ADA issues statement on triclosan in toothpaste

The ADA is addressing questions raised last week about the safety of triclosan, an ingredient in Colgate Total toothpaste.

Triclosan is the active ingredient in Colgate Total that fights plaque and gingivitis. Colgate Total, which has a concentration of 0.3% of the substance, is the only ADA-accepted toothpaste that contains triclosan, according to the organization.

Research review released in March by the Cochrane Collaboration found that toothpaste containing triclosan/copolymer is effective in reducing plaque, gingivitis, bleeding gums, and tooth decay.

However, a 2012 study revealed that triclosan was found to hinder muscle contractions at a cellular level (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, August 13, 2012). And a 2013 study revealed that triclosan is being found in increasing amounts in Minnesota freshwater lakes (Environmental Science and Technology January 15, 2013).

The ADA reiterated that its Council on Scientific Affairs (CSA) monitors and evaluates the safety of Colgate Total toothpaste on an ongoing basis.

"If the council's evaluation determines sufficient scientific evidence exists that an ADA Seal-Accepted product poses a health risk, the council has the authority to withdraw the Seal from that product," the ADA said. In a later addition to the statement, the ADA noted that "at this time there is no clinically relevant scientific evidence indicating that the Seal should be removed from the Colgate Total product."

The CSA will monitor and evaluate existing and new scientific information on the issue and recommended that consumers continue to follow the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommendations on the use of oral healthcare products that contain triclosan. As the statement pointed out: "The FDA's November 2013 Consumer Update states that the FDA does not have sufficient safety evidence to recommend changing consumer use of products that contain triclosan at this time."

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