they're using is microbead free, take a look at the ingredient list and make sure it doesn't include polyethylene.

Copyright 2014 WBRC. All rights reserved.

Powered by Frankly