After a rigorous amount of testing, a recent study reveals that a combination of the antibacterial agents triclosan and copolymer in toothpastes works better than fluoride.
Fluoride was added to toothpaste in 1914 to help improve the nation's dental health.
The study's findings were reported in the January/February 2010 edition of General Dentistry, the clinical journal of the Academy of General Dentistry (AGD).
Triclosan added to toothpaste is highly effective at killing the bacteria in the mouth that causes gum disease and the copolymer aids in prolonging these effects. Without the copolymer the antibacterial effects of triclosan would be short-lived.
“The best known agent is fluoride, which was added to toothpaste to prevent cavities. Triclosan added to toothpaste has been shown in a number of clinical studies to inhibit plaque and gingivitis. The copolymer helps to keep triclosan in your mouth for a longer period of time, which boosts its ability to inhibit oral bacteria,” said one of the authors of the study, Joseph J. Zamba, DDS, PhD, teaching professor at the Buffalo School of Medicine.
The study involved testing bacteria grown in the lab, as well as bacteria from the mouths of volunteers. After intensive testing it was concluded that triclosan and copolymer performed better than fluoride.
It is estimated that there are around 1,000 different types of bacteria found in the human mouth. It is the bacteria that causes cavities and gum disease, including gingivitis and periodontal disease.
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Americans visited the dentist 500 million times in 2007. The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research estimates that 80 percent of the U.S. Population has some form of periodontal gum disease.
The AGD still recommends brushing twice daily, as well as flossing daily and including a mouth rinse in your daily routine to effectively kill germs that cause gum disease.
Currently, the only toothpaste to include this triclosan and copolymer combination is Colgate Total and has been approved by the FDA and accepted by the American Dental Association (ADA).