A Straight Dope Classic from Cecil's Storehouse of Human Knowledge

Do some brands of toothpaste contain sugar?

June 23, 1978

Dear Cecil:

I understand some brands of toothpaste contain sugar. Would you be a consumer advocate and list those that do so I can avoid them?

Cecil replies:

I think you've gotten toothpaste mixed up with sugary Dentyne gum, one of the most brazen frauds ever perpetrated on a gullible public. Most brands of toothpaste contain not sugar but a very small amount of saccharin, about 0.2 percent of the total volume. As you may know, there have been reports linking saccharin to cancer in laboratory rats, but industry spokesmen claim that a healthy 150-pound adult would have to eat 606 standard size 5.5 ounce tubes of toothpaste every day for 50 years in order to reach the level of saccharin that caused the rat tumors. A sweetener of some kind is clearly necessary; unsweetened toothpaste is about as yummy as a stick of chalk. Other toothpaste ingredients, while we're on the subject, include natural flavoring such as spearmint or peppermint, beefed up by emulsifiers, preservatives, and artificial flavors. These also are thought to be harmless, but you never know. Personally I am oblivious to considerations of personal safety, but if you would rather not risk it you might want to get yourself a box of baking soda and brush with that. For flavor you can throw in a little cinnamon. Sounds pretty weird, I know, but hey, it's organic.

Related Posts with Thumbnails

Recent Additions:

A Straight Dope Classic by Cecil Adams
A Straight Dope Classic by Cecil Adams
A Straight Dope Classic by Cecil Adams
A Straight Dope Classic by Cecil Adams
A Straight Dope Classic by Cecil Adams
A Straight Dope Classic by Cecil Adams
A Straight Dope Classic by Cecil Adams
A Straight Dope Classic by Cecil Adams
A Straight Dope Classic by Cecil Adams
A Straight Dope Classic by Cecil Adams
A Straight Dope Classic by Cecil Adams

Send questions for Cecil Adams to: cecil@chicagoreader.com

Send comments about this website to: webmaster@straightdope.com

Terms of Use / Privacy Policy

Advertise on the Straight Dope! Your direct line to thou- sands of the smartest, hippest people on the planet, plus a few total dipsticks.

Publishers - interested in subscribing to the Straight Dope? Write to: sdsubscriptions@chicagoreader.com.

Copyright © 2014 Sun-Times Media, LLC.