Fluoride Toothpaste Is Expensive For Poorest People

Many toothpastes make whitening claims. Some of these toothpastes contain peroxide, the same ingredient found in tooth bleaching gels. The abrasive in these toothpaste remove the stains, not the peroxide. Whitening toothpaste cannot alter the natural color of teeth or reverse discoloration by penetrating surface stains or decay. To remove surface stains, whitening toothpaste may include abrasives to gently polish the teeth, and/or additives such as sodium tripolyphosphate to break down or dissolve stains. When used twice a day, whitening toothpaste typically takes two to four weeks to make teeth appear more white. Whitening toothpaste is generally safe for daily use, but excessive use might damage tooth enamel. Teeth whitening gels represent an alternative.
 
Herbal toothpastes are made from natural ingredients and some are even certified as organic. Many consumers have started to switch over to natural toothpastes to avoid synthetic and artificial flavors that are commonly found in regular toothpastes. Due to the increased demand of natural products, most of the toothpaste manufacturers now produce herbal toothpastes. This type of toothpaste does not contain dyes or artificial flavors.
 
Many herbal toothpastes do not contain fluoride or sodium lauryl sulfate. The ingredients found in natural toothpastes vary widely but often include baking soda, aloe, eucalyptus oil, myrrh, plant extract (strawberry extract), and essential oils. In addition to the commercially available products, it is possible to make one's own toothpaste using similar ingredients.
 
Fluoride toothpaste is prohibitively expensive for the world's poorest people, according to a study published in BioMed Central's open access journal Globalization and Health. Researchers revealed that the poorest populations of developing countries have the least access to affordable toothpaste. 
 
The team, which includes Ann Goldman of the School of Public Health and Health Services at the George Washington University in Washington D.C., Robert Yee and Christopher Holmgren of the World Health Organization Collaborating Centre at Radboud University Medical Centre in Nijmegen, The Netherlands, and Habib Benzian of the FDI World Dental Federation compared the relative affordability of fluoride toothpaste in 48 countries. 
 
Fluoride toothpaste is the most widely used method of preventing dental decay, but currently only 12.5% of the world benefits from it. The researchers believe that the low-use of fluoride toothpaste is due to its cost, which is too high in some parts of the world. This study is the first to attempt to quantify the affordability of toothpaste across the globe. 
 
Questionnaires regarding the cost of fluoride toothpaste were completed by dental associations, non-government oral health organisations and individuals around the world. The cost of a year's worth of toothpaste for one person was calculated as both a proportion of household expenditure and in terms of the number of days of work needed to cover the cost. 
 
The results showed that in different income groups in various countries, as the per capita income decreased, the proportion of income needed to purchase a year's supply of toothpaste increased; the poorest in each country being the hardest hit. 
 
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