What causes a toothpaste allergy?



Recently we received a question about the cause of toothpaste allergies and what to do about it. While a toothpaste allergy is not associated to oral allergy syndrome (read more about it here) it is a type of oral allergy. Before getting started remember we are an informational site only and are never to replace the relationship with you and your doctor (read more about our medical disclaimer here). Some of the products we have recommended below are provided by affiliate partners though the recommendation of a product is never at the expense of beneficial information.

Potentially anything can cause an allergic reaction and for some people that includes toothpaste. While toothpaste allergies are rare it does happen. The symptoms most often associated with a toothpaste allergy are:

  • Swelling, redness, dryness, or infection in your mouth
  • Sensitive teeth and gums
  • Dermatitis or cheilitis (itchy and peeling skin) around the mouth and lips
  • Severely chapped lips
  • Sores in the mouth
  • Itching
  • Hives
  • Congestion
  • Red, watery eyes
  • Difficulty breathing

What causes a toothpaste allergy?

When dealing with a toothpaste allergy here are the most common causes:

  1. Toothpaste flavoring. The most common being cinnamon, mint, spearmint, menthol, carvone, and peppermint.
  2. Cocamidopropyl betaine. This is a synthetic surfactant used as a foaming agent in toothpaste which helps in cleaning and removing germs from your teeth.
  3. Propylene glycol. This is a derivative of natural gas that is used to help the toothpaste keep its consistency and form as well as act as a preservative.
  4. Essential oils. These are used for their smell and as an antibacterial. They are extracted from plants, animals, or manufactured. The most common essential oil allergen is tea tree oil. Other common essential oil allergens are: ylang yang, compositae mix, propois, and colophony.
  5. Parabens. This is used for preservation and increases the toothpastes antibacterial properties.
  6. Propolis. Is a plant product collected and obtained from bees that promotes a healthy, feeling mouth decreasing oral inflammation and bacteria.
  7. Fluoride. Prevents tooth decay.
  8. Sodium lauryl sulfate. This is a foaming agent that aids in removing bacteria and debris from the teeth as well as helping rinse the teeth.

How do I know if I have a toothpaste allergy?

If you are having any of the symptoms mentioned while or after using toothpaste you may have a toothpaste allergy. To get properly diagnosed you would need to see an allergist for testing. It is important to see an allergist because it may not be a toothpaste allergy but another medical condition. It may also be necessary to see your dentist to make sure that your method of treatment is appropriate to maintain your teeth’s health.

How do I treat a toothpaste allergy?

After proper diagnosis the treatment options for a toothpaste allergy are:

  1. Try products for sensitive mouths and gums. In the case of mild reactions or not a true toothpaste allergy you may have better luck trying a mild flavored toothpaste and a soft-bristle toothbrush. Some mild toothpastes for sensitive mouths are:
  2. Go natural. Try products made from natural ingredients, such as those from:

    Make sure to read their ingredients list if you are avoiding a particular allergen.

  3. Avoid your allergens. This may be difficult and require quite a bit of research considering the various allergens and toothpaste brands. There is a great list produced by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence of toothpastes and their allergens. Some options are:
    • Aloe Dent by Optima Consumer Health: Their “Children’s Aloe Vera” & “Children’s Aloe Vera and Green Tea” are fluoride-free and have no known allergen flavoring, but do have tea tree essential oils.
    • Toothpowders. This is a common form of teeth cleaning in Europe and has few to no allergens. A great product is produced by Eco-Dent which comes in various flavors including lemon-lime for those allergic to menthol-type flavorings.
  4. Make your own. The best way to avoid ALL allergens is to make your own toothpaste. Here are several recipes that may be worth trying:

What are you saying?

We at OASN do not recommend a particular product and have not tried any. All of these products have been found through extensive research. In saying that, all these products are provided by an affiliate merchant but we do not suggest these products at the expense of useful information. In the search for the best solution for a toothpaste allergy we have found that the only products that could potentially be allergen-free are toothpaste powders and homemade toothpaste. In saying that, only homemade toothpaste recipes are absolutely allergen-free (and as an added bonus are very cost-effective!).


Never self-diagnose. See a medical professional, such as an allergist and/or dentist, to make sure that you are treating your allergy correctly and making the safest decision regarding your health.


Disclaimer: The information contained in this site is for educational purposes only, and should not be used as a substitute for a licensed physician. Please see your physician for diagnosis and treatment of any concerning symptoms or medical condition. Click here to read the full disclaimer.
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