Claim: Crest 3D White brands of toothpaste can embed plastic balls in users' gums.
Example: [Collected via Facebook, April 2014]
Origins: The Crest 3D White tooth whitening line is a collection of Crest brand oral care products (encompassing toothpaste, toothbrushes, rinse, and whitestrips) advertised as producing whiter teeth and a "whiter smile":
Incorporate the entire 3D White collection into your daily routine for a standout smile all year long. Every time you flash your brilliant
Crest and Oral-B offer the transformative power of a
Crest White Vivid ranked 17th in terms of cleaning but was the fourth-most abrasive. Anything with an RDA (relative dentin abrasion) score above 100 is generally considered highly abrasive, and anything above 150 is considered potentially damaging to enamel. Crest White Vivid scored above 200.
Immediately upon using this toothpaste the act of brushing pushed the blue crystals under my gums. I am trying to massage them out — flossing only pushes them higher. If I can't get them out on my own — will try a toothpick next — will have to go to the dentist and see if he can get them out. I threw out an almost new container out today.
After using this for a few weeks, I started noticing little dark spots on a my gums in a few places. I was concerned so I went to the dentist. Turns out the little blue crystal beads from the toothpaste had gotten lodged under my gums in a few places! He was able to get them all out (some took work and others came out easily — overall not a fun experience). He advised me to throw the toothpaste out immediately and said if they had remained there, they could have caused an infection and possibly chronic Gingivitis.
Dental hygienist Trish Walraven also wrote on the DentalBuzz web site that:
I am not saying that polyethylene is causing gum problems. I'd be jumping too soon to that conclusion without scientific proof. But what I am saying definitively is that plastic is in your toothpaste, and that some of it is left behind even after you're finished brushing and rinsing with it.
P&G and other toothpaste manufacturers use limited amounts of small colored polyethylene specs in some toothpastes. Polyethylene beads are commonly used as scrub beads (e.g., in exfoliating products) but are also sometimes used to give color, like in chewing gum and toothpaste.
There is no evidence from clinical studies or from on-going monitoring to indicate that these particles persist underneath the gumline or cause harm. We've already begun the process of identifying alternatives for use in our toothpaste and the PE specks will be replaced as soon as alternatives are qualified. In addition, we have decided not to introduce microplastic beads into any new product category.
Still, getting rid of surface stains can really brighten a smile, and Mayher says whitening toothpastes can be worth a try as long as a user doesn't expect miracles. If a person has his or her teeth bleached, whitening toothpastes can help keep the teeth from turning yellow again, he adds.
But Mayher also warns of potential problems. Over time, he says, an abrasive toothpaste could wear away the outer layer of enamel on a tooth, exposing the yellowish dentin beneath. "You could actually end up making your teeth look less white." Plus, the abrasives in whitening toothpastes can be painful for some people, so those with sensitive teeth should be careful, he adds.
A: Microbeads, also known as polyethylene, are commonly used as scrubbing beads in exfoliating products and are also used to impart color, like in chewing gum and toothpaste.
Q: Is it Safe?
A: Yes. The polyethylene microbeads used in Oral Care applications are safe. Polyethylene is an FDA-approved food additive. Years of clinical research show no evidence of particles persisting underneath the gumline or causing harm. The microbeads are an inactive ingredient and not associated with any health risk. As affirmed by the American Dental Association, clinically relevant dental health studies do not indicate that the ADA Seal should be removed from toothpastes that contain polyethylene microbeads. Products with the ADA Seal have been independently evaluated for safety and effectiveness by the ADA Council on Scientific Affairs.
Q: Why are Microbeads in the toothpaste in the first place?
A: We included these beads in some of Crest’s toothpastes based on the positive feedback from people who use our products. Dental professionals will attest that enjoyable toothpastes generally promote longer brushing time and thus healthier outcomes. We do understand that preferences change, so we have begun removing microbeads from our toothpastes, and the majority of our product volume will be microbead-free by March 2015. We will complete our removal process and all Crest products will be microbead-free by March 2016. We currently have products without microbeads for those who would prefer them immediately.
Q: Are Microbeads in All Crest Toothpastes?
No. Today, some of our most popular products do not contain microbeads including Crest Whitening + Scope, Crest Baking Soda Peroxide, Crest Extra Whitening, Crest Cavity, and Crest Tartar + Whitening. In those that do, we have begun removing them. In fact, the majority of our product volume will be microbead-free by March 2015. We will complete our removal process by March of 2016, well ahead of any state legislation targets.
Q: Why are you removing it from toothpaste?
A: While the ingredient in question is completely safe, approved for use in foods by the FDA and part of an enjoyable brushing experience for millions of consumers with no issues, we understand there is a growing preference for us to remove this ingredient. So we will. Crest will continue to provide consumers with effective and enjoyable products which are designed to their preferences.
|Crest Toothpaste Embeds Plastic in Our Gums (DentalBuzz)|
Woolston, Chris. "Are Whitening Toothpastes a Bright Idea?" Los Angeles Times. 4 July 2011.