Platform for Better Oral Health in Europe responds to the European Commission’s consideration of a potential ban of silica in cosmetic products including toothpastes

The Platform for Better Oral Health in Europe is pleased to announce the submission of our position paper on the oral health consequences of a potential ban of Synthetic Amorphous Silica (SAS) to the European Commission’s DG GROW Cosmetics Committee – which oversees the work of the Scientific Committee on Consumer Safety (SCCS).

Silica is the abrasive ingredient in more than 80% of toothpastes sold in Europe and significantly helps with the bioavailability of fluoride in toothpaste, an effective means of helping to reduce tooth decay.  Tooth decay is the most common non-communicable disease both worldwide and in Europe.

The paper emphasises the potential adverse consequences for oral health of imposing such a ban without better understanding the implications. The Platform believes this would seriously and negatively impact oral health in the EU.

The paper includes a series of conclusions on this complex issue:

  1. Although preventable, dental caries is responsible for the largest burden of all non-communicable diseases. Oral diseases are the third most expensive conditions in the European Union, following diabetes and cardiovascular diseases.
  2. Toothbrushing with effective and affordable fluoride toothpaste is responsible for the global decline in caries incidence over the last few decades, and a key public health strategy for achieving future reductions in caries.
  3. Toothpaste formulations seek to find the right balance between abrasiveness and cleaning whilst also ensuring that fluoride and other active ingredients are sufficiently bioavailable to deliver their respective benefits.
  4. Approximately 80% of effective fluoride toothpastes in the EU are currently formulated with SASand there are no readily available alternatives.
  5. Replacement of all SAS-based toothpastes by other formulations would create an unprecedented increase in tooth decay prevalence in the EU. This would not only be detrimental to the oral health of the European population but would be accompanied by an increase in the direct and indirect costs of caries.

The WHO recently published their Draft Global Strategy on Oral Health recommending policies to increase the availability and affordability of fluoride toothpaste for all people. In addition in September the WHO included fluoride toothpaste as an essential medicine in the 22nd list of World Health Organization Model List of Essential Medicines.

We are calling on the Commission to carefully consider the public health impact of a ban on SAS and secure access to affordable fluoride toothpaste for all EU citizens.

Download our publications below

  • discussion paper on the public health consequences of a potential ban of Synthetic Amorphous Silica (SAS)

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