Don’t you love it when corporations pretend to listen to criticism, act like they care about the concerns of consumers, make empty promises? Yeah, I didn’t think so.
In light of all the flak that Procter & Gamble has received in response to our previous entry about plastic in Crest toothpaste that has seen a GINORMOUS readership (thank you to all the hygienists who have been alarmed and continue to share the story!) I thought it might be fun to imagine what the company REALLY would like to say to all of us who are creating a nuisance for them.
From the desk of Dr. Smiley McHappypants, DDS VP Global, Professional and Scientific Relations Procter & Gamble 8700 S Mason Montgomery Rd Mason, OH 45040
To every primadonna dental hygienist,
Here you go again, making a big deal out of nothing. We’re not ignoring the fact that you exist this time, and apparently in our marketing efforts we should have. As an example, here’s the latest Crest TV ad that you’re complaining about:
What is your F*&#ing problem? The actress says her hygienist is awesome, right? Look, we’re agreeing with so many of you who think your dentist is an idiot because they can’t tell whether or not patients have even had their teeth cleaned yet. What’s so insulting about that? Yet over and over, we get requests to take this off the air. Not gonna happen. We have too much money invested in this product line and these advertising spots to worry about what a bunch of worthless tooth-scrapers think.
Yes, I called you a tooth scraper. That’s what we think of you. Your purpose in life is to nag and torment patients. And you whine and complain when we try to OUT YOU for who you really are! We spent more than your lifetime earnings warning consumers about your evil ways with magazine ads like this one:
Which brings us to this latest overreaction of yours. Hello? There’s plastic in EVERYTHING! What’s the problem with pretty polyethylene confetti in toothpaste? After all, if your patients swallow it, just tell them to poop. It’ll go away, like fiber. That’s our official line. Plastic is the same as dietary fiber!
When we tested our latest toothpastes, you know, the ones with the new, vibrant names? Be Adventurous? Be Inspired? Be Dynamic? We had many focus groups try the products and they loved them. No one even questioned the plastic. Granted, we didn’t actually tell the users what it was, but since none of them were crunchy granola tree-huggers we didn’t figure they would care. The brown, green, and yellow specks are an important part of the “total product experience.” We want our stakeholders to be happy, and they like the way the unique colors give the toothpaste an exciting aura. It’s all about the feeling, you know.
And those specks getting stuck under the gums? Well, honey, it’s your word against ours. We have study after study that proves that plastic doesn’t harm us. Even though the FDA doesn’t specifically approve plastic in toothpaste, it doesn’t ban it either. So there. Just deal with it until we re-tool the plastic-speck-making machine. We’re planning on replacing the plastic with a suitable alternative, that’s what we’ve told you, but it’s on our own timetable. Bottom line, you can push and push, but there is NO WAY IN THE DEPTHS OF HELL THAT WE WILL BE REMOVING ANY TOOTHPASTE FROM RETAIL SHELVES.
Now back the F*#% off. You have no idea who you are dealing with.
Sincerely, Dr. Smiley McHappypants, DDS
In reality, Procter and Gamble has not yet released an official statement about the plastic, but they have been quietly assuaging fears on an individual basis and have informed Crest representatives to state that their products are safe. As for me? I still can’t find a compelling reason to ignore polyethylene when I am still finding it in patient’s gumlines, and have now seen reports from HUNDREDS of dental hygienists who are just now “connecting the dots.”
And sometimes, well sometimes you just have to connect all the dots by melting them down into masses of brown stuff that smell like scorched Wal-Mart bags:
Love it! Have u been banned from the crest fb page yet? That’s usually the first thing “they” do when they want you to stop exposing the truth.
Not yet, Nomi. Lots of people have reposted the story and commented on it there, though, and I’ve “liked” quite a few of their comments. Probably just a matter of time.
AWESOME PIECE. Once patients are told to stop purchasing said product you can rest assured that P&G will be putting out the punchy fists to hygienists that are brave enough to tell their patients, “Don’t buy this product.”
Please do not group all hygienists. I do not bad mouth any Crest or Colgate product because the ADA seal of approval is on all the products. I do have my opinions but I leave to the patient on what toothpaste they choose to use. I always state if the product has the ADA seal it is safe. Combining ALL of the profession in your publication because of a few zealots is unreasonable. I have been in practice for over 25 years and do not go off half-cocked on any malicious “rumor” of a product. EVERY person deserves to be treated as an individual. Thank you.
Just because a product is safe doesn’t mean that it doesn’t have undesirable qualities. Take, for instance, stannous fluoride and cetylpyridinium chloride (CPC). Both of these are in Crest Pro Health products and are known to cause the staining that many hygienists report. The staining photo in the article was sent to me by a hygienist whose patient never had stain before she switched to Crest Pro Health rinse.
I’m sure that P&G would not group you as a “primadonna” and would be very happy to know that not all hygienists are concerned about minor side effects.
The comments about the fiber, the presence of plastic being part of the “total product experience” and the satisfaction of stakeholders in the article are paraphrased from actual P&G statements. You could say “taken out of context,” but hey, this was a satire article, whaddaya expect? 🙂
Correct me if I am wrong, but I think that toothpastes only receive the ADA seal of approval due to the fact that there is fluoride included in the ingredients. After that the manufacturers can place anything they want as long as it is approved by Food and Drug regulations
With all due respect, the ADA’s approval is not the be all, end all when it comes to consumer safety of dental products. I only speak for myself here, but if the ADA did their job and performed rigorous research on the newer Crest products, RDHs across the country wouldn’t be noticing the colored plastic embedded under gingivae of their patients.
I’m ust another woman expressing her concerns on a blog.
I have been using Crest & Oral-B for years. My patients are happy with the products. Usually the patient who is “never satified” is the one to be vocal about it. So I don’t really take those comments to heart.
I understand the concern and you have made some great points about products, etc. So I thank you for that, but let’s not point all the arrows at Crest. As you may know, other companies use ingredients which causes issues as well.
Burning the polyethylene, really?! Of course it will smell like plastic!
So if we light a match around some Listerine, will it not catch fire or explode?
or how about the powder contained on the inside the latex gloves we are using on our patients mouths?
Some are allergic to latex, even if it’s inhaled, it can cause some issues.
Read: “You can develop a latex allergy by inhaling latex particles. Latex products, especially gloves, shed latex particles, which can become airborne”- Mayo Clinic
Colgate Paste is know to contain sodium laural sulphatewhich which is known to cause CANCER. I DO NOT WANT CANCER!
And let us now forget about Colgate and the Triclosan battle?
The way I think of it, Crest Scientists, make a lot more money than we do. I am sure this was something they looked into already. I’m sure they are getting all their facts together and will release a statement, if they haven’t done so already. When they do, can you please post to your site, because your blog post “We heart Hygienisits, NOT!” is nothing but a rant about what they DID NOT say.
You should come up with your own paste, but remember, NO matter how GREAT it is, there will always be one stubborn person who will think otherwise.
I will patiently wait for the response from Crest, but you may want to watch what is posted. I would hate for you to get a defatmation charge from them.
Suzanne Piersak says
I visited the Crest booth at the Star of the North Minnesota dental convention and they company is going to remove the polyethylene from the toothpaste. They are not going to remove the product from the shelves because it is not a banned FDA product.
As a RDH one of our roles is to recommend products to our patients for their individual needs. Children and adults do not need to ingest ingredients that common sense would even tell us not to do. I tell my patients not to rinse out the toothpastes with sodium fluoride as they are water soluble. I would not want my patients to ingest polyethylene therefore I advise them about this knowledge. I advise them that the foamy toothpaste may feel and camouflage a good brushing job but that is the purpose of sodium laurel sulfate. I personally don’t like that but I still use toothpaste.
Regarding the stannous fluoride in toothpaste. For the above patient I would tell her to switch but stannous is a proven antimicrobial and the molecular structure of it lends itself to desensitizing. Due to the bigger molecular structure it blocks the dentin tubules. It also is an appropriate for remineralization as a fluoride. I too have found some staining just like the perlo fluoride rinses and gels that are stannous fluoride. Usually the staining is a light brown stain that easily polishes with fine polish. I will sometimes have patients alternate with a whitening toothpaste. I still really am an advocate of the ProHealth line as a choice for my periodontal patients. What is the best fluoride for each patient. Stannous…for periodontal patients.
The company is taking polyethylene out of the products. They have listened.
Trish Walraven says
Thank you Suzanne for speaking with the reps at Crest about their products. I don’t think there is a timeline for removing the plastic. The usual reply is that Crest is planning to “replace the polyethylene as soon as alternatives are qualified.” That doesn’t seem very urgent to me. Was the response you received more definitive? I sure hope so!
OMG… All manufacturers of every product are going to say what they want about their product to sell it. Right , wrong…. ? That’s up to you, the consumer to decide…. Hygienists, stop being so uptight and righteous about what you think you know. Each and every patient is different and reacts differently to each and every product. So, realize that you know very little when you’re graduate until you have practiced and learned for several more years. Then, remember to judge each situation individually.
Retired RDH, EFDA, Dental Assistant
Another great “read.” LOVE IT! Lol… I, too, have had patients with *no* history of stain return for their regular appt and now are covered with dark stain. Verdict? The only change in diet or home care was Crest Pro Health. Blue = stain. Ick.
Re-the attitude. Have lived at the receiving end of it for decades. Yep. Still exists. Probably always will.
Well done, Trish. Well done.
Lynelle DeRoo, RDH
Jill Savolt says
First off KUDOS to all of the hard work you have done on this subject matter. I too conducted the experiment. I placed a 2×2 gauze in rubbing alcohol overnight. The gauze had blood, plaque, biofilm, and blue specs on it. Everything disappeared except the blue specs. So far 100% of the patients I find blue specs in are/were Crest users. I have had several cancer survivors as patients and they were all so thankful that I informed them about this. I do have to say that I am a bit floored at a few of the comments on here. Sticking up for a company that is mindfully and purposefully putting non biodegradable plastic in toothpaste. How irresponsible! You do not need to be a hygienist of several years to realize how harmful this substance is. My city (and several others) have banned the use of this plastic long ago…it does not break down! This mindset of “the patient is happy with using it” is so wrong. It is our obligation as educated professionals (who took an oath) to inform patients about the health and condition of their mouth, and this includes what is in their products. Most patients have no idea what is in toothpaste. They dont read the box. Heck, they think loading their toothbrush full with toothpaste is correct, as opposed to a pea sized amount. It is our job as responsible hygienists to inform our patients about what is in products. After that it is up to the patient to make their own choice. And as far as defamation goes…there is no case for defamation against Crest for pointing out to patients the known plastic product that is listed on the toothpaste box. If anything Crest is the one who will have a class action lawsuit against them. Keep up the great work!!!!
simone castillo says
Thank you for informing us about this. I used to use this product but I stopped due to not being satisfy withcrest.
I am a college student writing a paper on this issue. When you said that the Crest 3D line actually contributes to surface stains and require more scraping, was that just speculation, or do you actually have access to those studies and can you share them if you do? Would be GREAT if you did have studies on this toothpaste’s efficiency, polyethylene aside. I can’t find anything online.
Thanks for making us conscious consumers!!