Weighing The Benefits and Risks Of Colgate’s Total Toothpaste

The New York Times asks why a chemical, triclosan, the FDA banned from soaps still exists in Colgate Total Toothpaste. http://www.nytimes.com/2016/09/07/well/live/why-your-toothpaste-has-triclosan.html?_r=0 Colgate believes the full weight of scientific evidence they’ve collected over 25 years supports Colgate Total’s safety and efficacy.

What are the benefits of this chemical ingredient? In 2013, studies showed that toothpastes with triclosan and fluoride outperformed those with only fluoride. It not only reduced plaque severity 41%, but also reduced gum inflammation and gum bleeding more than fluoride alone.

What are the risks? The FDA banned triclosan in soaps last week after experts warned that the chemical risked “scrambling hormones in children and promoting drug-resistant infections.” Proponents questioned the rigorousness of the FDA’s review.

Dr. Andrew Koenigsberg, of Gallery57Dental, weighed in on the controversy. “It is not clear what the risks of Triclosan are and in soap there is no proven benefit. In toothpaste, Triclosan has been shown to reduce gum inflammation and cavities better than fluoride alone. Patients have to decide if the possible risks, which are not known, outweigh the benefits of less gingivitis and decay. “