Skin reactions and irritation potential of four commercial toothpastes

Acta Odontol Scand. 1997 Apr;55(2):133-6. doi: 10.3109/00016359709115405.


Skin reactions to 4 toothpastes were tested in 19 healthy dental students in a double-blind study. The hypothesis was that common toothpaste brands with and without sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) and triclosan and with different additives/emulgators differ in irritation potential. An occlusion test system on human skin was used. The toothpastes tested were A) Zendium (non-ionic detergent), B) Solidox F (SLS/polyethylene glycol), C) Colgate Total (triclosan/copolymer/SLS/propylene glycol), and D) Solidox G (triclosan/zinc citrate/SLS/polyethylene glycol). Toothpaste C was the greatest irritant, causing skin erythema in 16 of the 19 subjects, whereas toothpaste D gave no reactions. Toothpaste B provoked three reactions (two severe), whereas toothpaste A caused only one mild reaction. Although this study was carried out on skin and hence not directly applicable to the oral cavity, these and previous results may indicate that a toothpaste without propylene glycol and SLS may be preferred by susceptible persons.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Controlled Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anti-Infective Agents, Local / adverse effects
  • Citrates / adverse effects
  • Dermatitis, Irritant / etiology*
  • Disease Susceptibility
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Erythema / chemically induced
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Irritants / adverse effects*
  • Male
  • Polyethylene Glycols / adverse effects
  • Skin / drug effects*
  • Skin Tests
  • Sodium Dodecyl Sulfate / adverse effects
  • Surface-Active Agents / adverse effects
  • Toothpastes / adverse effects*
  • Triclosan / adverse effects
  • Zinc Compounds / adverse effects


  • Anti-Infective Agents, Local
  • Citrates
  • Irritants
  • Surface-Active Agents
  • Toothpastes
  • Zinc Compounds
  • Sodium Dodecyl Sulfate
  • Polyethylene Glycols
  • Triclosan