Reddit users are saying they use toothpaste as a lube replacement, but it can cause genital burning and scarring

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Multiple Reddit users are sharing their experiences using toothpaste as a replacement for lube, and now doctors are warning the public that it’s a dangerous idea.

One user said they felt a burning sensation spread throughout their penis after applying the toothpaste to masturbate, and several days later it was left raw and covered in scabs.

Another person said their penis became inflamed after accidentally getting toothpaste on their genitals in the shower and masturbating over the toothpaste.

Toothpaste should never be used as a lube substitute under any circumstances, according to medical professionals and sexual health educators.

Here’s what you need to know about what can happen if you use toothpaste on your genitals – and why you should just not.

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Toothpaste can contain bleaching agents, peppermint, and scented oils that cause irritation and skin damage

Common ingredients in toothpaste include calcium carbonate (an abrasive used for grinding and polishing), sodium lauryl sulfate (a detergent), peppermint, and whitening agents – all things that should never make contact with the sensitive skin of your genitals.

These ingredients can cause damage, James O’Loan, a pharmacist at Doctor-4-U, told Metro.com.

“The peppermint oils and other chemicals in toothpaste, including bleaching agents, can be extremely irritating to sensitive skin,” Loan said. “By putting it on your genitals you actually risk a mild burn, as well as blisters and scarring.”

In some cases, like what’s described by one Reddit user, genital skin may even become discolored for a period of time due to the intense irritation.

“When I took down my trousers I saw some discoloration to my d—, I had a look and all the skin was red and raw, with some parts of the skin beginning to scab,” the user wrote.

sex health sexual genitals female male anatomy orchid flower crotch anus anal orgasm pleasure reproduction period underwear

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Crystal Cox/Business Insider

Using toothpaste can also upset the delicate pH balance of the vagina, leading to infections

Toothpaste should also go nowhere near the vagina, and can have serious side effects if it does. One Reddit user detailed an experience where they burned their clitoris by putting toothpaste on it to masturbate, resulting in a “screeching volcanic mound of absolute agony.”

In addition to causing skin irritation, inflammation, and scarring, toothpaste can also disrupt the delicate pH balance vaginas must maintain to be healthy and infection-free.

“The pH-balance is an important factor in maintaining vaginal health,” Lisa De Fazio, a registered dietitian nutritionist, told Insider.

An imbalance in pH levels can lead to the growth of harmful bacteria within the vagina, which can cause yeast infections and bacterial vaginosis.

Overall, healthcare professionals recommend sticking to water and silicone-based lubes for sexual activity.