Emily Lallouz was having a root canal performed by a dentist when she was informed of something in her mouth that should not have been there: plastic.
The culprit behind the plastic between her teeth and under her gums was none other than the Crest Pro-Health toothpaste she had been using.
Lallouz posted her experience to Facebook to warn others.
“I had a root canal done last week and while she was irrigating she asked me if I used any of the Crest Pro-Health toothpastes,” Lallouz wrote in a June 8 post. “After I said yes, she showed me all those blue things that ‘clean’ were under my gums and in between my teeth. They are actually PLASTIC!!!”
The dentist cleaned all of the blue plastic beads from Lallouz’s mouth that she thought, upon use, were for whitening purposes or possibly fluoride.
“If you thought they burst or were ‘beads of magical fluoride and whiting fun,’ they are NOT!! If you or your kids are using this STOP NOW! It’s even illegal in a couple states!” Lallouz wrote.
Lallouz is not alone with having blue plastic balls left behind by her toothpaste.
In April of 2014, Cheryle Pestana posted her experience to Facebook with a picture of Crest 3D White toothpaste:
“Anybody use this toothpaste? If so, THROW IT AWAY! I went to the dentist today to have my teeth cleaned and during my cleaning I was asked if I use Crest 3D whitening. I said I did and asked how she could tell. Apparently, [dentists] are finding the little blue balls in the toothpaste stuck in [patient] gums! I can vouch she found 4 stuck in my gums, all of which she was able to remove and I saw with my own eyes.”
The polyethylene plastic beads, otherwise known as microbeads, in Crest toothpastes are also found in face washes and body scrubs. The Food and Drug Administration has approved the use of microbeads, but not in toothpaste, Food Safety News reported.
The FDA classifies toothpaste as an over-the-counter drug and because the microbeads are not considered an “active ingredient,” they do not monitor their use.
“By definition, food additives are for their intended use in food,” FDA spokesman Jeff Ventura said, according to Food Safety News. “Toothpaste is regulated as a drug product and is not considered food.”
While microbeads can cause problems for your oral health, environmental groups say they are also bad for aquatic life. Due to their non-biodegradable nature, they end up in lakes and other bodies of water where fish mistake them for food, causing harm.
The harmful effects of microbeads on the environment have caused states to ban them from their store shelves. The states that currently ban or restrict plastic microbeads from products are California, Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Maine, Maryland, and New Jersey, The New York Times reported.
Proctor & Gamble, Crest’s parent company, responded to complaints about the use of microbeads in toothpaste in 2014, saying they would be removed from affected products within six months and completely gone by March 2016, according to Food Safety News.