What RDH's Are Talking About: Colgate SF

Colgate total: Old formula and packaging and New SF formula

Colgate total: Old formula and packaging and New SF formula

A few months ago, Colgate released a new formula for their Colgate Total toothpaste. The triclosan was pulled, sodium fluoride was added as the active ingredient, and the name was changed to Colgate Total SF.

What is Triclosan?

Triclosan has been around since the 1960s as a pesticide, but has found its way into shampoos, hand and body washes, and toothpastes in the last few decades. Colgate has been using Triclosan in their Colgate Total Toothpaste for years. It has been shown to be antibacterial and can decrease smells.

Why was it removed?

The downside with triclosan is the wide range of antibacterial effects. Because of this, some researchers are worried about overusing triclosan, creating resistant and harder to kill bacteria. Also, it could be getting into the water and affecting aquatic life.

There currently has not been any research that triclosan in your toothpaste will hurt you or be a problem in the short term. There is some early research, however, suggesting long term use may affect hormones, prompt cancer cells, and make it easier for antibiotic-resistant bacteria grow (like MRSA). Most studies are only done on cells or animals, so it’s not clear if humans will have an effect from triclosan.

 Either way- if triclosan is harmful or not- it has been pulled from Colgate’s most popular, and one of my personal favorite, toothpastes. The tricky part of the change is it has changed the flavor and the texture of the toothpaste slightly. You may have patients mention they notice a difference and, honestly, may not like the new formula, especially if they have been a long time Colgate user. Just as when Crest ProHealth was released, there were definitely some resistance to that as well. Even from me! I didn’t love the Pro Health taste, the gritty texture, or even the new flavor. However, after a few runs with the new formula, it has definitely improved over the years. I’m thinking that Colgate Total will be the same- some heartache at first from consumers, but they’ll come around with some time.

 What are your experience been with the new Colgate Total SF?

Have you had patients mention they’ve tried it or asked you questions about it?