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Can I be allergic to toothpaste?


Updated April 09, 2014

Question: Can I be allergic to toothpaste?
Answer: Yes. Most reported reactions to toothpaste involve contact dermatitis of the mouth. Symptoms may include sores in the mouth, swollen gums, an irritated tongue, and itching and peeling of the lips and skin around the mouth. Various ingredients in toothpaste can cause these reactions – the most common of which is cinnamic aldehyde, as well as other flavorings, such as Balsam of Peru.

Many people with toothpaste allergy can tolerate natural products from Tom’s of Maine.

Contact dermatitis of the mouth can also be caused by other oral and dental products, including from metals from dental work, mouth washes, chewing gums, foods from the Toxicodendron family (such as mangoes and cashews) and lipsticks/lip balms.

Metals used in dentistry are known to cause contact dermatitis in the mouth, and include mercury, chromium, nickel, gold, cobalt, beryllium and palladium.

Learn how the diagnosis of contact dermatitis to cinnamic aldehyde, as well as to other chemicals, is made.


Beltrani VS, Bernstein IL, Cohen DE, Fonacier L. Contact Dermatitis: A Practice Parameter. Ann Allergy Asthma Immunol. 2006;97:S1-38.

DISCLAIMER: The information contained in this site is for educational purposes only, and should not be used as a substitute for personal care by a licensed physician. Please see your physician for diagnosis and treatment of any concerning symptoms or medical condition.

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