Stupid Toothpaste

I bought a new tube of toothpaste this past weekend: Crest Sensitivity with Extra Whitening. I have been using Arm & Hammer Sensitivity, but the Publix I went to didn’t have any of it. So I went back to Crest, which I have used before without incident.

They do not list the ingredients of the product on the packaging, or on the tube itself. All Crest products contain Sodium Laurel Sulfate, which is a forming agent. This product is not one of those listed, because it’s not an “active ingredient.” I am apparently very allergic to sulfa drugs, and all of a sudden my immune system has decided that this SLS is pure evil and must be destroyed. So it feels like the first layer of skin on my tongue is going to come off. 🙁

Earlier in the week, I noticed that I was getting canker sores on my tongue. Monday I had one, Tuesday I had two, Wednesday I had seven, and yesterday I didn’t even bother to count. After suffering all day yesterday and keeping to an every-four-hours ibuprofen regimen, I took the advice of some online friends and went to the pharmacy to get the ingredients for a nasty witches’ brew for mouth ulcers: Chloraseptic + Milk of Magnesia + Benadryl liquid (EDIT: mix equal parts, swirl around in mouth for 30 seconds or so, spit out). It calmed things WAY down, of course, and I was able to sleep reasonably well last night.

Of course, I brushed with the toothpaste right before bed and again right after waking up this morning, so it’s likely to be another painful day. But I’m throwing out the toothpaste and going to get some that does NOT have SLS in it.

Incidentally, Crest says on their website that the “rumors on the internet” about SLS are unfounded and not scientifically proven. Yeah, okay. Whatever.

Granted, I’ve used Crest and other toothpastes with SLS in them for years. And all of a sudden I’m having problems when I never have before? That happened when I discovered the allergy to methylisothiazolinone in 2001, too — the “-thia-” word root means “sulfa,” according to my dermatologist and to my general practitioner. My scalp and legs were on FIRE, and I would wake Jerry up at night with my slumber-scratching. So I went to the dermatologist. We did a skin prick test and discovered that I was QUITE allergic to methylisothiazolinone and related chemicals.

But I remember washing my hair with Finesse shampoo in high school and practicing pronouncing that chemical name while I waited for my conditioner to work… So I had definitely been using products with those chemicals for a long time, but all of a sudden my body decided to start displaying an allergic response. Bizarre.

But that would explain why certain lotions and creams, shampoos, and Neosporin all make me itch. They’re sulfa-based drugs. And apparently my toothpaste is, too. The level has been low enough that it hasn’t bothered me before, but my guess is that I finally hit threshhold and won’t be able to use those products anymore. Ugh.

Sensodyne and Rembrandt toothpastes are both SLS-free. I am heading to the store now to get me some SLS-free toothpaste. Whee.