The Truth About Toothpastes: Separating Fact from Fiction

Let’s get straight to the point: no toothpaste is unequivocally “the best.” They all operate in a similar manner and rarely deliver on the lofty promises advertised. In reality, most toothpastes are equally effective—or equally ineffective—depending on your perspective.

Take labels like “herbal,” “vegan,” “non-toxic,” and “chemical-free.” These terms are often marketing gimmicks rather than indicators of superior quality. These products are generally no better or worse than traditional toothpaste brands.

Consider the debate over fluoride. If a toothpaste claims to be fluoride-free, it’s crucial to check whether it contains hydroxyapatite. Hydroxyapatite is an effective alternative to fluoride; without it, the toothpaste is less effective at preventing cavities. Fluoride, contrary to some marketing claims, is beneficial and not toxic at the levels used in toothpaste. Fluoride helps in the remineralization of teeth and is a key component in preventing tooth decay.

The same logic applies to sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS). The quantity of SLS in a toothpaste is minimal and far below the threshold that could cause harm to humans. SLS is used for its foaming action, which helps distribute the toothpaste more evenly and improves cleaning efficiency. However, to sell new products, companies often demonize SLS by likening it to the detergents used in household cleaning products. The analogy, “you wouldn’t put detergent in your mouth, so why use toothpaste with SLS,” is misleading. The concentration of SLS in toothpaste is vastly different and safe for use.

In summary, while toothpastes can differ in flavour, texture, and marketing claims, their core functions are strikingly similar. Fluoride and hydroxyapatite are both effective in maintaining dental health, and SLS, in the quantities used, is not a cause for concern. Don’t be swayed by fear-based marketing. Instead, focus on maintaining good oral hygiene practices, which matter more than the brand of toothpaste you choose.

The best toothpaste

The Best Toothpaste.