The active ingredient in Colgate toothpaste has come under fire as a hormone disruptor, but Colgate maintains it’s safe to use in its toothpaste and effective in preventing and treating gingivitis and cavities.
In this post, I’ll answer questions about whether triclosan is safe as an ingredient in toothpaste and how this affects you.
Is triclosan dangerous?
The newest studies show that triclosan alters hormone regulation in animals, might contribute to the development of antibiotic-resistant germs and might harm the immune system.
Many of these studies are being challenged, however, for not using the same amount of triclosan in the study as humans are exposed to via toothpaste.
Beyond the research, recently surfaced documents are showing that the research that the FDA used to assess triclosan’s safety was actually paid for by Colgate. The FDA will now be re-evaluating the research on triclosan.
We do know that triclosan remains in your system long after you have brushed your teeth. About 75 percent of the United States population has triclosan present in their urine. It has also been found in breast milk and blood.
How can I avoid triclosan?
There are plenty of triclosan-free toothpaste options available; just check the ingredient list on the box.
Most toothpaste manufacturers list the ingredients on the box, not the tube, so you might have to head to the store to find out what’s actually in your toothpaste.
Should I avoid triclosan?
Until there’s a more definitive conclusion on the safety of triclosan, I’m not taking the risk and I recommend you don’t either.
Here’s why: the risk-reward ratio just doesn’t make sense. The purpose of triclosan is to help prevent gingivitis and cavities, but you can do this without a chemical with a proper brushing and flossing technique and regular dental checkups.
If you’re concerned about missing out on triclosan’s anti-gingivitis and anti-cavity properties, don’t be! You can prevent gum disease and cavities without chemicals:
- Floss your teeth after meals or twice per day. This is one of the most effective ways to keep your mouth healthy and prevent gum disease and cavities. Make sure you schedule regular teeth cleanings to have your teeth cleaned professionally. This is crucial because it is not possible to remove all of the plaque and tartar buildup with home brushing.
- Make sure you drink plenty of water. Drinking water will wash away any food particles that get stuck between your teeth. It also prevents excess plaque buildup between flossing and brushing.
- Incorporate probiotics to promote healthy bacteria. This will even out the ratio of good to bad bacteria in your mouth and create an environment for vibrant oral health.
- Increase the alkalinity in your mouth. Anything that makes your mouth more alkaline is always helpful as this decreases the chance for harmful bacteria to develop. Raw vegetables are great for doing this very thing.