It’s Old News

But Not “Fake News”

Do you need to throw away your toothpaste? Recent information from news programs and online consumer media have encouraged their audiences to lake a look at the ingredients in household toothpastes and search for a specific substance. If they find it, reports encourage immediate disposal of said toothpaste. Although there is some truth in the claims stated in these reports, it’s important to understand the facts before acting drastically and tossing out perfectly good products. What is this ingredient, is it a problem with toothpastes sold today, and why all the fuss?

The Main Toothpaste Story

Back in 2017, the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) implemented a rule to remove the ingredient triclosan from all antibacterial hand wash products. Independent of this ruling, other research suggested that triclosan might disrupt immunity and some thyroid hormones. In June of 2019, Consumer Reports published an article showing that Colgate Total had triclosan in it. After that, word began spreading through news channels.

The Real Toothpaste Story

The ruling from the FDA had nothing to do with human health issues related to triclosan, nor did they indicate triclosan was unsafe or ineffective. In fact, the FDA has a rigorous procedure in place to keep tabs on new products entering the market called the New Drug Application (NDA) process. Some hand soap manufacturers did not take their triclosan products through that process. They also failed to provide enough evidence that their triclosan products were any better than washing your hands with regular soap and water. Staying on the side of caution and acting on behalf of consumers, the FDA ruled to take those hand soaps off the market.

Long before these events, Colgate took their original triclosan product (Colgate Total toothpaste) through the NDA process and gained approval for it. Colgate extensively showed that their toothpaste with triclosan was safe, effective, and improved oral health. In fact, Colgate Total received the ADA (American Dental Association) seal of acceptance — something the article from Consumer Reports encouraged readers to look for as a sign of safety. Both the FDA and the ADA approved of Colgate Total with triclosan as an ingredient.

The End Result for Toothpaste

Unfortunately, word started spreading. News articles and channels recommended consumers throw out any toothpaste with triclosan, mentioning Colgate Total specifically. Many of these reports indicated that triclosan was banned from use in hand soaps by the FDA but was still being used by Colgate in toothpaste. This led the audience to reach an inaccurate conclusion about Colgate products, and perhaps their company. Despite the incorrect conclusions, Colgate reworked the formula of Colgate Total so that neither it, nor any of their other over-the-counter toothpastes, contain triclosan.

What This Means for Oral Hygiene

If you have any questions or concerns on specific dental products, talk to us at the Placerville Dental Group. We want you to use the best products for you and your oral health, not the trendiest ones. And if we aren’t absolutely certain, we’ll research the product and promptly inform you of our findings. If you still have concerns, we encourage you to get a second opinion.


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