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Choosing a Toothpaste: What’s the Big Deal?

Course Number: 565


There is a large and growing selection of toothpastes on display for patients when they shop for oral health products, and they likely have asked you to help guide them. In reality, is toothpaste even necessary? Is it a meaningful contributor to dental health? If so, are there truly any substantive differences between dentifrices? To answer these questions, this course will dive into the unique formulation elements and various benefits provided by each category of marketed toothpastes. You’ll learn whether or not “all toothpastes are basically the same,” and how to evaluate products so you can confidently recommend the best fit for a patient’s unique needs.

CE565 - Content - Introduction - Figure 1

Imagine that you’re standing in a huge car lot. Overwhelmed with decision paralysis by the myriad options, you give up and simply buy the cheapest vehicle, or the car with the most eye-catching color, or the one you’ve seen a neighbor driving. Because after all, a car is a car, right?

While this is a silly, implausible scenario, the truth is, a similar mindset in purchase decision-making for less expensive items can set in when the choices are many. The consumer is unaware of the merits (or lack thereof) of the options under consideration. In the realm of personal health products, choosing from a vast array of marketed toothpastes may seem insignificant and ‘low stakes’ to the uninformed/typical buyer, leading to selections based solely on price point or the lure of flashy packaging or creative shopping aisle display.