The U.S. Food and Drug Administration may recall toothpaste if it is found to contain unapproved, toxic or illegal ingredients. In addition, toothpaste makers can voluntarily recall their products if they are unpopular or unsuccessful.
In 2008, the FDA recalled toothpaste made in China after it was discovered to contain a toxic substance related to antifreeze. The substance, diethylene glycol, is not permitted in toothpaste in the United States.
In some cases, changing standards of consumer safety and scientific advances may cause product recalls. The FDA's website notes, in an entry dated 2013, that an accepted antibacterial ingredient in toothpaste called triclosan is worthy of ongoing research and regulatory review. The FDA notes that knowledge about antibiotic resistance due to antibiotic overuse is emerging, and while animal studies indicate more research is needed, there is not enough known about triclosan to merit a recall.
In another case, Crest brand toothpaste will cease in 2015 to contain microbeads due to consumers' and dentists' concerns. The microbeads, made of plastic, are intended to scrub the teeth. Instead, the accumulated beads attract bacteria and lead to gum disease, according to Foodworldnews.com. This is a case of a voluntary recall, in which the product is legal and approved, but consumer concern sways the manufacturer.