A Phoenix dental hygienist spoke out after she kept finding strange blue dots lodged in between the teeth and gums of her patients.
Trish Walraven asked around and found other dental health professionals were seeing the same issues.
"We thought it was a cleaning product or something that people were chewing," Walraven said.
It turned out to be a common plastic called polyethylene. It’s used to make bulletproof vests, garbage containers, grocery bags, and even knee replacements, WLOX reported. It’s also used in microbeads that can now be found in Crest toothpaste.
"Pretty much everyone was saying that they were using some form of Crest toothpaste," she told WLOX.
According to dentist Dr. Justin Phillip microbeads shouldn’t be anywhere near your mouth.
"They'll trap bacteria in the gums which leads to gingivitis,” Phillips said, “and over time that infection moves from the gum into the bone that holds your teeth and that becomes periodontal disease. Periodontal disease is scary.”
Walvaren took to the web to warn people about the ingredient. While Crest manufacturer Proctor and Gamble says they’ll stop using the ingredient they maintained that polyethylene is perfectly safe.
In a statement Proctor and Gamble said: "while the ingredient in question is completely safe, we understand there is a growing preference for us to remove the ingredient. So we will."
Image credit: Flickr Creative Commons / Jason Tester Guerrilla Futures, WBRC Video