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How Many Kinds of Toothpaste Do We Need?

Posted Mar 04 2011 9:04am

In 2008, there were 412 different toothpastes available for sale in the US.

Today, there are “only” 352.

A few years ago, over 100 new kinds or sizes of toothpaste hit the market.

Last year, “only” 69.

This, according to a recent WSJ article , wonderfully lampooned by Stephen Colbert .

Seriously: How many kinds of toothpaste do we really need – especially when toothpaste itself is not the most important factor in keeping your teeth and gums healthy? (As we wrote before , the purpose of toothpaste is generally to act as an abrasive, making it easier to break up the biofilm known as “plaque” – the stuff responsible for generating tooth decay.)

But marketers have convinced us otherwise – so much so that even many dentists believe it, just as they believe that fluoride is the key to toothpaste’s alleged power to prevent cavities.

“If you don’t use toothpaste with fluoride — and some toothpastes that say ‘natural’ don’t have fluoride — I’m willing to bet you that within six months to a year, you will get decay in your mouth,” says New York-based dentist Nancy Rosen.

We imagine that a fair number of our clients might take that bet. Just like Dr. Verigin, they’ve used non-fluoride toothpaste for years without ever developing cavities…even as other clients have used fluoride toothpaste and developed decay anyway.

That you clean your teeth regularly and how well you do it – these are things that matter.


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