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Tips on the Review of Advertising Related to Toothpaste Products

Toothpaste is a daily essential personal care product with various efficacy claims. Some toothpaste products claim false efficacy with the words like "anti-helicobacter pylori" and "teeth regeneration". In order to standardize the advertising and promotion of toothpaste products, under the guidance of the Shanghai Municipal Bureau of Market Supervision, in accordance with the Advertisement Law of the People’s Republic of China, the Cosmetics Supervision and Administration Regulations (CSAR), the national standards as well as industry standards for toothpaste, the following advertising review tips are proposed for toothpaste advertisements:

Ⅰ. Toothpaste advertisements shall be truthful, legal and not claim medical functions

1. According to Article 17 of the Advertisement Law, all advertisements related to the function of disease treatment are prohibited except for advertisements for medical treatment, medicines, and medical devices. Toothpaste is subject to management with reference to the provisions of general cosmetics in accordance with the Cosmetics Supervision and Administration Regulations (CSAR). Whether general toothpastes or toothpastes with special efficacy, they are not drugs and cannot be used as a substitute for drugs to treat diseases. The disease names and medical terms such as "detoxification and detumescence", "promoting blood circulation and removing stasis", "inhibiting ulcer", "relieving periodontitis", "inhibiting inflammation", "anti-inflammatory", "clearing inflammation and relieving pain", etc. shall not be used so as to avoid misleading the consumers that the product has medical effects.

2. Toothpaste advertisements shall not claim efficacy that lacks scientific basis such as "anti-Helicobacter pylori". Currently, there is no evidence that brushing with toothpaste can affect Helicobacter pylori in the stomach. Toothpaste advertisements shall not use explicit or implicit words such as "anti-Helicobacter pylori", "eliminating Helicobacter pylori", "inhibiting HP", or "reducing the positive rate of infection".

3. Toothpaste advertisements shall not promote the content without a scientific basis, such as "promoting tooth growth" and "filling tooth holes". There is no scientific evidence that brushing with toothpaste can influence the eruption of deciduous teeth, or promote the regeneration of permanent teeth after their loss. Meanwhile, when tooth decay (cavity) occurs, it cannot be regenerated. Brushing teeth with fluoride toothpaste can only enhance the ability of anti-cavity, but cannot reverse the process of caries. Toothpaste advertisements shall not use the contents such as "promoting the growth of children's teeth", "repairing cavities", "narrowing gaps among teeth", "stabilizing loose teeth", and "regenerating teeth", etc.

Ⅱ. Toothpaste advertisements claiming special efficacy shall be supported by corresponding efficacy evaluation reports

1. The basic functions of toothpaste include cleaning the mouth, lightening teeth stains, reducing tartar, whitening teeth, reducing plaque, freshening breath, refreshing taste, maintaining healthy teeth and periodontal tissues (including gums), and maintaining oral health. Functional toothpaste refers to toothpaste with adding functional ingredients, which not only has the basic function of toothpaste, but also assists in preventing or alleviating certain oral problems and promoting oral health. The efficacy of functional toothpaste mainly includes: anti-caries, inhibiting plaque, anti-dental hypersensitiveness, alleviating gum problems, removing teeth stains and whitening, anti-calculus, reducing bad breath, and other effects verified for improving oral problems.

2. The efficacy claims of functional toothpaste shall be supported by corresponding efficacy evaluation reports. The verification of above efficacy shall be verified in a qualified institution in accordance with the QB/T2966 "Functional Toothpaste" standard, the qualifications are as follows:

  • Class 3 A-level oral medical institutions with the qualification of "Drug Clinical Trial Institution" (including the stomatology medical schools, stomatological hospitals, and stomatology department of general hospitals). For the stomatology department of the general hospital, it must have obtained the stomatology qualification certificate of a "Drug Clinical Trial Institution";

  • Stomatology medical schools or stomatological hospitals with key clinical specialties (stomatology);

  • Provincial stomatological hospitals (the person in charge of the project has obtained the GCP certificate).

Laboratory evaluation reports can also be issued by qualified national or provincial third-party laboratory institutions.

3. Toothpaste advertisements that promote "whitening teeth", "stain removal and whitening" and other functions that are only for exogenous coloring, shall be clearly indicated. What’s more, PS and other technologies shall not be used to falsely demonstrate the effects before and after use.

Ⅲ. Advertisements for non-toothpaste products shall not be promoted as toothpaste. Products such as "oral antibacterial cream" and "cool compress gel" shall not be promoted as "toothpaste" in advertisements to mislead consumers. If "cool compress gel" is a medical device product, its advertisements shall be released in strict accordance with the standards related to review and approval of the medical device advertisement, and they shall not be released without review or not change the approved content without authorization.

The Shanghai Advertising Association reminds advertisers that when undertaking toothpaste product advertisements, they should check the relevant test reports and the advertising content to ensure that the efficacy claims are supported by corresponding efficacy evaluation reports and the content is true and legal. In addition, toothpaste producers and operators are also reminded to strictly abide by laws and regulations, and not to make false and misleading promotion of toothpaste products. It also reminds consumers not to believe in the publicity stunt of profiteers, and earnestly safeguard their legitimate rights and interests.

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