Eco tester: Almost every second toothpaste failed

Eco tester: Almost every second toothpaste failed

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“Öko-Test” tests toothpaste: Half of 400 products fail

The consumer magazine "Öko-Test" tested 400 toothpastes. Almost every second product fails. Toothpaste often lacks effective fluoride protection against tooth decay. In addition, controversial ingredients can be found in some tubes.

Brushing your teeth protects against tooth decay

Regular brushing is the most effective measure to efficiently prevent gum infections, toothache and tooth decay. Among other things, it depends on the right technology. According to dentists, shaking and painting is particularly useful. The quality of the toothpaste used is also important. But that often leaves something to be desired, as a recent test by "Öko-Test" shows. The consumer magazine has tested 400 toothpastes. Almost every second failed - they often lack effective fluoride protection against caries. Natural cosmetic products in particular disappointed in the test.

400 toothpastes tested

As "Öko-Test" reports on its website, all major own brands as well as branded products from discount and supermarkets, drugstores, pharmacies and online shops were examined in the test.

A total of 204 universal toothpastes, 36 sensitive toothpastes, 94 toothpastes for whiter teeth and 66 children's toothpastes for milk teeth and juniors were examined more closely. Among them were 65 natural cosmetic toothpastes aimed at adults.

The testers wanted to know whether controversial ingredients are in the tubes, whether sensitive toothpaste really helps with pain-sensitive teeth, how far the promised whitening effects of toothpastes have been scientifically proven and whether the providers of children's toothpastes provide sufficient information about caries protection with fluoride.

A third of the tested product can be recommended

According to the “Öko-Test”, a good third of all toothpastes can be recommended: 116 products score “very good”, 27 “good”. These toothpastes contain fluoride and no controversial ingredients.

But almost every second toothpaste in the test failed: a total of 199 products were rated "poor" or "insufficient". 58 toothpastes are "satisfactory" or "sufficient" because they have minor defects.

The individual reviews of the tested products can be viewed here free of charge.

No or too little fluoride

The main problem in the consumer magazine describes that 85 toothpastes for adults contain no or too little fluoride. There are 51 natural cosmetic products among the affected toothpastes. These were not rated as "poor".

Regular brushing of teeth with fluoride toothpaste prevents tooth decay. According to the experts, this effectiveness has been proven beyond school age.

Therefore, the German dentistry guideline clearly recommends fluoride toothpastes to adults.

There is also no risk that fluoride in toothpaste could make you sick.

Fluoride can harm, but only if you consume very high amounts at one go, "Öko-Test" explains elsewhere.

An adult weighing 70 kilograms would have to ingest at least 350 milligrams of fluoride for the first signs of poisoning: as much as is in two to three toothpaste tubes.

Even those who eat the contents of a complete standard tube (75 ml) would only swallow a maximum of 150 mg fluoride, according to the experts. So if you brush your teeth normally and then spit them out, you don't have to be afraid.

Since experts for milk teeth have so far not clearly and unambiguously recommended fluoride toothpaste, children's toothpaste without fluoride was not fundamentally devalued.

Controversial ingredients

Controversial ingredients have been identified in some tested products. Around one in four toothpaste in the test contains sodium lauryl sulfate. This forms foam that is supposed to free the teeth of food residues and dental plaque.

However, the substance is considered to be comparatively aggressive and can irritate the sensitive mucous membranes. Another problem is that 91 toothpastes tested contain polyethylene glycols and chemically related substances (PEG).

Such ingredients can make the mucous membranes more permeable to foreign substances, according to the "Öko-Test". All the more worrying that almost every sixth toothpaste tested even contained both: a PEG and sodium lauryl sulfate. These tubes therefore only achieved a "poor".

In four toothpastes tested, the testers found the bacterial killer triclosan, which is considered a possible factor in the development of antibiotic resistance.

Animal experiments have also shown that triclosan can cause intestinal inflammation and cancer.

The products concerned fail with "insufficient". These products include the Colgate Total Original toothpaste, Colgate Total plus healthy fresh toothpaste, Colgate Total plus interdental cleaning toothpaste and the Fuchs Dent-A-Xyl toothpaste.

In addition, according to the "Öko-Test", the Natuvell Dental toothpaste herbs should not be sold in the present form, since the use of an ingredient in the toothpaste (a solvent) is not permitted by law. A surveillance authority confirmed this.

Natural cosmetic toothpastes often do not offer protection against tooth decay

65 tested toothpastes for adults are certified as natural cosmetics: many of the universal toothpastes, but also some for sensitive and whiter teeth.

Fifty-one of the natural cosmetic products fail because they often contain no fluoride and therefore lack a proven protection against tooth decay.

After all, 13 fluoride-containing organic toothpastes in the test were rated "very good".

Half of the children's toothpastes are recommended

A good half of the tested children's toothpastes are recommended - including four products without fluoride. But eleven children's toothpastes for baby teeth and three junior toothpastes flop completely.

One of the most noticeable problems: the testers complain about existing information about fluoride in about half of all toothpaste tubes for milk teeth. It must be ensured that parents find clear information on fluoride-free and fluoride-containing children's toothpastes in order to avoid over- or undersupply of the children with fluoride.

In addition, every seventh children's toothpaste contains the problematic substances PEGs or sodium lauryl sulfate.

False expectations should be prevented

Brilliant white teeth with toothpaste? From the point of view of "Öko-Test" unrealistic.

The testers missed a note on a total of 75 packages to prevent false expectations. Here we do not inform you that the natural tooth color has a significant influence on the whitening result.

In addition, the providers only submitted a few studies on the effects of their products on request and these studies were not convincing.

In addition, more than half of the toothpastes for whiter teeth contain the problematic substances sodium lauryl sulfate or PEG. Therefore, a total of only 16 out of 94 products are recommended.

Sensitive toothpaste, which is aimed at people with sensitive teeth, can prevent the painful pulling when eating hot or cold food, which occurs especially with exposed tooth necks.

Almost half of the tubes tested can be recommended. Twelve fail with "poor" or "insufficient". The scores here were particularly often reduced due to the foaming agents sodium lauryl sulfate and PEGs contained.

Most toothpastes in the test also contained potassium salts, tin fluoride, hydroxyapatite or arginine for tooth pain. A soothing effect is attributed to these substances, but this has not been scientifically proven, which is why a note was deducted for this.

Tips from "Öko-Test"

Finally, the experts from "Öko-Test" have some tips for buying toothpaste:

Since the anti-tooth decay effect is well documented for toothpaste containing fluoride, adults should use it for dental care.

For natural cosmetic toothpaste, special attention should be paid to the list of ingredients. If there is no fluoride, it does not offer effective protection against caries.

Toothpaste containing sodium lauryl sulfate should be avoided.

According to the results of the current test, toothpaste that promises whiter teeth is not recommended in most cases. It often contains excessive amounts of problematic substances. The effects on the color of the teeth are hardly more extensive than with conventional toothpaste. (ad)

Author and source information

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