Why are there so many different labels on toothpaste? There’s full “protection + whitening”, “deep clean”, “advanced whitening”, “advanced protection”, “repair & protect”, etc. from the same brand alone.
Is there a practical difference, or is it just a marketing scheme?
It’s mostly marketing. One of the goals of the toothpaste companies is to fill the whole aisle of toothpaste at big box stores with different types of their products to prevent a new company from being able to find any shelf space.
Check to see sometimes there is a TM or (R) after those statements. That means they are either trying to trademark ™ or have the trademark registered. They also might have a * and that usually has a statement on box or tube that says not confirmed by fda
It’s all marketing, *including the practical differences*.
Size is an obvious practical difference, but it’s rooted in customer’s demand for different amounts of toothpaste, which can stem from: wanting to try something, not wanting to spend a lot of money at once, travel needs, etc.
Wanting to take up shelf space so your competitor isn’t the only brand a customer sees plays a role. So the marketing need leads to the company’s product innovations to justify the shelf space.
And if your main competitor is innovating, you need to come up with *something* to justify a “new and improved” label. Recently I’ve noticed that Colgate offers a premium-priced toothpaste that says it will take years of aging/stains from your teeth, and they have modified that by increasing the amount of hydrogen peroxide and the number of years. That’s a practical difference and a marketing gimmick.
Finally, they want to offer different price points for consumers, which is marketing, but it reflects actual differences. A brand, say Colgate, needs to have offerings at every level of toothpaste price or else Crest will nab all the premium customers and Aim will take all the value customers.
Pretty much marketing. All you really want is toothpaste with fluoride in it. Past that, all things being equal, you’re fine.
With that said, sometimes things aren’t equal and the harsh abrasives in, for example, whitening toothpaste, might harm your teeth. The TL;DR: as always is you should talk to your dentist about dental care.
**EDIT** to add more marketing: you’re probably using 3-4 times more toothpaste than you need. The pictures on the box and in ads show _waaaay_ too much toothpaste.