LOS ANGELES, CA--(Marketwire - Feb 10, 2012) - Dentist and national oral health care expert Harold Katz, (www.therabreath.com), says many ingredients in some commercial toothpastes are of questionable benefit and some are just plain bad for you. February is National Children's Dental Health Month -- a good time for parents, and anyone who uses toothpaste, to take a few minutes to read the label, he says.

Children and adults ingest toothpaste twice a day every day -- it's probably the thing we put in our mouths most frequently, other than water or other beverages, Katz says.

Here are some common ingredients to avoid:

FD&C blue dye No. 2: This commonly used toothpaste dye is one of several on the list of additives to avoid, maintained by the Center for Science in the Public Interest. It's said to be linked to learning, behavioral and health problems, severe allergic reactions, and headaches, among other problems.

Sodium lauryl sulfate: The American College of Toxicology reports this ingredient in cosmetics and industrial cleaning agents can cause skin corrosion and irritation. Doses of .8 to 110 grams/kilogram in lab rats caused depression, labored breathing, diarrhea and death in 4 out of 20 animals.

Triclosan: An anti-microbial ingredient, the federal Environmental Protection Agency lists triclosan as a pesticide and regulates its use in over-the-counter toothpastes and hand soaps. According to the agency's fact sheet, "Studies on the thyroid and estrogen effects led EPA to determine that more research on the potential health consequences of endocrine effects of triclosan is warranted... Because of the amount of research being planned and currently in progress, it will undertake another comprehensive review of triclosan beginning in 2013."

Look for natural ingredients, such as aloe vera juice, which cleans and soothes teeth and gums and helps fight cavities and kill disease-causing bacteria in the mouth, Katz says.

Also, avoid all toothpastes that contain sodium lauryl sulfate, a harsh detergent that has been linked to canker sores. Toothpastes that are free of sulfates include Weleda's Salt Toothpaste and TheraBreath.

About Dr. Harold Katz

Dr. Harold Katz received his degree in bacteriology from UCLA and is the founder of The California Breath Clinics. He has been featured on ABC's "Good Morning America" and CBS's "Early Show," among other TV shows. Katz formulated the TheraBreath oral care program in 1994.

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Ginny Grimsley