A study in Australia has found people are paying a premium for so-called whitening toothpastes that offer no extra benefits.
According to consumer watchdog Choice, consumers are forking out for marketing spin rather than actual benefits when purchasing higher-priced toothpaste.
It reviewed 17 toothpaste products ranging in price from A$1.27 to A$7.99 and broke down product claims such as "advanced-whitening'', "multi-action'', "enamel-lock'', and "micro-cleaning crystals''.
Choice found none of the whitening toothpastes investigated actually contained a bleaching agent required to physically alter the colour of teeth.
"These terms give the impression that the large range of toothpastes all do something different, with the expensive items doing something more than a basic product,'' said Choice representative Ingrid Just.
"In reality, you're paying extra for essentially the same product.''
Most toothpaste products contain the same ingredients, such as fluoride, a mild abrasive such as calcium carbonate or hydrated silica, along with humectants to help the paste retain water.
Thickeners, sweeteners, lathering agents and flavours are added to enhance taste and appearance.
The consumer body said children's toothpaste products were also guilty of spin through the use of colourful packaging and popular cartoon characters.
In Australia, Colgate-Palmolive and GlaxoSmithKline account for 92 per cent of the toothpaste market.