Colgate's Optic White fails to deeply whiten teeth, suit claims

By Melissa Busch, DrBicuspid.com assistant editor

October 18, 2019 -- A Nevada woman has filed a class-action suit against Colgate-Palmolive, claiming that Colgate's Optic White toothpaste is based on "false hope" because it fails to naturally, deeply whiten teeth as advertised.

Sharon Willis filed the lawsuit, stating that she used the toothpaste as directed, but it failed to deeply whiten her teeth or remove any intrinsic stains as the product claims. She alleges the company has misrepresented its Optic White toothpaste since October 2013.

The suit was filed against Colgate-Palmolive on October 3 in U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, accusing Colgate-Palmolive of breaching express warranty and violations of the Consumers Legal Remedies Act, False Advertising Law, and Unfair Competition Law.

Willis, who was living in California when she purchased the toothpaste, said she relied on the marketing claims that the product would whiten her teeth, but she said the product didn't work as promised. She claims she was financially injured by Colgate-Palmolive because she would not have spent so much on the product or wouldn't have bought it at all if not for those claims.

The suit states that the company uses slogans such as "deeply whitens more than 3 shades" for its Optic White Platinum toothpaste and that Optic White "goes beyond surface stain removal to deeply whiten" teeth.

The toothpaste does not contain enough hydrogen peroxide to deeply whiten teeth as it claims, according to the suit. It contains 1% hydrogen peroxide, which allegedly doesn't go beyond removing surface stains, and it also doesn't have enough contact with teeth to make a difference.

The suit cites a statement that Colgate's current chief dental officer and former vice president for clinical research, William DeVizio, DMD, made to support this claim.

The suit states that Dr. DeVizio said, "Toothpastes with hydrogen peroxide for whitening don't really help much. Because the toothpaste gets all over your mouth, including your gums, and because you might swallow some, the amount of hydrogen peroxide is small. In addition, you probably won't brush long enough for the hydrogen peroxide to have much of an effect."

Furthermore, the suit claims that dentists agree that hydrogen peroxide in toothpaste doesn't work to remove deep stains. Willis also cites other experts in the suit, stating that adequate whitening "requires you to hold the peroxide up against the tooth for several hours or more."


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