Triclosan Debate

Recently I was looking at my daughter’s natural toothpaste, reading the ingredients I wondered what exactly was natural about it! So when the news started to report about Triclosan in Colgate Total toothpaste, already having an interest in toothpaste ingredients, I looked at the pros and cons of Triclosan.

Colgate Total is the only toothpaste in the US approved to contain Triclosan and the only toothpaste specially recommended to prevent diabetes-related gum disease. People with diabetes have a higher than normal risk of periodontal diseases. Periodontal diseases are infections of the gum and bone that hold the teeth in place. In advanced stages, they lead to painful chewing problems and even tooth loss. Like any infection, gum disease can make it hard to keep your blood sugar under control. Colgate’s website says Colgate Total actually helps improve your gum health in only 4 weeks.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration said in 1974 that it would determine whether triclosan, an antibacterial agent used in many personal care products, would be considered safe and effective in hand soaps. Since then, as products have hit the market, the agency has said there isn’t enough information to make the ruling. Colgate Total was approved by FDA in 1997 on the fourth application. Antibacterial products have been shown to be effective at killing microorganisms in hospitals and other healthcare settings, and toothpaste with triclosan may help people with the gum disease gingivitis.

Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton has recently signed a bill banning triclosan-containing products in the state to go into effect January 1st 2017. “In order to prevent the spread of infectious disease and avoidable infections and to promote best practices in sanitation, no person shall offer for retail sale in Minnesota any cleaning product that contains triclosan and is used by consumers for sanitizing or hand and body cleansing,” the law says.

More news reports are appearing linking Triclosan and cancer cell growth. Its effects on humans are unknown, but numerous studies have shown that it can act as an endocrine disruptor in animals. And new findings discussed this week at the American Chemical Society annual meeting provide preliminary evidence that it might cause endocrine disruption in fetuses.

From the FDA:

Animal studies have shown that triclosan alters hormone regulation. However, data showing effects in animals don’t always predict effects in humans. Other studies in bacteria have raised the possibility that triclosan contributes to making bacteria resistant to antibiotics.
In light of these studies, FDA is engaged in an ongoing scientific and regulatory review of this ingredient. FDA does not have sufficient safety evidence to recommend changing consumer use of products that contain triclosan The FDA has committed to making a final decision about the conditions for triclosan’s inclusion in products by 2016.

From Colgate website :

Colgate Total users can be fully confident in its safety. It is the most extensively tested and reviewed toothpaste in the world, with more published, peer-reviewed clinical studies than any other toothpaste. The safety of Colgate Total has been reviewed by the U.S. FDA and regulatory authorities in Europe, Canada and Australia, all of which have approved triclosan as a safe ingredient in Colgate Total. In addition, the American Dental Association (ADA) recently reaffirmed its acceptance of Colgate Total for its Seal, noting that “there is no clinically relevant scientific evidence indicating that the Seal should be removed from the Colgate Total product.”

It will be interesting to see the decision the FDA makes in 2016. In the meantime I can recommend good oral hygiene and regular visits to your dentist!

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