Does toothpaste have alcohol in it?

I’m Not Drunk, But I Have Been Brushing My Teeth

Updated for 2018. In 2010, Massachusetts State Senator Anthony Galluccio resigned his senate seat after several run-ins with the law concerning a number of alcohol-related incidents. The senator recently tried to blame the combination of toothpastes he was using for failing a breathalyzer test.

Alcohol in Toothpaste

Last October, following a number of DUI incidents, Galluccio was apprehended after fleeing the scene of a fender-bender which left a father and son injured. A judge ordered the Senator to surrender his driver’s license for 5 years as well as submit to random breath tests during his probationary period. Breath equipment was installed in his residence and he was sentenced to home confinement. Only three days after his sentencing, Galluccio failed the breathalyzer test. In a statement, the Senator said, “After discussing it with a physician, we have determined that it is the result of my using two toothpastes – Colgate Total Whitening and Sensodyne toothpaste, both of which contain sorbitol.”

Okay, Senator Oral Hygiene.

Could you give me the name of that “physician,” Senator? Cuz The Maven’s gotta look him up. The “Doc” who helped you craft this fairy tale needs to review his organic chemistry. Yes, Sorbitol is a sugar alcohol, but it isn’t volatile like ethyl alcohol. A breathalyzer registers your BAC (blood alcohol content) when the alcohol in your bloodstream passes through your lungs and is exhaled due to its’ property of volatility. Sorbitol, on the other hand, has a negligible volatility and is not exhaled through the lungs. It can’t cause false positives on a breathalyzer. Period.

Now, if you were using one of the following dentifrices, perhaps, just maybe, you could get the breathalyzer to give you a positive reading:

Arm & Hammered Toothpaste
 (for that Fresh from the Tavern feeling of Clean)


Pearl Schnapps
(See the Moonshine, Feel the Buzz)



Colgate Totaled
(Number 1 Recommended by Drunkards)

Had you opted for the mouthwash claim you might have gotten some minor traction, as many rinses do contain alcohol. But you and your “physician” went with the urban myth about toothpaste. Dumb move. Next time you try to weasel your way out of a legal hot-spot with a chemical defense? Get yourself some competent advice from someone who knows their hydrocarbons and derivatives.

Have You Read The Warning On Your Toothpaste Label Lately?

Warning: Keep out of the reach of children under 6 years of age. If you accidentally swallow more than used for brushing, seek professional help or contact a poison control center immediately.

Finally, the FDA has admitted what we at The Dental Maven have told you all along. “Warning labels on toothpaste?” An article by Don Oldenburg of the Washington Post, printed in the Burlington Free Press, Burlington, Vermont, June 1997, states that three ingredients in toothpaste are considered dangerous. Fluoride is poisonous if taken internally, and Sorbitol and sodium lauryl sulfate can cause diarrhea, especially in children. As of April 7, 1997, all fluoride toothpastes and dental care products shipped must have a warning label stating that if more toothpaste is swallowed than needed for brushing, a poison control center or health care professional should be contacted immediately.

Why ever use toothpaste again? Instead, use a pure and natural formula containing only cold-pressed essential oils of mint and almond, known for their antiseptic and antibacterial properties. Just a few drops on your toothbrush will make you a believer. No sweeteners, abrasives, additives or artificial flavors, and it’s even safe to swallow