The consumer magazine Öko-Test has tested 38 kinds of toothpaste, including 7 natural cosmetic products, for their effectiveness and their ingredients. The Branded toothpaste and their declarations were subjected to an analysis in pollutant laboratories. The cheap toothpaste from the discounter performed surprisingly well in the test.
Toothpaste was tested in a price range of 36 cents to 6.95 euros for 100 milliliters. The result of the analysis resulted in a bipartite picture. Of the 38 kinds of toothpaste, the consumer magazine 19 was able to rate the rating “very good”. The winners included all discounted discount creams and private labels of the drugstore and supermarket chains, but only two of the natural cosmetic products: the organic mint toothpaste from Alterra (Rossmann) and Alverde 5 in 1 Nanaminze (Dm). Even with toothpaste, a higher price does not necessarily mean better quality.
There Were Minus Points For These Toothpastes
13 kinds of toothpaste received the grade “poor” or even “insufficient” from Öko-Test. Among them were well-known brand products such as Odol-Med3 and Aronal, both of which were rated “insufficient”. Also Lacalut active, signal caries protection, the toothpaste concentrate Ajona Stomaticum and Dr. med. Wolff’s repair failed with the worst test score.
The following points led to a devaluation of the product in the test:
- the use of sodium lauryl sulfate,
- the use of preserving parabens,
- the use of PEG or PEG derivatives,
- the missing designation of the contained zinc content as well
- the absence of fluoride.
The aluminum content of the toothpaste was also tested. However, the laboratory analysis revealed harmless results for all products: The aluminum compounds contained are in chemically bound form, so that they are not absorbed or metabolized by the organism, but simply excreted again
Not included were the RDA value, which indicates the abrasion (erosive effect) of the cleaning bodies contained, and the PCR value, which indicates the cleaning effect of a toothpaste. The experts involved in the test justified this renunciation with the complicated and unreliable measuring methodology, as many other factors also played a role in this area, for example, the toothbrush used, plaster print and plaster technique as well as individual dentition characteristics. Laboratory tests could, therefore, provide clues, but not clear results.
The Devaluation Reasons At A Glance
1. Sodium Lauryl Sulfate
Sodium lauryl sulfate is a surfactant added to toothpaste for foaming. In the opinion of many dentists, foaming pastes clean better, as the foam improves the removal of food residues and the dissolution of dental plaque. However, the aggressive surfactant also irritates the sensitive oral mucous membranes and can, if it enters the digestive system, damage the intestinal flora. That is why it has long been devalued by eco-test.
2. Preserving Parabens
Conservative parabens are suspected of acting like hormones (chemical messengers). Their use is increasingly criticized because, at least in higher concentrations, they can affect the human hormone system.
PEG or PEG derivatives
These ingredients have been devalued because they promote penetration, thus increasing the permeability of the skin to foreign toxins. Polyethylene glycols (PEG) or PEG derivatives are found in many kinds of toothpaste and other cosmetic products.
3. Lack Of Zinc Content
Zinc is a vital trace element. However, children should not take extra zinc with the toothpaste, as their dietary zinc needs are already adequately met. For this reason, zinc-containing products should be provided with a clear indication that they are unsuitable for children, as recommended by the Federal Institute for Risk Assessment. Toothpaste lacking this indication were devalued in the test for this reason.
4. Missing Fluoride
Two conventional dentifrices and five natural cosmetic products have been devalued because they contain no fluoride. Affected were, among others Biorepair of Dr. Ing. Wolff’s and Ajona. The devaluation was justified by the fact that the tooth-protecting effect of fluorides has been scientifically proven. However, there are no useful studies that prove that fluoride-free products effectively prevent tooth decay.
Caries Protection Is The Most Important Criterion
The most important criterion in the test was caries protection.
Caries is often referred to as an infectious disease, as the caries bacteria can be passed through the saliva from person to person. Whether the tooth root is actually an infectious disease is still controversial among scientists and dentists. But how can there be any confusion about the transferability of a disease?
Tooth decay occurs when the (transmissible) caries bacteria metabolize the sugar contained in the diet. They produce acid, and this can attack the enamel and cause it to form holes in the teeth. But while caries prophylaxis used to be about not getting infected with caries, it is now known that it is virtually impossible to prevent decay bacteria from entering the mouth. However, not all people in the episode get tooth decay.
The reason for this is that bacteria (for example the caries germ Streptococcus mutans) play an important but not the only role in caries formation. Caries is a so-called multifactorial disease – the general health, the eating habits and of course the oral hygiene decide whether a person gets holes in the teeth or not. Therefore, there are also several places where you can set in the caries prophylaxis the lever to prevent the onset of dental disease.
In a poll in 2015, 76 percent of experts involved voted for the classification of decay as a non-communicable disease. In doing so, they focused more strongly on the factors of nutrition and oral hygiene in caries prophylaxis than before.
Toothpaste Without Fluoride
The testers agreed that there is currently no better drug to prevent tooth decay than fluoride. This ingredient helps the teeth in the remineralization, ie the recovery of lost minerals. This effect of fluoride has long been known and scientifically proven.
In higher doses, fluoride can also cause health problems, such as fluorosis (tooth malformations or discoloration) in children. This has also been confirmed by studies and shows u. a. due to the higher frequency of fluorosis in countries where the drinking water is fluoridated (eg USA and Switzerland).
However, scientists believe that adults need not fear fluoride overdose under normal conditions. Regular brushing (twice a day) with a toothpaste containing fluoride does not lead to a risky additional intake, even if fluoridated table salt is eaten. The recommended daily intake of fluoride is 0.05 mg per kg of body weight for both children and adults, according to EFSA (European Food Safety Authority). However, universal dentifrices may not contain more than 1.5 mg per kg of fluoride. It should also be noted that children should not or only use the corresponding toothpaste in small quantities.
There are alternatives to fluoride, but they could not convince the testers. Almost all natural cosmetic toothpaste contains the tooth-friendly sweetener xylitol (xylitol), which has long been thought to have a caries preventive effect. Unfortunately, this has not been sufficiently scientifically proven by studies. So there is still no evidence that xylitol-containing toothpaste prevents caries as effectively as fluoride-containing caries.
The toothpaste “Biorepair” by Dr. med. Wolff’s contains a high proportion of zinc carbonate hydroxyapatite (artificial tooth enamel), which should be used to close microscopically small tooth defects when brushing. However, the caries-prophylactic effect of this active principle (“biomimetic method”) has not yet been sufficiently confirmed by studies.
Which type of fluoride (amine fluoride, sodium fluoride or sodium monofluorophosphate) contains a toothpaste is not crucial in the opinion of the testers. It is more important than the fluoridated toothpaste tastes good and is pleasant to use so that it is used regularly by the consumer.