You know that the popular idea of “detox” has jumped the shark when Crest starts using it in the name of one of its product lines.

Crest Gum Detoxify

We’re not exactly sure what makes this product so “detoxifying.” The main difference between it and other Crest lines seems to be that it has about twice the concentration of fluoride – itself a toxin.


But who can blame them for jumping on the bandwagon? “Detox” sells. And lately, we’ve seen it used more often than ever to sell toothpaste.

Most of these pastes are “natural” products, containing ingredients such as activated charcoal, bentonite clay, and an assortment of antimicrobial essential oils. You can find them anywhere from etsy to your local organic market.

My Magic Mud toothpaste

And there’s certainly nothing wrong with such pastes. They’re chemical-free, and ingredients such as charcoal and clay can help remove stains and brighten your smile. But while those ingredients are also known detoxers, it’s a bit of a stretch to call brushing your teeth “detox,” even if antimicrobials are used to help keep oral pathogens in check. Brushing is largely about breaking up the microbial colonies – biofilm/plaque – that grow between cleanings. We wouldn’t call flossing “detox” either.

The use of the term seems more a marketing hook than anything.

But it also brings up a point that bears some emphasis: If you have mercury amalgam “silver” fillings or other metal restorations in your mouth, you should steer clear from any toothpastes containing chelators such as bentonite clay and activated charcoal. (The Crest paste appears to contain a potential chelator, as well: sodium gluconate.) Not only does the physical action of brushing accelerate metal ion release from the restorations; such ingredients may accelerate it even further. Those metals may then be inhaled and introduced to the general circulation.

A gentler paste such as Tooth and Gum Essentials, for instance, would be a better option until you’ve had your amalgams replaced with biocompatible alternatives and have undergone full and proper detox under a professional’s guidance.

Real detox isn’t something to take so casually.

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