Big news. The FDA has issued a ruling that consumer hand washes cannot market triclosan and other antibacterial agents in soaps because manufacturers cannot prove that those agents make their soaps more effective than regular soap and water. Furthermore, manufacturers cannot prove their safety with daily use.

Scientists and informed consumers have long been aware that the anti-bacterial craze has actually been detrimental. Instead of creating creating a germ-free bubble, we have only helped develop superbugs that are resistant to current antibiotics.

I have long been a believer of good old soap and water in my household. We don’t really need to kill all those germs picked up from playgrounds and public restrooms–just wash them off your hands.

But what about the dental office?  We use antibacterial hand washes and lotions every single day. Before we put our gloves on to see a new patient, we clean our hands to avoid cross contamination. The FDA’s ruling does not pertain to health care settings, but we are people, too, and our actions affect our community.

The hand sanitizer that we use in the office (patient and clinical areas)–MoistSure Liquid Sanitizer–does not contain triclosan or similar agents. It’s effective ingredient is 63% isopropyl alcohol.

As for dental products, we are aware that only one major toothpaste uses triclosan in its ingredient:  Colgate Total.  This is not a toothpaste that we have ever used in our office or given out as a sample.

For myself, my family, and my patients, I have the same philosophy of the germs in your mouth as the germs on your hands:  clean well and rinse. For your mouth, cleaning well is brushing for two minutes twice a day and using something to clean between your teeth, like dental floss, a WaterPik, or SoftPiks.

Have a great weekend.