BBB National Programs Archive

NAD Determines Colgate-Palmolive can Support ‘4x Better’ Claim for Enamel Health Mineral Repair Toothpaste

New York, NY – Nov. 18, 2016 – The National Advertising Division has determined that Colgate-Palmolive Company can support a challenged express claim for the company’s Enamel Health Mineral Repair (EHMR) toothpaste.

NAD is an investigative unit of the advertising industry’s system of self-regulation. As part of its routine monitoring program, NAD requested substantiation for the following claim:

  • “Strengthens weakened enamel 4x better by replenishing it with vital minerals*.”

                         “*vs. ordinary fluoride toothpaste after 3 applications in an in situ study.”

In response to NAD’s inquiry, the advertiser provided an explanation of the mechanism by which the advertiser contends its product provides improved enamel protection, noting that the specific combination of ingredients in the formulation is particularly effective at neutralizing food acid, leading to an enhanced enamel strength benefit.

The advertiser also provided the results of product testing.

Following its review, NAD was persuaded that an in situ study was an appropriate test method to use to support a tooth-enamel strength claim, particularly since true in vivo testing would require the unethical deliberate degradation of subjects’ tooth enamel.

NAD noted that the study used a generally accepted measurement of tooth enamel strength and used a double-blind, cross-over model that accounted for and helped to prevent the impact of any potential bias. Further, the in situ method allowed the study to measure how the tested toothpastes would interact with enamel within the environment of the human mouth. Its study results found a greater than 4x improvement in enamel surface hardness in samples brushed with EHMR as compared to those brushed with standard fluoride toothpaste.  NAD determined that the results were statistically significant and consumer relevant. While NAD questioned certain elements of the methodology, including potential inconsistencies with the subjects’ brushing schedule, it did not find that the inconsistency constituted a fatal flaw and determined that the advertiser provided a reasonable basis for its express claim that its EHMR toothpaste, “strengthens weakened enamel 4X better by replenishing it with vital minerals.”

NAD recommended that the advertiser modify its advertising to more clearly and conspicuously inform consumers that it is comparing ordinary fluoride toothpaste and not competing “enamel health” toothpastes. NAD also recommended that the advertiser discontinue a visual that conveyed a broader enamel strengthening message than was supported by the evidence in the record.

Colgate-Palmolive, in its advertiser’s statement, said the company “agrees to comply” with NAD’s recommendations.

Note: A recommendation by NAD to modify or discontinue a claim is not a finding of wrongdoing and an advertiser’s voluntary discontinuance or modification of claims should not be construed as an admission of impropriety. It is the policy of NAD not to endorse any company, product, or service. Decisions finding that advertising claims have been substantiated should not be construed as endorsements.