Questions for Our Dentists

Should You Use Triclosan in Your Dental Products?

Answer: “I don’t recommend triclosan.”

What is Triclosan?

Triclosan is a very common antibiotic. The Food and Drug Administration says this about triclosan on it’s website:

Triclosan is an ingredient added to many consumer products to reduce or prevent bacterial contamination. It may be found in products such as clothing, kitchenware, furniture, and toys. It also may be added to antibacterial soaps and body washes, toothpastes, and some cosmetics—products regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).”

Obviously, triclosan is everywhere. It is used in clothing to help prevent body odor by reducing odor-causing bacteria. On the surfaces of various objects, it is believed to prevent the growth of bacteria. Adding it to health products, such as soaps and toothpaste, is thought to reduce bacteria in these human arenas as well. For example, in dental products, the FDA has this to say:

In 1997, FDA reviewed extensive effectiveness data on triclosan in Colgate Total toothpaste. The evidence showed that triclosan in this product was effective in preventing gingivitis.”

The FDA “does not have evidence” that triclosan is effective in its other uses at preventing bacterial growth and illness caused by bacteria.

So Why Not Use Triclosan in My Toothpaste?

Many scientists and doctors are also concerned about the overuse of antibiotics leading to resistant forms of bacteria, our dentists included. They therefore state the following:

I do believe overuse of antibacterial chemicals are leading to ‘super bugs.’  Old fashioned soap and water works, period.  When it comes to our mouth, nothing beats mechanical abrasion to remove plaque.  The involves physically scraping, wiping, brushing, etc., the film of bacteria from the surfaces of our roots and crowns of our teeth.  If done both properly and regularly, one doesn’t need antibacterial chemicals.”

Therefore, the dentists at the Placerville Dental Group do not recommend the use of triclosan on a regular basis for our patients’ dental hygiene. We do recommend brushing the teeth twice daily and flossing your teeth at least once a day. You should also regularly visit your dentist, at least every six months, to receive some professionally administered “mechanical abrasion” to remove plaque and tartar from your teeth and gums.

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If you have other questions for our Placerville dentists, please feel free to comment on this article or to write to our website via the Contact page.
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