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What are the microbeads used in toothpaste and are they safe? An Update


Toothpaste with microbeadsFollowing the Oasis Discussions post that was published on August 13, 2014, Procter and Gamble (P&G) announced the timelines to eliminate microbeads from their toothpastes. The American Dental Association (ADA) has also issued a statement regarding the validity of its seal on products that contain these microbeads. 



What are Microbeads?

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.

Why are microbeads in the toothpaste in the first place?

Microbeads were included in some of Crest’s toothpastes based on the positive feedback from people who use these products. Dental professionals will attest that enjoyable toothpastes generally promote longer brushing time and thus healthier outcomes. Based on the understanding that preferences change, P&G have begun removing microbeads from their toothpastes, and the majority of their product volume will be microbead-free by March 2015. They will complete the removal process and all Crest products will be microbead-free by March 2016.  

Are Microbeads in All Crest Toothpastes?

No. Today, some of the most popular products do not contain microbeads including Crest Whitening + Scope, Crest Baking Soda Peroxide, Crest Cavity Protection, and Crest Tartar Protection Whitening. In those that do, we have begun removing them. In fact, the majority of the product volume will be microbead-free by March 2015. The removal process will be completed by March of 2016, well ahead of any state legislation targets.

Are they Safe?

Yes. The microbeads used in oral care applications are safe  and approved food additives. 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.  

Why are P&G removing microbeads from toothpaste?

While the ingredient in question is completely safe P&G announced that they understand the growing preference to remove this ingredient.  

Toothpastes that do NOT contain polyethylene microbeads

  • Crest Complete Whitening Plus Scope Minty Fresh Striped (available through Dental Profession)
  • Oral B Stages Kids toothpaste (available through Dental Profession)
  • Crest Complete Whitening Plus Scope Cool Peppermint
  • Crest Complete Whitening plus Scope Citrus Splash
  • Crest Complete Whitening Plus Scope Liquid Gels – all 3 variants
  • Crest Cavity Protection
  • Crest Tartar Protection Gel
  • Crest Tartar Protection Paste
  • Crest Tartar Protection Whitening
  • Crest Baking Soda & Peroxide
  • Kids’ Crest Cavity Protection


Do you have any particular question on this topic? Do you have any comments or suggestions? Email us at oasisdiscussions@cda-adc.ca

You are invited to comment on this post and provide further insights by posting in the comment box which you will find by clicking on “Post a reply” below. You are welcome to remain anonymous and your email address will not be posted.

1 Comment

  1. edwin mueller September 23, 2014

    Shame on the ADA and CDA for allowing a company to produce a product that places non biodegradable microbeads into patients periodontal pockets and furthermore into our waterways where anything downstream will ingest it! I will be advising all my staff and patients to avoid Crest products.


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