Supermarkets charge huge mark ups on children's toothpaste.
Toothpaste marketed at children is double the price of ordinary toothpaste even though it contains the same level of fluoride, an investigation has shown.
The average price of a 100ml tube of standard toothpaste at Britain's biggest supermarkets is Ģ1.21 while the typical cost of their equivalent children's toothpaste is Ģ2.40.
Colgate's and Aquafresh's kids range are up to three times more expensive though they have just as much fluoride as their standard products. Dr Ewa Rozwadowska of the British Dental Health Foundation told the Times newspaper: "Sugar free sweets that use sweeteners are not more expensive. Kids' toothpaste is more a marketing gimmick."
Kris Coomaraswamy, a lecturer in paediatric dentistry at Birmingham University, said: "Children's toothpaste should be the same price as adult paste. "We should be encouraging parents to get kids to brush their teeth and not put a financial barrier in the way. It is quite safe to use adult toothpaste on even the youngest children, providing you only smear a small amount."
Manufacturers and retailers say children's toothpaste is more expensive to make. But experts claim there is no justification for the mark ups. Aquafresh said: "Children's milk teeth are 50 percent thinner so our children's toothpaste has low abrasivity compared to our standard pastes to meet this need."
Official guidance from Public Health England says there is no need for parents to buy children's products and that a small smear of normal toothpaste is just as effective and safe.