Toothpaste too pricey for the poor

June 13, 2008,

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.

Globalization has led to a worldwide tendency to eat a more westernized diet, which is higher in carbohydrates and refined sugars. This has resulted in an increasing prevalence of tooth decay in developing countries, which can lead to malnutrition and a reduced quality of life. The cost and relative unavailability of dental care in poorer countries means that tooth decay usually remains untreated.

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.

"Because of the importance of fluoride toothpaste in preventing tooth decay, it must be made more available to the world's poorest populations," commented Goldman, "steps should be taken to make fluoride toothpaste more affordable and more accessible." The authors suggest that this can be done by exempting fluoride toothpaste from taxation, encouraging the local manufacture of fluoride toothpaste and persuading multinational manufacturers to implement different pricing policies for poorer countries.

Source: BioMed Central

Explore further: Cavity prevention approach effectively reduces tooth decay

Related Stories

Cavity prevention approach effectively reduces tooth decay

January 22, 2018
A scientifically based approach that includes a tooth-decay risk assessment, aggressive preventive measures and conservative restorations can dramatically reduce decay in community dental practices, according to a study by ...

The other fluoride: For millions with dry mouth, this cousin keeps decay at bay

March 21, 2013
Just 40 years ago, more than half of American kids had at least one untreated cavity. That statistic now stands at less than 25 percent, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Most kids today can ...

Breakthrough toothpaste ingredient hardens your teeth while you sleep

April 11, 2016
A new toothpaste ingredient which puts back the lost minerals from tooth enamel and helps prevent decay and treat sensitivity while you sleep is available online and from specialist dental distributors now. It is expected ...

New toothpaste uses latest research to put minerals back into teeth

September 20, 2017
Most people regard glass as being chemically stable and inert. This is certainly the case for the type of glass used in windows, which importantly, doesn't dissolve in the rain.

Fluoridating water does not lower IQ, new research says

May 19, 2014
New research out of New Zealand's world-renowned Dunedin Multidisciplinary Study does not support claims that fluoridating water adversely affects children's mental development and adult IQ.

Prevention-oriented approach to dentistry helps patients avoid the drill

October 21, 2016
Several years ago, Peter Rechmann, DMD, PhD, professor of Preventive & Restorative Dental Science at UC San Francisco's School of Dentistry, saw a patient who was convinced that she needed a new set of dental crowns.

Recommended for you

Just a few minutes of light intensity exercise linked to lower death risk in older men

February 19, 2018
Clocking up just a few minutes at a time of any level of physical activity, including of light intensity, is linked to a lower risk of death in older men, suggests research published online in the British Journal of Sports ...

Calcium and Vitamin D supplements are not associated with risk of heart attacks

February 16, 2018
New research from the University of Southampton has found no association between the use of calcium or vitamin D supplementation and cardiovascular events such as heart attacks.

Women who clean at home or work face increased lung function decline

February 16, 2018
Women who work as cleaners or regularly use cleaning sprays or other cleaning products at home appear to experience a greater decline in lung function over time than women who do not clean, according to new research published ...

Study shows options to decrease risk of motor vehicle crashes for adolescent drivers

February 16, 2018
Adolescents who receive comprehensive and challenging on-road driving assessments prior to taking the license test might be protected from future motor vehicle crashes, according to a University of Alabama at Birmingham study ...

Being a single dad can shorten your life: study

February 15, 2018
The risk of dying prematurely more than doubles for single fathers compared to single mothers or paired-up dads, according to a study of Canadian families published Thursday.

Keeping an eye on the entire ageing process

February 15, 2018
Medical researchers often only focus on a single disease. As older people often suffer from multiple diseases at the same time, however, we need to rethink this approach, writes Ralph Müller.

1 comment

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

westonprice
4 / 5 (1) Jun 13, 2008
poisoned from sugar, then poisoned with fluoride.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.