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Tony Volpe

It is with deep sadness that we inform you of the passing of Dr. Tony Volpe.

Colgate-Palmolive shares a message celebrating his extraordinary life.


Tony retired from Colgate in 2013 as Vice President of Scientific Affairs after 52 years of distinguished service. During his extraordinary Colgate career, Tony personified our commitment to improving oral health, to developing products with scientific excellence and to establishing our leadership among dental professionals. He was also deeply committed to building partnerships between Colgate and academia. 

Considered one of the world’s leading experts on clinical dental research and preventive dentistry, Tony published more than 200 papers in major international scientific journals. He was also an accomplished practitioner, dental educator, industry leader and volunteer for philanthropic endeavors. He has also worked on the international level in the dental industry with government bodies and regulatory agencies as well. He holds several U.S. patents in dental science.

Tony began his career at Colgate's Jersey City facility in 1960. There he established Colgate's first dental clinic with an emphasis on the evaluation of the efficacy of Colgate Anti-Tartar Toothpastes. During this time he created the Volpe-Manhold Calculus Scoring Index, a "gold standard" for evaluating Anti-Tartar products. In 1962, Tony designed Colgate's second dental research clinic in Piscataway, New Jersey. He also led the documentation of the anticaries efficacy of Colgate's Anticavity Toothpaste, which included clinical research programs at international locations. In 1967, this research led to Acceptance by the American Dental Association and Approval by the U.S. FDA. 

In 1985, Tony was promoted to Director, Clinical Investigations and was responsible for documenting the clinical efficacy of Colgate Total, the world’s first multi-benefit toothpaste. With the invaluable assistance of an exceptional clinical research team, the efficacy of Colgate Total Toothpaste was established to the satisfaction of both the ADA and FDA and became a global leader in oral care products. 

After his retirement, Tony frequently visited the Technology Campus in Piscataway to mentor young scientists, spend time with his Colgate family, help teams working on difficult clinical protocols and meet with key opinion leaders. 


Throughout his career, Tony conducted clinical research programs across the globe, establishing Colgate as a major force for innovation within all the major global dental professional organizations. He established a Dental Health Unit at the University of Manchester, working to develop new methods of clinical investigation.

In addition to his pioneering work on the measurement of tartar, Tony played a leadership role in the development of other novel measurement procedures and had led breakthrough clinical research on plaque/gingivitis control. He received many prestigious dental awards; most recently in 2017 the International Association for Dental Research (IADR) presented Dr. Volpe with the IADR Distinguished Scientist Award in Pharmacology/Therapeutics/Toxicology Research. In 2014, the ADA Foundation’s research center was formally dedicated as the Dr. Anthony Volpe Research Center, to honor Tony. 

Tony was an integral part of our global community and he embodied our culture and values. He is warmly remembered by his colleagues as an advocate, a tireless mentor and generous coach who always left things better than he found them. His commitment to education and to inspiring the next generation of dental researchers have made a lasting impact on all of us and on the dental community. 

Tony was predeceased by his beloved wife Marlene. Memorial donations can be made in Tony's name to the Rutgers School of Dental Medicine.