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Do you know if the toothpaste you use is too abrasive?

The OCU analyzes eleven toothpastes and only four of them obtain a high score for their low content of abrasive components that, in excess, can damage the enamel and dentin after continuous use.

For a toothpaste to fulfill its mission, it has to have among its components the so-called abrasives. It is a solid material whose function is to clean and polish the teeth. The most commonly used are calcium carbonate, dicalcium phosphate, calcium pyrophosphate and silica. These abrasives should be used, according to experts, in a proportion of between 10 and 50%, and depending on their concentration, the toothpaste will have one level of abrasiveness or another.

According to an analysis of eleven anticaries toothpastes carried out by the Organization of Consumers and Users (OCU), although all of them obtain good results in cleaning and eliminating dental stains, only four get a good overall rating. The reason: the excessive abrasiveness of half of the toothpastes analyzed.

There are several methods for assessing the abrasiveness of a toothpaste, although one of the most widely used is the RDA (Relative Dentin Abrasiveness), which measures dentin wear by brushing with toothpaste against a reference standard. A toothpaste is considered to have a low abrasiveness when its RDA is less than 80. These are recommended for sensitive teeth, delicate gums and those intended for children. A medium abrasiveness should be between 80 and 100 RDA and corresponds to normal toothpastes, while between 100 and 150 is considered a high abrasiveness and is reserved for whitening and anti-tartar toothpastes.

The level of abrasiveness of the formulation should be as low as possible so that it does not end up damaging the enamel and dentin after continuous use.

According to the products analyzed by the OCU, four obtain a good score for their low abrasiveness, as well as for the amount of fluoride they contain and their ability to clean and remove stains. These are Colgate Triple Action toothpaste (76 points), to which the Consumers and Users Organization awards the category of ‘master purchase’; Parodontax Extra Fresh Complete Protection (66 points); Binaca Fresh Mint-Triple Protection (73 points), and Elmex Anti-caries (63 points).

As for fluoride, the results of laboratory tests, conducted by the OCU in collaboration with other European consumer organizations, point to an excessive amount in two toothpastes, which exceed the maximum concentration of 1,500 ppm, when it should be between 1,000 and 1,500 ppm. Specifically, these are Apivita Total -although it has an optimum level of abrasiveness, it exceeds the recommended amount of fluoride- and Signal Anticaries Protection, which the OCU considers to be of “poor quality” due to both the excess of fluoride and its abrasiveness.

According to the consumer organization, a good toothpaste should meet the following requirements:

  • It must clean teeth properly, removing food debris, dental film, plaque and stains.
  • It must leave a fresh, clean feeling and freshen breath.
  • It should not be abrasive to enamel and dentin.
  • It must be safe, pleasant and comfortable to use.
  • It must be affordably priced.

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