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"Test winner" - These toothpastes really clean teeth

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It is a constant companion in our everyday life: the toothpaste. But which toothpaste cleans best? And how well can toothpastes protect against tooth decay? "Stiftung Warentest" took a close look at universal toothpastes from various brands. The result puts a smile on your face.

Author: Sharon de Wolf and Maria Kressbach

They should clean thoroughly, protect against tooth decay and be as gentle as possible on teeth and gums - the bar for universal toothpastes is high. The German consumer magazine “Stiftung Warentest” checked whether they met the high requirements and sent 17 toothpastes to the laboratory.

The experts judged according to the following criteria:

  • Caries prophylaxis with fluoride (50%)
  • Removal of discoloration (30%)
  • Packaging (5%)
  • Declaration and advertising message (15%)

The toothpastes were divided according to abrasion, an important criterion for the selection of a toothpaste. Depending on the type of plaster that is supposed to remove discoloration, the abrasion is stronger or weaker.

Which toothpaste for which purpose?

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In general, according to experts from the “Stiftung Warentest”, every toothpaste must contain fluoride so that it works against tooth decay. In addition, each person should pay attention to their own needs: Are there any damage to the brushing, are there free tooth necks or sensitive teeth? Then the abrasion of the toothpaste should not be high. Is there excessive tartar build-up and bad breath? Then zinc helps.

Most of the test products shone

Pleasing: 13 of the 17 toothpastes were rated “very good”, another 3 toothpastes were rated “good”.

It was noticed that higher abrasion does not automatically lead to better cleaning. Toothpastes with low abrasion can also remove discoloration very well. In this context, “Stiftung Warentest” emphasizes the mild “Odol-med 3 Extreme Clean Long-Term Freshness” toothpaste. It removed discoloration better than any other toothpaste in the magazine's reviews to date.

Three types of toothpaste

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  • Universal toothpastes: They offer the standard care for normal teeth and usually promise positive effects for teeth and gums and, above all, protection against tooth decay. According to the experts, the active ingredient fluoride is therefore decisive. By the way: Most universal toothpastes remove discoloration just as reliably as special whitening pastes.
  • Sensitive toothpastes: They are specifically aimed at people with sensitive teeth. The most common cause is exposed tooth necks. The toothpaste should be correspondingly gentle and have low or very low abrasion. Tin fluoride or potassium nitrate, for example, are used as desensitizing agents in these toothpastes.
  • Whitening toothpastes: The measure of the abrasive effect of a whitening toothpaste is given by means of the RDA value. The higher this value, the higher the «emery effect» of the toothpaste. According to experts, strong whitening toothpastes with a high RDA should not be used permanently. Otherwise, there is a risk of damage to the hard tooth substance, especially if the teeth are scrubbed too hard when brushing their teeth. Anyone who is prone to gum problems and / or pain-sensitive teeth should also avoid them. The latest trend in whitening toothpastes: black toothpaste. Deposits are to be bound and removed with activated charcoal.

Fluoride is a must

Ironically the most expensive product in the test, «Dr. Bronner‘s Peppermint Toothpaste », was the only one to receive the verdict« unsatisfactory ». The reason for the bad rating is the lack of fluoride, which is crucial for successful caries prophylaxis.

What's in the tube:

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  • Fluoride: Considered indispensable in dentistry. If there is enough of it in the toothpaste, it prevents tooth decay and hardens the tooth enamel. In addition to regular brushing, fluoride makes a significant contribution to tooth preservation. The active ingredient is discussed controversially on the Internet. However, there is no risk of overdosing if used properly.
  • Zinc: Against plaque, inflammation of the gums, bad breath and tartar. However, zinc cannot remove tartar. Children and adolescents should not use paste containing zinc. You are already getting enough from food.
  • Titanium dioxide: Serves as a whitener for toothpaste, food or wall paints. Researchers consider the substance to be carcinogenic at best; France has already banned it.
  • Plant components: Plant components such as chamomile and peppermint are said to support the treatment of inflammation, but therapeutic effectiveness has not been sufficiently proven.
  • Sodium Lauryl Sulphate (NaLS): A surfactant whose foam-forming properties are distributed even in hard-to-reach places. In addition, plaque is better removed. In higher concentrations, it can irritate the gums and irritate sensitive mucous membranes.

The best toothpastes by category

Very low abrasion:

  • Sensodyne MultiCare Original
    Overall rating: good (grade 1.8 *)
    Price: 3.30 francs **
    Comments: Protects very well against tooth decay, removes discolouration satisfactorily despite very low abrasion. Contains zinc (not suitable for children and adolescents).

Low abrasion:

  • Parodontax Extra Fresh Complete Protection
    Overall rating: very good (grade 1.2 *)
    Price: 4.40 francs **
    Comments: With low abrasion, very good protection against tooth decay, removes discolouration very well. Does not contain zinc.

Worth mentioning:

  • Odol-med 3 Extreme Clean long-term freshness
    Overall rating: very good (grade 1.4 *)
    Price: 3.95 francs **
    Comments: Protects very well against tooth decay and removes discoloration very well, despite low abrasion. Contains zinc (not suitable for children and adolescents).

Low abrasion:

  • Budnident toothpaste herbs (not available in Switzerland)
    Overall rating: very good (grade 1.2 *)
    Comments: Very good results in preventing tooth decay and removing discoloration.

Available in Switzerland:

  • Colgate Totally Original
    Overall rating: very good (grade 1.5 *)
    Price: 4.85 francs **
    Comments: Protects very well against tooth decay, removes discoloration well. Contains zinc (not suitable for children and adolescents).

High abrasion:

  • Oral-B Professional Gums & Enamel Pro Repair
    Overall rating: very good (grade 1.3 *)
    Price: 4.95 francs **
    Comments: Protects very well against tooth decay, removes discolouration very well. Contains zinc (not suitable for children and adolescents).

"Test winner" rubric

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In “Testieger”, “Kassensturz” provides information about tests from other consumer magazines and programs at home and abroad. All tests can be found here.

* German rating system (0.5 = very good, 5.5 = poor)
** Price according to internet research from October 14, 2019

Source: «Test, link opens in a new window» from «Stiftung Warentest", Edition 10/2019

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