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A century and counting. Colgate then and now.

Date: November, 2020

Author: Mandy Dennis, RDH

What started with soaps, starches and candles has developed into a company which holds the community and the professional as high as the products itself. The commitment Colgate has demonstrated throughout the years has become evident to consumers around the world.

Colgate was started by a man named William Colgate. He started the company in the early 1800s with the idea of making soaps, starches and candles. As the company grew and evolved, more products were developed, including its first toothpaste in 1873, which was distributed in a jar. In 1896, Colgate sold its first toothpaste in a collapsible tube, called Colgate Ribbon Dental Cream. After sodium fluoride toothpaste had become available commercially, in 1968 Colgate introduced toothpaste containing sodium monofluorophosphate (MFP) and since then has expanded its oral care product range.

Colgate now has a wide range of oral care products available over-the-counter and by prescription, including fluoride products, designed to treat and care for oral diseases and conditions. Following its introduction of fluoride toothpaste with MFP, the company later introduced stannous fluoride toothpaste under the brand name Gel-Kam. The most recently introduced fluoride toothpaste from Colgate is Colgate TotalSF, a multi-benefit next-generation toothpaste with a patented advanced stannous fluoride formula. Additional fluoride products include Colgate PreviDent 5000 Plus. This prescription strength fluoride toothpaste provides extra protection when used daily by patients at increased risk for dental caries.

Colgate is not only about products. Bright Smiles Bright Futures is a global outreach program partnering with governments, schools and communities. Since this program was started in 2012, it has reached over 900 million children and their families in over 80 countries. Within the US alone, the elementary curriculum has reached more than 3.5 million children in 50 states. The educational curriculum is the cornerstone of the program, was developed by global experts in multi-cultural educational materials and is designed to help educate children of all ages on the importance of healthy teeth and gums. It can give children the power of a Bright Smile. Focusing on prevention, the program 'builds self-esteem and teaches good oral health practices in order to create lifelong habits.' Dental professionals, teachers, family members and volunteers are able to access the age-appropriate educational materials.

Many other programs have been established to better the world around us. Colgate and Terracycle have partnered together to promote recycling of many of our oral health care products. As opposed to just disposing of products and their packaging in the trash, consumers can drop these off at designated facilities or send them in using a free shipping label. The empty containers and packaging are then recycled into other products. In 2018, Colgate launched its Every Drop Counts campaign promoting water conservation. Colgate provided resources to dental professionals throughout the US to educate dental professionals and our patients. You can find more information on these programs along with many other initiatives, on the Colgate Professional website.

While Colgate has a strong heritage in oral health care, the opportunities for dental professionals to get involved throughout the world are equally admirable. A commitment to the health and well-being of people around the world continues to be evident in all aspects of the business.