It is possible for you to be allergic to almost anything, including toothpaste. Allergies to a toothpaste tend to be specific to the mouth, including severely dry and chapped lips and sores. You also can experience general allergy symptoms from a toothpaste. If you think you may be allergic to the toothpaste you are using, see your doctor for confirmation.
Cheilitis is a condition in which the sides of your mouth become irritated, dry and cracked. You may experience swelling and even pus oozing from the corners of your mouth. Though often caused by a yeast infection, a toothpaste allergy can cause cheilitis as well. Cheilitis goes away quickly once treatment occurs. In the case of a toothpaste allergy, this means determining which ingredient you are allergic to and avoiding it.
Other symptoms of a toothpaste allergy may be more generalized and can occur like any other allergy. These include swelling, redness or infection in the mouth. Other signs of an allergy include hives, itchiness, congestion and red, watering eyes.
The fluoride inside toothpaste may be causing your allergic reaction. Fluoride toothpaste can cause canker sores, which are marked by painful lesions. Fluoride also may lead to a condition known as perioral dermatitis. Those with perioral dermatitis suffer from red bumps on the face, specifically in the area of the mouth. These bumps often resemble acne and also may accompany peeling of the facial skin. Discontinuing the use of fluoride toothpaste often resolves these two conditions.
Causes and Prevention
A case study published in the "Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology" in 2010 evaluated the likely causes of a toothpaste allergy. According to the researchers, the most likely cause of a toothpaste allergy is the flavoring. Most toothpastes are flavored with cinnamon, mint, spearmint or peppermint, any of which could be the likely culprit. The second and third most likely causes are two chemical compounds known as cocamidopropyl betaine, followed by propylene glycol. Oils, additives and parabens also may lead to a toothpaste allergy. The best way to prevent an allergy occurrence is to omit likely ingredients from your toothpaste. You should consider seeing a doctor for diagnosis so that you can remove the allergen from your daily life.
- Colgate Oral and Dental Health Resource Center; Cheilosis/Cheilitis
- American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology; Contact Dermatitis to Toothpaste; Phil Lieberman, M.D.
- OralB: Symptoms of Toothpaste Allergy
- Medline Plus; Allergic Reactions; 2010
- Fluoride Action Network: Allergy to Fluoride Toothpaste -- New Report; 2004
- "Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology"; Toothpaste Allergy Diagnosis and Management; Matthew J. Zirwas, et al.; 2010