Triclosan is an antibacterial ingredient that hit the headlines in 2016, when the FDA banned soap and body wash manufacturers in the United States from using it in their products. However, many toothpastes still contain this controversial ingredient. As a consumer, you may feel confused about triclosan in your toothpaste. Let's take a look at the risks and benefits of this ingredient to find out whether you should avoid or embrace it.
Advantages of Triclosan
Triclosan kills the harmful bacteria that cause tooth decay. As a result, many dentists claim that toothpaste with triclosan can reduce the risk of cavities and gum disease. In fact, a review of the evidence shows that triclosan-containing toothpastes reduce the amount of plaque on teeth and lower a person's risk of developing the gum condition gingivitis. If you have struggled with swollen and sore gums in the past, your dentist might recommend that you use a toothpaste with triclosan to protect your oral health in future.
Risks of Triclosan
Animal studies have linked triclosan use to thyroid problems. In these studies, animals exposed to high doses of triclosan had decreased levels of some thyroid hormones. Researchers are not sure whether triclosan has the same effect on humans. Other studies suggest a possible link between skin cancer and triclosan, although the evidence is far from conclusive.
In terms of triclosan's effect on dental health, some dentists worry that it could kill beneficial bacteria along with the harmful ones that cause gum disease. In the long run, this could leave you more vulnerable to oral health problems. More research into the effects of oral bacteria on dental health is needed to establish whether triclosan improves or endangers oral health over the long term.
Is Triclosan Necessary For Preventing Gum Disease?
Triclosan is very effective at killing bacteria, but it is not the only option for reducing your risk of gum disease and cavities. Brushing thoroughly with any toothpaste can remove bacteria from your teeth and help to keep them clean. In addition to daily brushing, dentists recommend flossing between your teeth every day to remove food particles and plaque.
Should You Avoid Triclosan in Toothpaste?
Research into the effects of triclosan ongoing, which means that dentists' opinions on this controversial chemical could change. To get the latest information on triclosan and find out whether it is an ingredient that could benefit your dental health, ask your dentist for advice.