How to know if you have a toothpaste allergy: symptoms & causes

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Do your gums feel irritated after each time you brush? Do you have an unexplained irritation in and around your mouth? Oh, honey, you are probably experiencing a toothpaste allergy. But there is nothing to panic over. It is completely manageable. And since we only use a smear of toothpaste and do not actually consume it in big amounts, toothpaste allergy is not life-threatening.

First things first, you should know about toothpaste allergy and its symptoms. This way you know what not to ignore and what actions you should take. If you do not take early precautions, you might end up with bad dental health. It affects your overall health, as well as your wallet.

What is toothpaste allergy?

Although it is rare, some people can be allergic to toothpaste. But not the toothpaste as a whole. It can be a flavoring agent, whitening, or cleaning agent. Even though fluoride is considered a “must-have” ingredient in toothpaste, it can also trigger an allergic reaction.

How do you develop these allergies? Let’s take gluten for instance. We are consuming more and more wheat as the day passes. So, we begin to develop either an intolerance or an allergy to it. Since gluten can also be present in toothpaste, you can inhibit allergic reactions after you use your toothpaste.

What else can be found in toothpaste that causes an allergic reaction? What are the toothpaste allergy symptoms? How can it be detected and treated? Let’s have a look.

What are the toothpaste allergy symptoms?

The most common symptom of toothpaste allergy is eczema and swelling on the lips and/or around the mouth. The allergic reaction is easily detectable. You will see rash, swelling, and cracks. If you are experiencing anything out of the ordinary that irritates the skin, it is possibly an allergic reaction. You can even experience allergic reactions on your hands because the toothpaste might flow down to your hands.

If you have an allergy to toothpaste, you can also see allergic reactions on your gums and tongue. If you are extremely sensitive to more than one ingredient, allergic reactions can occur either on one or all of them simultaneously. You can experience irritation or a burning sensation in these areas.

What are the potential allergens in your toothpaste?

The most common allergens in toothpaste are fluoride and flavoring agents present in toothpaste. Flavor allergies are the easiest to deal with. You simply need to switch to a different flavored one. For instance, if you are allergic to cinnamon, switch to peppermint or spearmint. You can expect the allergic reactions to disappear in no time.

Allergic reactions to fluoride toothpaste are swelling of your tongue, gums, and mouth. If you are more sensitive or somehow consume a large amount of fluoride, you can develop rash and itchiness in and around your mouth. The solution to fluoride allergy is, thankfully, easily accessible. You can find hypoallergenic toothpaste (allergy-free toothpaste) in stores and pharmacies. You can also use hypoallergenic toothpaste if you have gluten allergy/intolerance.

Other potential allergens present in toothpaste are the following:

  • Essential oils
  • Fragrances
  • Cinnamal, cinnamic aldehyde
  • Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLS)
  • Parabens
  • Cocamidopropyl betaine (CAPB)
  • Propylene glycol

And many more, that are not as common.

Symptoms can also differ with the ingredient that’s causing the allergic reaction. These toothpaste allergy symptoms can include:

  • irritation
  • swelling
  • burning sensation
  • sensitivity
  • rash in and around the mouth

You can also experience drying and cracking of the lips.

To treat allergic reactions to toothpaste, the first method for it is to switch to the correct toothpaste for you. They should heal in a matter of time. But if you have painful sores in your mouth and tongue irritation due to being more sensitive to the mentioned allergens, your dentist can treat them by injections or prescribing you the proper medications for them. Your dentist can also prescribe you topical steroid mouthwashes for your symptoms.

How to recognize which ingredient you’re reacting to

Firstly, you might want to consider switching to a different flavored toothpaste, or one that is hypoallergenic. If you continue experiencing allergic reactions to it, the allergen might be anything that’s found in toothpaste. In this case, you should start seeking help.

The safest way to figure out which ingredient you are allergic to is to get patch testing supervised by a specialist. In patch testing, allergens known to cause contact dermatitis (itchy rash) present in the toothpaste are applied to your skin. You are exposed to the ingredients in toothpaste for about 20-30 minutes. With this test, you can recognize which ingredient you are reacting to.

After you figure out the ingredient that you are allergic to, try to find a toothpaste that does not contain that ingredient. If you have other dental health problems, such as gingivitis or other gum diseases, you should consult your dentist for the right toothpaste for you.

Quick FAQ on toothpaste allergies

Now that we have explained what a toothpaste allergy is, its symptoms, and how you can detect the culprits, let’s answer some frequently asked questions for more detail.

How am I supposed to whiten my teeth if I’m allergic to fluoride?

Let me tell you something: fluoride is not a whitening agent! It prevents the enamel from decaying, yes! This indirectly prevents plaque buildup. But it is not essential for teeth whitening. Since you are allergic to fluoride, you should be more careful with your diet and dental hygiene. You will use fluoride-free dental hygiene products. If you apply the correct brushing method, there is nothing to worry about.

But, if you want your teeth whitened, there are of course methods to do it. The following are where teeth whitening can be done:

  • At home: You can use the teeth whitening home kit tools recommended by your dentist that do not contain fluoride.
  • The dentist’s office: The whitening gels dentists use also do not contain fluoride. You can get your teeth whitened without any worry. For instance: UV Light Teeth Whitening.

Alright then, let’s repeat it together: Fluoride is not a whitening agent. And lastly, the amount of fluoride in toothpaste is so little. You may be allergic to fluoride without realizing you have it. How? The allergic reaction could be something that you don’t think is important or don’t associate with an allergy. Such as mild headache or nausea.

What is that white stuff on gums after brushing?

The mucousy, white spots you see on your gums are the dead tissue caused by your toothpaste. You are experiencing an allergic reaction to an allergen in the toothpaste. If you are seeing the mentioned white stuff on your gums, switch to a different toothpaste. If you are still seeing the white patches, consult your dentist immediately.

Is gum tissue sloughing normal?

Gum tissue sloughing, commonly known as peeling of the gums, is NOT a normal thing. It is an allergic reaction. It is basically the dead tissue being sloughed off. You should not ignore this occurrence. It can lead to bleeding, painful blisters, and so on. You should either consider changing the dental hygiene products you use or consult your dentist immediately.

Is there an allergy free toothpaste?

Yes! There are many types of hypoallergenic (allergy-free) toothpaste you can find. Hypoallergenic toothpaste does not include most of the common allergens found in common toothpaste, such as fluoride, gluten, mint, and more.

The absence of allergen ingredients does not affect your dental health and/or the whiteness of your teeth in a bad way. As long as you stay loyal to your dental cleaning, you will be fine.

Are there any gluten free toothpaste?

Of course. Gluten intolerance and gluten allergy are very common. As a result, there are many kinds of gluten-free toothpaste you can find.

Gluten-free toothpaste can give you the same result as ordinary toothpaste. You only need to apply the correct method of brushing, where you brush your teeth two times a day, two minutes each.

If you also have gingivitis or other periodontal diseases, you can consult your dentist for a specific gluten-free toothpaste that can also help with your gum disease.


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