Triclosan is an antibacterial and antifungal agent available in over-the-counter (OTC) medicines that aid in the prevention of oral gingivitis and plaque. Because toothpastes and gels containing triclosan help protect the mouth from bacteria that cause gingivitis and plaque, these products are considered to be medicines by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Triclosan can also be found in products that help prevent tooth decay and cavities. Some drug and cosmetic cleansing products used to remove dirt and germs from the surface of the skin contain triclosan.
Triclosan is approved by FDA and is safe and effective when used according to the Drug Facts label directions. Parents and caregivers should be aware that children under the age of 6 should not brush with an anti-gingivitis or anti-plaque product unless they are specifically instructed to do so by a dentist or a healthcare provider.
- Adults and children 6 and older should brush their teeth with an anti-gingivitis and anti-plaque paste or gel at least twice a day, or as directed by a dentist or healthcare provider.
- You should avoid swallowing anti-gingivitis and anti-plaque products.
- In addition to brushing your teeth regularly, you should also see a dentist for routine check-ups.
- You have gum bleeding or redness that lasts for more than two weeks.
- You have pain, swelling, pus, loose teeth, or increased spacing between teeth.
- You accidentally swallow too much. Immediately contact a healthcare provider or the poison control national helpline at 800.222.1222.
- Do not use an anti-gingivitis and anti-plaque product containing triclosan on a child under the age of 6, unless a healthcare provider or dentist tells you to.
- Children under the age of 12 should be supervised in order to develop good brushing and rinsing habits and to minimize product swallowing.
- Click here for more information on giving OTCs to children.