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November 2000 issue

Buyer's Guide - Indian Toothpaste Market

All the toothpaste brands promise different things to the consumer. Some offer the whitest teeth, some talk of freshest breath or healthiest teeth. So which toothpaste should you pop into your shopping bag? Sometimes having so much variety and choice can be dreadfully tiring for the mind! Besides as the dentists all tell us it is important to pay specially attention to your child's dental hygiene right from the age of 2. But which of the toothpastes will actually live up to the advertising? Lets find out -

Brand analysis -

Brand Feature Weight Price (Rs)
Oral B Specially for children 100gm 55*
Colgate Total Paste 100gm 35
Gel Gel 100gm 24.50
Ultra whitening Paste 150gm 39
Sensation whitening Paste 150gm 39
Calciguard Paste 100gm 24.50
Pepsodent Germicheck Paste 200gm 49.90
2 in 1 Paste+ gel 150gm 45.10
Aguafresh Paste + gel 100gm 25
Close up Gel 100gm 33

* the price of a paste and brush

The brands in the market offer basically two types of toothpastes - one is in the form of the conventional paste and the other is the gel. Colgate Total, Pespodent Germicheck, etc are examples of the former type. They offer clean teeth and a safeguard against cavities. The Close up range, Promise Gel, Colgate Gel, etc promise fresh breath. Aquafresh and Pepsodent 2-in-1 combine the two types by having both gel and paste together.

Oral B is a specially formulated toothpaste for children in India. It comes in one flavour - mint. Though the children like the mild flavour the paste itself does not foam. Also the paste comes along with a brush making it an expensive buy if you are not interested in using their brush.

Alright all the ads are spectacular - but what's the bottom line? Basically all toothpastes are alike. In the olden days (sometime soon after the age of the dinosaurs) our not so distant ancestors chewed datuan - the neem twig and most of them had strong healthy teeth right to the very end. Further, here's a secret that most advertisers have long known - people aren't as interested in the anti bacterial qualities of the toothpaste as in its ability to promote fresh breath and make your mouth taste good. As a result many of us brush early morning even though we haven't eaten anything just then, in order to lose that morning breath. But few people remember to brush in the evening when it's really necessary! So the differences in the toothpastes are more in flavour and attractive colour than actual ingredients.

What the expert says -

Dr Vandana Jyoti, Dentist

There is basically little difference between the different brands.

What is to look for in a child's toothpaste -

  • Fluoride
    • below 4 years of age - do not use a fluoridated toothpaste as till this age the child ingests a part of the toothpaste.
    • between 4 to 14 years of age - fluoride is required in the toothpaste as at this age the teeth enamel is permeable and therefore benefits from the fluoride.
    • above 14 years of age - a fluoridated toothpaste is not required as the teeth enamel are no longer permeable and therefore the fluoride is not used. Excess fluoride may lead to fluorosis.
  • Attractive colour (if possible)
  • Should produce foam
  • Change the toothpaste every time you buy a new pack as frequent use of the same formulation makes the bacteria present in the teeth resistant to that toothpaste. (This applies to you too)
  • Do not use only gel based toothpaste for your child as gels serve more as mouthwash rather than for cleaning teeth. Keep changing the type of toothpaste the child uses.

It is the brushing action which is more important than the toothpaste used.
For the child to have healthy teeth it is important to make him aware of the importance of good dental hygiene right from early age - Brushing twice a day, regular visits to the dentist, sensible eating and no neglect of caries even of milk teeth.


 

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