Teaching children to brush their teeth is not an easy task. Experienced parents know this well. However, effective protection against cavities – and therefore the right toothpaste – is very important from an early age.
For this reason, Stiftung Warentest has closely examined the children’s toothpaste market. According to the consumer organization, the test (August 2022) was “extremely frustrating”. More than half of the 21 children’s toothpastes tested were satisfactory or unsatisfactory.
Some contain very little or no fluoride, which is an effective agent in preventing tooth decay. Others use dye titanium dioxide of questionable authenticity. In addition, defective products make it clear that the price says nothing about the quality of the toothpaste.
These nine pastes are minus:
- Blend-a-med Blendi Gel (€1.86, grade 5.0): “weak” for fluoride prevention of tooth decay, “adequate” for titanium dioxide content
- Müller SensiDent Kids Toothpaste (€ 0.73, grade 5.0): “Not suitable” for the prevention of dental caries with fluoride, “Sufficient” for titanium dioxide content
- dm Alverde Natural Cosmetics Dental Gel for Children (€3.50, grade 5.0): “Poor” for preventing cavities with fluoride, “Very good” for titanium dioxide content
- karex children’s toothpaste (€6.80, grade 5.0): “Poor” for caries prevention with fluoride, “Very good” for titanium dioxide content
- Lavera Natural Cosmetics Kids Toothpaste (€4.65, grade 5.0): “Poor” for preventing cavities with fluoride, “Very good” for titanium dioxide content
- LidlDentalox Kids Tooth Gel (0.60€, grade 5.0): “Poor” for preventing cavities with fluoride, “Very good” for titanium dioxide content
- Ludente Naturcosmetic Happy Kids Tooth Gel Strawberry (€5.90, grade 5.0): “Poor” for fluoride prevention of tooth decay, “Very good” for titanium dioxide content
- Rossmann Alterra Natural Cosmetics Tooth Gel for Kids (€2.08, grade 5.0): “Poor” for fluoride caries prevention, “Very good” for titanium dioxide content
- Weleda tooth gel for children (€7.90, grade 5.0): “Poor” for fluoride prevention of tooth decay, “Very good” for titanium dioxide content
Toothpaste in the test: Insufficient caries protection and critical coloring agent titanium dioxide influence results
Since 2021, the “Healthy in Life” network, an association of nearly 600 professional associations, foundations and associations, has recommended a standardized amount of fluoride in children’s toothpaste of 1,000 parts per million (“parts per million”). Four suppliers in the test — Blend-a-med, Lidl, Müller and Alterra from Rossmann — use only about half the recommended amount of fluoride, and five suppliers use no fluoride at all. Instead, other active ingredients are used to protect against caries.
Karex, for example, uses hydroxyapatite as the active ingredient – a “nature-copied ingredient,” as stated on the tube. According to Stiftung Warentest, the case study on hydroxyapatite – unlike fluoride – is very thin. “We have no evidence of sufficient effectiveness of hydroxyapatite,” the consumer organization wrote.
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Only twelve of the 21 toothpastes tested adhere to professional association recommendations. However, nine of those use titanium dioxide for the critical dye, including cheap Aldi’s Eurodont kids’ toothpaste, Edeka’s Tabaluga dental gel and Rewe’s Prokudent Kids toothpaste.
From August of this year, the additive will be banned within the European Union because it is no longer considered safe. According to the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), titanium dioxide can damage the genetic material of cells and possibly cause cancer. However, some suppliers have reported to Stiftung Warentest that they will work to stop using titanium dioxide.
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What is the recommended children’s toothpaste according to Stiftung Warentest?
Despite the somewhat disappointing results, two products received a “Very Good” rating in the test: Elmex Children’s Toothpaste and Signal Children’s Toothpaste. The amount of fluoride contained in these creams complies with the recommendations of pediatricians and dentists. Titanium dioxide is not included. The test winners leave much to be desired in terms of price: the price of toothpaste is 3.20 euros, while Elmex toothpaste costs 4 euros per 100 milliliters.
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For parents with children from the age of six, Stiftung Warentest has a savings tip: instead of a special children’s toothpaste, older children can use a universal adult toothpaste without zinc. According to the Consumer Organization, too much zinc can be harmful to health. Universal Kaufland Bevola toothpaste for 60 cents per 100 milliliters is very good. There is more information in the toothpaste test.
By the way, Oral-B Kids toothpaste received a “good” score and therefore took third place in the rating. However, according to the supplier, this product is no longer produced.
Best children’s toothpastes 2022:
- Elmex children’s toothpaste (€4.00, grade 1.1): “Very good” for the prevention of dental caries with the content of fluoride and titanium dioxide
- Signal Toothpaste for kids my friend (€3.20, grade 1.2): “Very good” for the prevention of dental caries with the content of fluoride and titanium dioxide
- Oral-B Kids Frozen Toothpaste (€4.20, grade 1.8): “Very good” for the prevention of dental caries with the content of fluoride and titanium dioxide, no longer produced