Chemical in mouthwashes is tied to colon cancer risk
A recent study on the antimicrobial product called triclosan has researchers questioning the safety of it. Although some studies were performed before, this was the first one to use the product with about the same level of exposure that an ordinary person would receive. As a result of the study, the researchers believe that products such as triclosan mouthwash may increase the risk of getting colon cancer.
The experiment was conducted by researchers from the United States and China. They conducted it at the University of Massachusetts, and mice were used as the subjects.
The experiment used mice that were predisposed to generate cancer cells. Other mice were selected because they had no gut bacteria at all, and some were given colitis (inflammatory bowel disease) beforehand. Each mouse was exposed to the same level a human would get through using triclosan in everyday products.
The results of the experiment were rather surprising. The mice that had cancer developed tumors faster and bigger than normal. The mice with the colitis developed inflammation which made it worse and led to colon cancer that was colitis associated. The mice that had no gut bacteria showed no changes or effects at all. One thing that was especially noted was that the mice were only associated with triclosan for a short period. Some of the mice also had shortened lifespans.
The research also revealed that triclosan caused other health problems in the mice. After a mere 20 minutes of exposure to it, the mice experienced 25 percent reductions in their heart performance. Their ability to grip was reduced by 18 percent.
An ingredient in toothpaste and mouthwashes has recently been discovered that helps to produce colon cancer. The ingredient, triclosan, is used already in more than 2,000 products because of its powerful antibacterial properties. Besides mouthwashes and toothpaste, some of the other products include soap, detergents, bedding, carpeting, kitchenware, socks, and even toys.
Triclosan was first patented in 1964 and has been used in an increasingly growing number of products – more than 2,000 of them. In May 2017, the FDA banned triclosan, along with 24 other similar compounds from use in hand sanitizers and soaps. The FDA now considers it to be in a category called “not generally recognized as safe” because it believes that not enough research has been conducted on it.
The Spread of Triclosan
A major problem with triclosan is that it is being found everywhere. Not only is it widely distributed throughout the water supply of the United States, but it is also found in our bodies. It is found in breast milk, blood plasma, and as many as 75 percent of urine samples contained it, the CDC says.
The Effect on Humans
Triclosan has not yet been tested extensively on humans. Since it is now not considered to be safe, future experiments may be minimal. So far, though, there are several problems. Being that it appears to cause colitis to develop faster; this could be a serious problem because about three million Americans have ulcerative colitis. In America right now, cancer of the colon and rectum is the second leading cause of cancer deaths.
There is also a good possibility that triclosan will cause problems with weakening of the immune system. A study conducted in 2010 revealed that children exposed to higher levels were more likely to have hay fever. It may also cause birth defects and produce problems in your endocrine system.
Although triclosan will pass through the body rather quickly, it has been found that there may be some accumulation – especially with larger doses. It can be absorbed into the body through the mouth, the gastrointestinal tract, and through your skin. When applied as a deodorant, increasing amounts have been found in breast milk. It may also be a risk factor for the development of breast and ovarian cancer.
Triclosan was initially accepted by the FDA because it had value as an antiseptic. It is now being used as an antimicrobial mouthwash and toothpaste in some products. There are only a few of this type of product that contains it now, but it is still permitted because it can reduce plaque and gingivitis. Because of the recent findings, you may want to avoid triclosan by choosing products without it.
Products with Triclosan
Triclosan is currently used in the following mouthwashes and toothpastes: the Colgate Total®; Breeze™ Triclosan Mouthwash; the Reach® Antibacterial Toothbrush, and in the Janina Diamond Whitening Toothpaste. It may also be used by different brand names, including Microban® Additive B, Biofresh®, Irgasan® (DP 300 or PG 60), Lexol-300, Ster-Zac or Cloxifenolum. A similar product is called triclocarban.
Daily Care of Teeth is Important
If you are concerned about gingivitis, it can usually be controlled by brushing your teeth twice a day and flossing. You may also use an antibacterial mouthwash that does not contain triclosan. When it has progressed to periodontitis, you should see a dentist for an examination and possible treatment.
If you live in the Farmers Branch, TX you can get dental checkups and gum disease treatment from Champion Dental Clinic. To set up an appointment, you can call our office today at 214-747-0763