Signs you're using the wrong toothpaste

When you search for toothpaste, the ads say it all — look for something that will give you minty-fresh breath and shiny white teeth. But what happens when your toothpaste gives you more than what you've bargained for, say chapped lips or rashes around your mouth?

Chances are, you're probably allergic to your toothpaste, which can definitely happen, as Colgate says toothpaste can contain a laundry list of ingredients that can cause a localized reaction. These include gluten, fluoride, fragrance, and flavorings like cinnamon. In an article written for Dental Buzz, dental hygienist Trish Walraven even called toothpaste a cosmetic, which we use because it tastes good — and not because it provides your mouth and teeth with any extras.

How do you know you're allergic to your toothpaste

Toothpaste allergies can develop even if you've been using your toothpaste for some time. Colgate says one of the most common signs of a toothpaste allergy is having cheilitis, or very chapped lips, which can be accompanied by rashes around the mouth. Very Well Health says toothpaste allergies can also present symptoms of contact dermatitis inside your mouth, including mouth sores, gums, and a tongue which is swollen and sensitive, as well as lips that are itchy and peeling. 

Toothpaste allergies are usually confirmed through a patch test, where samples of different chemicals are placed on your back and examined at 48 hours, and then again at 72 or 96 hours. The allergy is confirmed if the patch test site is red, has blisters, or has mild swelling (via Very Well Health).

Best alternatives for commercial toothpaste

If you feel commercial, minty fresh toothpaste is not for you, SELF says there are several alternative brands to commercial toothpaste that you might want to consider. These brands will contain ingredients that may help you clean your teeth, including charcoal (which whitens surface stains), baking soda (which kills plaque but does nothing to kill bacteria), bentonite clay, cinnamon (watch out for allergies!), and sea salt. 

But none of these ingredients have been approved by the American Dental Association, so it may be best to see your dentist and get his thoughts on what toothpaste alternatives he might recommend before making a switch that doesn't pay off in the end. If you switch toothpaste and continue to have issues, a visit is definitely in order to your doctor or dentist.