Another worrying aspect of the packaging is that, although therapeutic claims are made, no PL number appears on the packaging.
The other brand I was able to purchase at Safeway was Signal Family Protection toothpaste. Also 'accredited' by the BDHF, this product contains 0.32 per cent sodium fluoride (1450 ppm or 145 mg in a 100-ml tube). This is enough to kill a child if a sufficiently large quantity is consumed. Not only is there no warning about the dangers associated with ingesting too much fluoride, but it also emphasises that "children love the great taste" implying that they may use it as much as possible. Despite claims about hardening tooth enamel, again no PL number is displayed.
Tesco's own brand, Total Care Kids, contains 0.4 per cent sodium monofluorophosphate, which appears to be a standard amount of fluoride contained in kiddy toothpastes. Like most other products, it doesn't display any evidence of a PL number despite making therapeutic claims. It boasts that the product is "not tested on animals", which is a good thing for the laboratory monkeys and rats of the world as it contains around 526 ppm of fluoride (26 mg in a 50-ml tube) which can lead to mottling or cavitation of children's teeth if accidentally swallowed.
Tesco also sells Pearl Drops Smokers toothpaste. The manufacturer has not even bothered to give the percentage of fluoride contained in Pearl Drops presumably because it figures that smokers are already engaging in slow motion self poisoning. Again, there is no warning about accidental overdosing and no PL number displayed.
The only fluoride free toothpastes available at Tesco were Euthymol and Sensodyne Sensitive. There were no fluoride free brands for children.
This supermarket gives the widest choice. For those wishing to avoid fluoride, Sainsbury's offers both Kingfisher and its own brand fluoride free toothpaste. It also offers its own brand 'low fluoride' Baby Tooth Gel, which contains 0.025 per cent sodium fluoride (110 ppm or 5.5 mg in a 50-ml tube). Although Sainsbury's labels this more fully than any other baby tooth toothpaste in the survey, it still fails to match the poison warnings required by the US Food and Drug Administration on American brands of fluoridated toothpaste.
Sainsbury's also sells a Milk Teeth gel toothpaste for children aged 0-6, made by Macleans (SmithKline Beecham). This contains 525 ppm of sodium monofluorophosphate (26 mg in a 50-ml tube), a dosage more than five times higher than Sainbury's own brand label. Macleans' product, available with a strawberry flavour, has the so called accreditation of the British Dental Association, the UK dentists' trade union. Again, no PL number is displayed.
Not only does this supermarket offer no fluoride free toothpastes, but it sells some toothpastes with no amount specified for fluoride content. There are no child warnings, not even about minimising swallowing.
Dentalux Med 3 asserts on the packaging, "The combination of sodium monofluorophosphate and sodium fluoride strengthens the gums and therefore helps to protect the teeth from decay". This is an untenable therapeutic claim as there is no evidence that sodium fluoride strengthens the gums. Furthermore, this toothpaste offers no advice on children's toothbrushing or about the quantities of fluoride added to the toothpaste. Needless to say, there is no PL number given.