This article first appeared on Shin Min Daily News on 17 October 2017 (Tuesday). We have reproduced (and translated) it for the information of those of you who missed it when it was published.
In a random sampling exercise done by Consumer Association of Singapore (CASE), it is found that 20 brands of toothpastes sold locally do not contain chemicals that could harm the human body. The two chemicals in question were diethylene glycol and fluoride.
CASE released a media release yesterday (16 Oct 2017), stating that due to the increasing number of oral hygiene products available in the market, they have carried out a test to check if the toothpastes sold in Singapore are safe for use.
The results indicated that out of the 20 toothpaste brands purchased from department stores, supermarkets and neighbourhood provision stores, none of them contained diethylene glycol. In addition, 16 of them contain fluoride but are within the safety limit of 0.15% as set by Health Sciences Authority (HSA).
Excessive amounts of diethylene glycol may result in renal disorders, while over ingestion of fluoride results in tooth discolouration (fluorosis), especially in children. It also increases the risk of bone fractures.
CASE also recommends that it is important to follow the instructions listed on the toothpaste when using, as well as to purchase toothpastes from reliable sources. CASE conducts sampling tests on three to four consumer products every year to ensure quality and safety standards.
There are 20 different brands of toothpastes being sampled this time, including Aquafresh, Colgate, Darlie, Sensodyne etc. These toothpastes are manufactured in Italy, Japan, Indonesia, China, India, Thailand, Vietnam etc.
Interviewed dentists advise that it is not recommended for children to use adult toothpaste, and for children who are below the age of seven, the amount of toothpaste used should be pea-sized.
Dr Tan Shuh Chern from White Dental said that the fluoride content in adult toothpaste is double of children’s toothpaste. As children do not know how to spit properly, they may end up ingesting toothpaste, hence it is not recommended for children to use adult toothpaste.
Dr Neo Tee Khin, Dental Specialist in Prosthodontics, from Specialist Dental Group recommends that children who are younger than three years old should brush using a “smear” of toothpaste, no larger than the size of a grain of rice. While children between the ages of three to seven can increase the amount of toothpaste to a pea-sized portion instead.
Dr Neo also shares that other than brushing two times a day, for at least two minutes each. It is recommended that parents bring their children to the Paedodontist/dentist for their six-monthly check-up regularly. That will help to ensure that any dental issues are detected and treated early.