Why Microbeads?

Did you know there’s plastic in many of your personal care products? It’s true. When you use toothpaste with tiny colored specks, you are using a product with plastic. Those tiny specks are called microbeads. There are many ingredients in the products you use that you are unaware of such as microbeads. In today’s blog, your Lake Forest Dentist, Dr. Fondriest, discusses why microbeads are used and if they are harmful.


At one time natural substances such as crushed nut shells and salt crystals were used in personal care products to lend an abrasive quality for scrubs and toothpastes. Since then, these natural substances have been replaced with microbeads. Microbeads are tiny non-biodegradable plastic beads about the size of a grain of salt. They can be made of any of the following: polyethylene (PE), polypropylene (PP), polyethylene terephthalate (PET), polymethyl methacrylate (PPMA), or nylon. They are added to products as a cleanser and for color. They are tiny colored specks used in soaps, facial scrubs, and toothpastes as an abrasive to scrub away unwanted germs and debris from your hands, face, and teeth.

The Environment

Although microbeads are not harmful to humans, they are harmful to the environment. Non-biodegradable plastic does not breakdown in the environment.  Microbeads are also thought to absorb toxins and as a result these poisonous bits of plastic end up in your waterways poisoning fish and other marine animals.


Dentists harbor the concern that these tiny plastic specks might get caught under in between a person’s teeth or under their gums while brushing. This can lead to inflammation or infection, and possibly cause a host of other problems. In an effort to protect their citizens and the environment, the state of Illinois has banned the use of microbeads in personal care products. The Unilever Company and Johnston & Johnston have also discontinued their use.

About Your Lake Forest Dentist:

Aside from providing dependable general and restorative dentistry services to our community, Dr. James Fondriest also holds respected academic appointments at the Pankey Institute in Key Biscayne, FL, and the Spear Institute in Scottsdale, AZ, and he is an adjunct Assistant Professor in the Department of Prosthodontics at the University of Florida Dental School. At Lake Forest Dental Arts, Dr. Fondriest combines his impressive array of experience with modern technology and caring, compassionate, knowledgeable staff. To schedule a consultation, call our office today at (847) 234-0517.