A toothpaste should primarily do one thing: protect teeth from tooth decay. However, four out of 31 toothpastes that have now been tested by Stiftung Warentest (June 2022) fail to meet this basic requirement. They contain no fluoride – an important ingredient for strengthening tooth enamel, reducing the formation of plaque and preventing tooth decay.

But five toothpastes convince both in caries protection and in the removal of discoloration. Two of the test winners are already available for less than one euro per 100 milliliters.

According to Stiftung Warentest, the use of the coloring agent titanium dioxide, which some manufacturers use to color their toothpastes white, is questionable. According to the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), the additive could potentially damage genetic material if it enters the body. In other words, the genetic material in the cells could be damaged and possibly even cause cancer. From August 2022, titanium dioxide is therefore to be banned in food throughout the EU.

A total of 21 toothpastes in the test contained titanium dioxide. However, it is questionable whether these products actually have a mutagenic effect.

The consumer organization writes that most pastes typically contain up to one percent titanium dioxide. When brushing your teeth, it is estimated that around ten percent of the cream is swallowed. Compared to other foods and products, toothpaste contributes little to the total amount of titanium dioxide absorbed.

Consumers can tell from the ingredients listed on the box or tube whether the coloring agent is present in a toothpaste. There is either the English name “Titanium Dioxide” or the abbreviation “CI 77891”.

For people with sensitive teeth or exposed tooth necks, the Stiftung Warentest recommends creams with little abrasion. The Bevola (Kaufland) or Dontodent (dm) products, for example, were shown to be cheap and “very good” for 44 cents or 60 cents per 100 milliliters. However, dm’s toothpaste is only available for adults because it contains zinc. The Stiftung Warentest recommends that children should brush their teeth without using zinc.

The test showed that even creams with little abrasion can effectively remove discolouration from tea or coffee. According to Stiftung Warentest, anyone who is concerned about their bright white smile need not have any qualms about the following toothpastes.