Friday, March 23, 2012
Crest Pro-Health Peels Your Skin Off
**NOTE: This post is long, but I recommend you read it because it may save you from a LOT of potential dental health issues at some point!
A couple years ago I bought a tube of Crest Pro-Health toothpaste because it was on sale. I used it for a while because I kind of liked that it made my mouth feel really clean - it had gritty bits in it that reminded me of that polish they use at the dentist, so I felt like my mouth was getting scrubbed pretty good.
However, I also noticed that it seemed to make the skin peel off the inside of my mouth and sometimes made my tongue hurt, which was sort of gross, plus it was expensive, so I eventually stopped using it. Shortly afterwards, I went to the dentist and found out I had receding/inflamed gums and was told I was probably brushing my teeth too hard so to use only extra-soft toothbrushes and brush my teeth lighter.
A year passed of me using only extra-soft toothbrushes and light teeth-brushing and coincidentally (I did not realize at the time), no Crest Pro-Heath. I went back to the dentist and was told my gums had healed from last year's issues. Hooray! They gave me a bunch of coupons for some free Crest Pro-Health.
"This is sweet," I thought, "going to the dentist is basically paying for itself in all this free toothpaste!" I went out and picked up a tube with one of my coupons. I took the tube to work for my backup toothpaste for when I ran out of the tube I was currently using.
Near the end of last shift, I ran out of Colgate Total and used Crest Pro-Health for my last couple days of work. I noticed that the skin-peeling thing was starting again, but didn't think much of it. When I came back the next week, about 4 days into my shift, the skin peeling was getting out of control (every time I brushed my teeth a layer of skin would peel off the inside of my mouth) and my mouth was starting to hurt a bit. I finally realized that MAYBE this wasn't a good thing for a toothpaste to be doing, so I Googled the issue to find out if it was a common problem.
And holy crap - there are a lot of people out there who've had the same problem and worse. I know several people who do use this toothpaste and don't have any issues, but perhaps for people with more sensitive skin in their mouth or something, it can definitely do some major damage! I had primarily the same reaction as the latter link - skin peeling off the inside of my mouth to the point where my mouth was dry and my tongue felt like it had been burned, which it had.
I find it interesting that the Crest website defends the fact that it is chemically burning the skin off the inside of people's mouths by saying the following:
Since using Pro-Health toothpaste, I've noticed a "shedding" of the lining of my mouth. It is like a layer peels off each time I use it. My mouth feels cleaner than ever, but I'm not sure if this is normal.
The shedding that you have noticed in your mouth is not unsafe and is a result of the natural process to remove dead cells from the skin surfaces in your mouth. The cleaning action of both Crest Pro-Health Toothpaste and Crest Pro-Health Rinse can accelerate this process and often results in the skin coming off in sheets, making the removal of dead skin cells more noticeable.
Okay. I'm no doctor/dentist BUT I am pretty sure that any "cleaning action" in a daily cleanser to ANY part of your body, especially inside your mouth, should not be peeling off a layer of skin every time you use it. I'm not dermatologist but I am pretty sure that dead skin doesn't "generate" that fast after you burn off a layer.
So then I also Googled the main ingredient in Crest Pro-Health, the one that is gritty and supposedly is awesome at removing tartar according to Crest: sodium hexametaphosphate, a major component in water softener salt. As a registered Engineer-in-Training also certified in WHMIS (and WHMIS for Supervisors, NO BIG D), I also looked up the MSDS for this ingredient and SURPRISE, it is a major skin irritant!
After finding out this crazy information, I still had a few days left in my shift with only Crest Pro-Health to use for brushing my teeth. I used it for another couple of days but the pain and dryness in my mouth only worsened, to the point where it was painful to eat because I felt like my tongue had been badly burned (you know how you burn your mouth on hot pizza or whatever? That's exactly what it felt like, but I hadn't eaten any hot pizza or especially hot food). I started telling people about my problem because I felt like it was my duty to warn others about the dangers of Crest Pro-Health, and eventually someone took pity on me and gave me a tube of Colgate Total.
It was like instant relief - my mouth honestly felt soothed after brushing my teeth with the Colgate. I think it's because toothpaste is supposed to be gentle on the delicate skin inside your mouth and not cause further irritation if you have, oh I don't know, CHEMICAL BURNS INSIDE YOUR MOUTH, for example.
Unfortunately this did not instantly reverse the damage. I've had blisters building up in my mouth for the past few days (I have never had mouth blisters in my life) and my tongue still feels a little burnt, but it seems to be healing alright. Needless to say I am NEVER using Crest Pro-Health (and maybe any Crest products at all in protest) again in my life.
The thing that bothers me the most about this whole situation is that where did I get this toothpaste? FROM MY DENTIST, who noticed I had gum inflammation and receding gums at one point from supposedly being too harsh on the inside of my mouth. So great idea to help me fix this problem by loading me up with a super harsh toothpaste that dissolves my mouth skin and gums! And don't defend the poor dentists on this one - they MUST know that Crest Pro-Health causes irritation for a lot of people by now. Even the Crest website acknowledges that this is an issue, except they try to cover it up by being like "you're just getting your mouth EXTRA CLEAN!" Um, yeah, usually when people try to burn their skin off to get "extra clean" that's a sign of a serious psychological problem, not something that health care professionals generally recommend their patients do. If you read through a lot of the complaints on that consumer affairs website or the comments on the blog I linked above, some people spent a lot of money trying to diagnose the "medical problem" that their dentist/doctor insisted they must have because their skin was peeling off the inside of their mouth. Because there's no way it might be caused by something like a high-end toothpaste that the dentists are pushing on all their patients.
Due to the fact that my blog seems to get its highest traffic numbers from my dental-themed posts (celeb!!), I'm hoping this post follows suit too because I'm legitimately angry that this product exists and is promoted by dental professionals (that's why I titled it like a Google search). Yeah, maybe it works fine for some people with no issues, but there's a lot of us that have had severe reactions to it so in my opinion it's irresponsible for dentists to be recommending it to all of their patients, especially ones they know have sensitive gums.