For decades the Food and Drug Administration has been in charge of approving dental care products categorized as medical instruments. The government agency has a long history of approving dental care products such as fluoride, toothbrushes and dental X-rays and is in charge of regulating dental treatments such as dental braces, professional grade tooth whitening, cosmetic dentistry and materials used in dental fillings to treat cavities. The agency has just released new warnings about some products currently on the market.
Practicing daily oral hygiene is an essential part of dental care and the consumer marketplace is filled with countless options up for the job. In order to streamline the process, many individuals only shop for dental care tools including toothbrushes and toothpastes featuring the FDA seal of approval. Even after a product has been approved and is on sale, the FDA keeps a watchful eye on consumer complaints to see if any warning, recalls or retractions of their approval are in order. Here are some recommendations issued by the agency.
One electric toothbrush has just received an official warning from the organization. As it turns out, the Arm & Hammer Spinbrush (AKA Crest Spinbrush before 2009) is one dental care device that should be swapped out for a conventional toothbrush as there have multiple reports of how various toothbrush parts have been popping off during use chipping teeth, presenting a choking hazard and causing eye and facial injury.
In general, electric toothbrushes are considered to be effective devices for removing dental plaque and promoting dental health. The devices were first created as a tool to allow individuals with special needs the ability to brush their teeth with ease. Over time, the devices went mainstream and there are dozens of choices, however this particular Spinbrush should not be one of them.
According to the FDA, the problem has stemmed from the fact that adult versions of the toothbrushes have had the head come off while brushing. "In some cases, the brush head popped off to expose metal pieces underneath that can—and have—poked individuals in the cheek and areas near the eyes, causing injuries," (http://www.fda.gov/ForConsumers/ConsumerUpdates/ucm291790.htm).
While the children's brushes are designed so the head stays in place and are adorned with characters such as Spiderman and Thomas and Friends "Problems with the Spinbrush for Kids have also been reported, such as cut lips, burns from the batteries, and bristles falling off and lodging in a child’s tonsils," (www.fda.gov/ForConsumers/ConsumerUpdates/ucm291790.htm).
Crest Pro-Health mouthwash has been promoted as being a complete mouth rinse for several years. According to the product website there are a total of six benefits to using this particular brand of mouthwash. However, since that particular product has hit the shelves with their FDA Seal of Approval, the product has caused a slew of consumer complaints such as tooth discoloration and suppressing the ability of taste buds and the tongue from doing their job.
When the product first hit shelves, May people were encourage as the mouthwash is alcohol free. 1-800-DENTIST has stated "Unfortunately, alcohol-containing mouth rinses can cause a burning sensation for some patients," and have suggested that alcohol mouthwashes may cause more harm than good as they can dry out a mouth and trigger dental problems including bad breath and tooth decay. Compared to the problems caused by the mouthwash, those issues seem miniscule.
The most recent complaint about the product was posted on consumer website, Consumerist.com. One person submitted a formal complaint to the organization as their mother no longer could taste and enjoy her food. When they researched that specific product online the found thousands complaints regarding the products tooth-staining abilities (http://consumerist.com/2012/02/crest-pro-health-mouthwash-still-taking-out-tastebuds.html). As a result, the watchdog group suggested submitting a formal complaint directly to the FDA (http://www.fda.gov/Safety/ReportaProblem/ucm059044.htm).
Crest is not the only dental care product manufacturer being watched by the FDA. In 2010, the FDA sent a warning letter to several mouthwash manufactures in response to a series of advertisements making false claims in regards to the rinses ability to fight dental plaque and gum disease. Johnson and Johnson, Walgreens and CVS were all cited for there erroneously claims and the FDA called them out for not conducting the necessary research and science to prove their claim.
Individuals concerned that their FDA approved product may not be the best option can begin the process by searching out any negative information on the Internet. Then, a face-to-face conversation with a dentist will not only reveal the truth about the products, but can also expose patients to options that are better. Those in need of a dentist simply have to call 1-800-DENTIST, 24/7 to get the name of a great, local dentist up to the task.