Toothpastes: are they made equal?


  Posted by: Dental Design      5th August 2023

Toothpaste forms the bedrock of a good oral hygiene routine – but do patients know that not all toothpastes are made the same? With a heightened focus on solutions that are better for health without sacrificing quality, it’s important the dental team is well-versed in a variety of products that better align with modern consumer preferences. This is especially so as many toothpastes on the market contain certain ingredients that may have adverse effects on the human body, or that render the product largely ineffective at protecting the oral cavity.

Triclosan (TCS)

A common ingredient in UK products is triclosan, an antibacterial and antifungal agent found in soaps, shampoos, body washes and toothpaste. The literature suggests there may be potentially harmful side effects resulting from using products with TCS, although research is still quite obscure in this area. In animal studies, researchers found that short-term exposure to low-dose TCS causes ‘chronic inflammation, increases severity of colitis and exacerbates colitis-associated colon tumorigenesis in mice’.[i] While the research on human health is vague, some studies have found traces of TCS in human breast milk, urine and blood plasma.[ii] The prevalence of TCS was higher in mothers who used healthcare products containing it, compared to mothers who didn’t. This demonstrates that TCS may have high absorption abilities. Further studies suggest that, in dental care products, TCS can be absorbed through the mucosa and intestinal tract.[iii] As TCS is present in a lot of products that are used to wash the human body, it’s also quite ubiquitous in wastewater systems.[iv]

Hydrogen peroxide

In a bid to whiten teeth at home, many individuals opt for a toothpaste that contains hydrogen peroxide. While considered safe for use, there may be risks to oral health. One study found that use of whitening toothpastes could increase enamel roughness and decrease enamel micro-hardness.[v] It’s also believed that those suffering from xerostomia may be more vulnerable to hydrogen peroxide than those without the condition.[vi] Patients should always be cautious when purchasing whitening products from the internet, such as strips, mouthwash or gel in addition to toothpastes. If your patients express that they’d like a dentifrice that whitens teeth without hydrogen peroxide, you should ensure they are aware of the risks surrounding certain products, and also recommend the tried and trusted solutions that you know won’t cause any harm.


Fluoride has been lauded as an important agent in reducing the incident of caries.[vii] There have long been fears surrounding fluorosis, which occurs when a child ingests too much fluoride during tooth formation.[viii]This can be prevented by keeping an eye on children when they are brushing their teeth, to ensure they don’t swallow the toothpaste.

Others conversations around fluoride include the fears that adding fluoride to our water systems is ‘mass medication’. However, the argument has been made that you cannot medicate someone with a mineral that naturally occurs in water. The ethical debate continues, but the benefits of fluoride in water have been evidenced. Alongside fluoride in water, patients can choose a fluoridated toothpaste to protect their oral health. The market is rife with brands of toothpastes, including fluoride-free options.[ix] Patients have the right to choose a toothpaste that works for them, but if they’re seeking a recommendation from you, toothpastes with a high fluoride content are considered the most effective.[x]

Helping patients make the right choice

While maintaining oral hygiene at home is fairly straightforward – brushing 2 minutes twice daily with a fluoridated toothpaste – consumers are becoming more conscious about what certain products contain. As such, the dental team must make quality recommendations that patients can trust, like the toothpaste solutions from Arm & Hammer. Free from triclosan, hydrogen peroxide and with fluoride contents between  1100ppm and 1450ppm, Arm & Hammer solutions are fantastic additions to your patients’ oral hygiene routines. With the secret ingredient, baking soda, patients can experience a deep yet gentle clean – baking soda helps to remove plaque, promote a neutral pH and get rid of malodour. The Arm & Hammer toothpaste range includes solutions for gum protection, whitening and tooth sensitivity, as well as 100% recyclable options.

There’s a lot of choice nowadays when it comes to selecting the right toothpaste, which is why guidance from the dental team is vital. When you recommend a toothpaste that is proven to effectively maintain oral hygiene, you can rest assured that your patients are adequately supported when at home.

For more information about the carefully formulated Arm & Hammer toothpaste range, please visit or email:

Sharon Kidd

GDC – 4566Diploma in Dental Hygiene 1993Hygienist 

Sharon qualified as a dental nurse in The Royal London Dental Hospital in 1988. She trained as a dental hygienist in the Royal Army Dental Corps in 1993.  Sharon has experience working as a hygienist in a variety of different settings including dental hospital, domiciliary home visits, military, private and general practice. She works with specialists and general dental practitioners to support patients with different needs including those who are nervous to visit the dentist.  Sharon is also a professional educator for Waterpik, water flosser . And enjoy family time at home with my husband two teenage daughters and family pets

Arm & Hammer oral healthcare products can now be purchased from Boots, Amazon, Superdrug, ASDA, Sainsbury’s, Tesco, Morrison’s, Waitrose & Partners and Ocado.

[i] Chen, X., Mou, L., Qu, J., Wu, L. and Liu, C. (2023). Adverse effects of triclosan exposure on health and potential molecular mechanisms. Science of The Total Environment, [online] 879, p.163068. Available at: [Accessed 29 Mar. 2023].

[ii] Allmyr, M., Adolfsson-Erici, M., McLachlan, M.S. and Sandborgh-Englund, G. (2006). Triclosan in plasma and milk from Swedish nursing mothers and their exposure via personal care products. Science of The Total Environment, 372(1), pp.87–93. doi:

[iii] Lin, Y. (2000). Buccal absorption of triclosan following topical mouthrinse application. [online] ResearchGate. Available at:[Accessed 30 Mar. 2023].

[iv] Wee, S.Y., Aris, A.Z., Yusoff, F.Md. and Praveena, S.M. (2020). Occurrence of multiclass endocrine disrupting compounds in a drinking water supply system and associated risks. Scientific Reports, [online] 10(1). Available at: [Accessed 30 Mar. 2023].

[v] Rahardjo, A., Gracia, E., Riska, G., Adiatman, M. and Maharani, D.A. (2015). Potential Side Effects of Whitening Toothpaste on Enamel Roughness and Micro Hardness. International Journal of Clinical Preventive Dentistry, [online] 11(4), pp.239–242. Available at: [Accessed 28 Apr. 2023].

[vi] (n.d.). Tooth Whiteners: 2. What health effects of hydrogen peroxide have been observed? [online] Available at:[Accessed 28 Apr. 2023].

[vii] Aoun, A., Darwiche, F., Hayek, S.A. and Doumit, J. (2018). The Fluoride Debate: The Pros and Cons of Fluoridation. Preventive Nutrition and Food Science, [online] 23(3), pp.171–180. Available at:[Accessed 28 Apr. 2023].

[viii] GOV.UK. (n.d.). Chapter 9: Fluoride. [online] Available at: [Accessed 28 Apr. 2023].

[ix] Gupta, A., Gallagher, J.E., Chestnutt, I.G. and Godson, J. (2021). Formulation and fluoride content of dentifrices: a review of current patterns. British Dental Journal. [online] Available at: [Accessed 28 Apr. 2023].

[x] NHS (2019). Fluoride. [online] NHS. Available at: [Accessed 28 Apr. 2023].

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