Counterfeit Toothbrushes? You’ve heard of counterfeit DVDs and handbags, but toothbrushes? Believe it or not, brand name toothbrushes are a hot commodity, and some unethical business people are trying to bank on naive consumers. So be careful what you buy and what you use for your dental health.
In February, grocery stores and pharmacies across Ottawa were surprised to find their suppliers had been conned into buying massive shipments of fake Colgate toothbrushes, and they were supplied to the stores to be bought by general public . The brushes that were affected include the Colgate Massager, Colgate Navigator, Oral B Classic 40, Oral B Contura and Colgate 360. These toothbrushes were not made by Colgate! Canadian health officials have released the following statement: “If an imitation is suspected, consumers should stop using them immediately, as the quality, safety and effectiveness of counterfeit products cannot be assured.”
It is true that most of the burden to check for false brushes is on the back of the retailer, but it is still important to be vigilant about your toothbrush – only buy from reputable dealers (like big chain grocery stores) and if your brush looks suspicious – jagged packaging, poorly printed logos or something similar, take it back to the store from whence it came. A counterfeit toothbrush is not made to the same quality control standards as true brand-name brushes: counterfeit brushes (which usually originate in China) have been known to have bristles which fall out quickly, leading to throat irritation and, in a more extreme case, a possible choking hazard for young mouths. A toothbrush’s quality can be measured by specific features such as a well designed handle and thorough rows of columns of properly spaced tufts of end-rounded bristles.
Genuine Colgate toothbrushes will have instructions and labeling printed in English and French only, and should say “Distr. by/par: Colgate-Palmolive Canada Inc” on the packaging. In addition, the Colgate logo should be embossed into the toothbrush handle itself, just under the brush head. These counterfeit brushes have not been detected in the United States as of yet, but due to the globalization of most large corporate supply chains (including those of Proctor & Gamble, the parent company of Colgate), these brushes could easily find their way into American grocery stores and convenience shops. Be vigilant about your toothbrush purchases to ensure you are using a high quality brush – you can only clean your mouth properly with the proper tools, and a genuine toothbrush is an important one!