Titanium dioxide is a mineral-based white pigment used in a wide variety of products, including toothpaste, other oral care and personal care products.
WHAT DOES IT DO?
Titanium dioxide can serve several purposes in various oral care products. In some toothpastes, it is used in very small concentrations to make the color of toothpaste white, which for many consumers makes it more pleasing to use.
HOW IS IT MADE?
Titanium dioxide is an abundant element in the earth’s crust, occurring in nature as ilmenite ore. The ore undergoes a multi-step purification process where it is liquefied under high heat before being dried and milled to create a white powder material that has been highly purified to be added as a an oral and personal care ingredient.
WHAT ARE THE ALTERNATIVES?
One alternative to using naturally derived titanium dioxide is to use a synthetic dye, which does not meet our Stewardship Model standards for natural, sustainable and responsible. Tom’s of Maine does offer several toothpaste options that do not contain titanium dioxide.
IS THIS THE RIGHT OPTION FOR ME?
Titanium dioxide has a long history of safe use in the cosmetics and drugs industry for personal and oral care products as a FDA approved colorant1. It is also approved for use in food as a colorant and also in food contact materials. Debate exists around the safety of titanium dioxide nanoparticles particularly when they are airborne. The titanium dioxide we use is not considered to be nano-sized and the ingredient is bound so the particles present are not airborne. Therefore, there is no inhalation risk in using our products that contain this ingredient.
Tom’s of Maine recognizes that no two people are alike, and even with naturally derived ingredients, some individuals may develop an allergic reaction that is unique to them. As with any product, be sure to discontinue use if you experience discomfort or other indications that the product may not be appropriate for your individual body chemistry.
1 For Cosmetics 73.2575, for Drugs, 73.1575, for Food 21CFR 73.575