Many toothpastes are convincing, just as many fail
Proper dental care is the prerequisite for good dental health and in addition to the toothbrush, the selected toothpaste plays a crucial role here. The consumer magazine "Öko-Test" has examined which toothpastes are good for daily oral hygiene and which are not - with an ambivalent result. Many products were recommended as "very good", but just as many are not recommended by the testers.
We have toothpaste in our mouth every day and entrust it to our dental health. But do the products deliver what they promise? The consumer magazine "Öko-Test" has now examined 38 universal toothpastes with regard to their effectiveness in protecting against caries and possible harmful ingredients. The result makes it clear that there are considerable differences in quality between the different products. Far from every toothpaste, consumers can safely entrust their dental health.
38 toothpastes tested
For their investigation, the testers "bought 38 universal toothpastes in supermarkets and drugstores, including seven certified natural cosmetic products," reports "Öko-Test". There were already considerable differences between the products in terms of price. The most expensive product cost 6.95 euros per 100 milliliters, the cheapest, however, only 36 cents per 100 milliliters. According to the testers, the fluoride contained in the toothpastes is particularly important for caries protection. This was therefore a key evaluation criterion.
Checking the ingredients
The products must also foam sufficiently to enable good tooth cleaning, but should not contain foaming sodium lauryl sulfate, which can irritate the mucous membranes, according to the "Öko-Test" report. In addition, the testers searched for harmful ingredients such as parabens as preservatives or PEG / PEG derivatives, which can make the skin more permeable to foreign substances. In addition, they had laboratory tests to determine how much aluminum and zinc was contained in the products.
Fluoride the best protection against caries?
If a toothpaste does not contain fluoride, this means doing without the important caries protection, which is why the testers devalued it more than individual questionable or controversial ingredients, reports "Öko-Test". To prevent dental disease through hygiene, there is currently no better active ingredient than fluoride. High doses of fluoride can also lead to health problems, such as fluorosis in children. But "adults who brush their teeth twice a day don't have to worry about too much fluoride," explains the consumer magazine. However, children should not use fluoride toothpaste or only use it in very small amounts.
19 toothpastes "very good", 13 products "poor" or "insufficient"
Overall, the test field was split according to the "Öko-Test". Half of the toothpastes were rated "very good", "including two certified natural cosmetic products and a large part of the very cheap products in the test." However, on the other hand, 13 toothpastes received an "insufficient" or "poor" rating. For example, two conventional and five certified natural cosmetic products did not use fluoride, which is why they were devalued accordingly. The alternatives used are not very convincing, according to the Öko-Test.
Questionable protection against tooth decay without fluoride
According to the testers, almost all of the natural cosmetic toothpastes tested contained xylitol instead of fluoride. A sweetener that is said to have caries prophylactic effects. But so far there are "no usable studies (available) that show that a toothpaste containing xylitol without fluoride actually prevents tooth decay as effectively as fluoride-containing pastes", warns "Öko-Test". The expensive Dr. Wolff’s Biorepair toothpaste relied on artificial tooth enamel made of zinc carbonate hydroxyapatite, which is supposed to close microscopic tooth defects. An active principle, which is also not adequately proven by studies that it prevents tooth decay as well as fluoride. In addition, the expensive branded toothpaste contained the preservative propylparaben, which is said to have a hormone-like effect.
Surfactant irritates the mucous membranes
The foam when brushing your teeth is important so that leftover food and plaque can be removed more easily, but unfortunately twelve pastes use sodium lauryl sulfate for this, reports "Öko-Test". This is "an aggressive surfactant that can irritate the sensitive mucous membranes." Toothpastes containing sodium lauryl sulfate were therefore devalued by the testers.
Toothpaste with zinc unsuitable for children
Products containing zinc also received deductions in the rating if they were not declared as "unsuitable for children". Although zinc is important for health, children and adolescents are already consuming the recommended amount through food. Therefore, the Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) recommends that dental care products containing zinc are not suitable for children, reports “Öko-Test”.
Type of fluoride does not matter
In the end, the fluoride content of the toothpaste is crucial for caries protection in adults and it doesn't matter what type of fluoride is in the toothpaste, explains Dr. Jürgen Fedderwitz, practicing dentist and deputy chairman of the board of the National Association of Statutory Health Insurance Dentists (KZBV). “Whether sodium fluoride, amine fluoride or sodium monofluorophosphate - it is not critical for consumers. It is more important to use a fluoride toothpaste that you like because it is the only way to clean long enough, ”the expert is quoted by Öko-Test.
Targeted elimination of fluoride?
However, the manufacturer Laverana, for example, points out in a statement to the consumer magazine that dental care products without fluorides are also offered, since "there are sufficient studies, especially in the area of alternative treatment methods, that deal with the interaction of fluorides and enzymatic influences that can lead to autoimmune reactions or classify fluorides as toxic. “(fp)