Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Aquafresh, Senosdyne, Macleans - are these toothpastes gluten free?

There have been queries on one of the Facebook groups I belong to about whether toothpaste like Sensodyne are gluten free.  I use Sensodyne without any problems so I think this is fine, but what would the manufacturer say?

I checked their website.  There is no information available.  I wrote to the company - and got a very odd reply back.

"Thank you for your e-mail, and please accept our apologies for the delay in responding.

To the best of our knowledge, our Aquafresh, Macleans and Sensodyne toothpaste ranges are free from gluten.

Kind regards
Medical & Consumer Affairs Department
GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare UK"

so I wrote to them again - "to the best of our knowledge" seemed like a very strange sentence from a company that makes many complex chemical products.  Was it just that that is what the consumer affairs person thought?  Was there any rigour to this 'best knowledge'?  I wrote again

thanks for yor reply - but that is an odd way to put it.  Is there anyone in your organisation that knows? 

This time I got an answer from a different part of the organisation:

"Hi Lois,

Thank you for your further email.

By saying to the best of our knowledge, what we mean is that whilst gluten is not an ingredient in the products, we cannot 100% guarantee that before the raw materials reach our factories, that they have not been in contact with gluten. Although this is extremely unlikely, we are unable to confirm this 100% as we, GSK, are not able to observe this part of the process.

Sorry we cannot be more helpful on this occasion.

Kind regards
Medical Affairs Department
GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare UK
0208 047 2500"

This is a much more sensible answer.  I am pleased they replied, and I will take this to mean that these toothpastes are safe for people with gluten intolerance.  I know some coeliac support organisations think it isn't important what is in toiletries and cosmetics as they say you don't eat them, but if even a kiss from someone who has eaten gluten can cause extreme effects in some people then it makes sense to avoid all possible form of contamination.

Quite a few companies never reply at all, so thanks to GlaxoSmithKline for their responses.


  1. I find it very interesting how companies respond to gluten-related queries. Did you get the sense that they'd not been asked this before?

  2. I like the above thought and I am glad to be the part of it.Thanks for sharing it!!
    aquafresh toothpaste


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