Crest toothpaste has recently launched a new campaign stating that they are, “100% triclosan free.” What does this mean for you? Although we don’t advocate for any specific brand of toothpaste over another, we want you to be informed about this new campaign and about the efficacy of triclosan. This ingredient is actually an antimicrobial compound that can be found in personal care products such as soaps, shampoos, deodorant and toothpastes. Its purpose in toothpaste is primarily to prevent gingivitis.
However, in more recent years, triclosan has come under scrutiny for causing an assortment of health issues. These include, but are not limited to, skin irritation, water contamination, instances of hay fever and increased food allergies, lowered levels of thyroids hormones and testosterone. In 2010, the FDA stated that, “Existing data raises valid concerns about the health effects of repetitive daily human exposure to triclosan.” The FDA announced plans to address the use of triclosan in cosmetics and other products. Whether this extends to toothpaste is unclear. A few companies and even states, have begun to pass their own legislation, not waiting for the FDA to come to a decision. Minnesota has already passed legislation that will take effect by 2017 banning products containing triclosan, Proctor & Gamble will eliminate triclosan from all of their products by the end of this year and Johnson & Johnson plans to eliminate it from their products by 2015.
Read more about triclosan in this Newsweek article.
Despite research that raises questions about triclosan in other cosmetic products, the use of triclosan in toothpaste is still supported by the FDA. In fact, after conducting a systematic review of randomized controlled trials, they found that triclosan-containing toothpastes are marginally beneficial in reduction of tooth cavities and reduce dental plaque, gingival inflammation and gingival bleeding. However, Crest toothpaste has substituted the use of triclosan for another ingredient called Stannous Fluoride and believes that consumers will receive the same gingivitis and plaque fighting benefits.
We will be following the outcome and conversation about Crest’s new campaign closely and will keep you updated on the FDA’s decision as to the use of triclosan. If you have any questions, please contact us at 239.939.5556.