Dentifrice abrasivity on dentine is conventionally ranked by various in vitro methods. The abrasivity of selected dentifrices in Switzerland was ranked in 1985 by the gravimetric and in 1989 by the radiotracer method. Because same-named brands of dentifrices were differently ranked by these methods, Swiss clinicians were unsure which ranking to follow. This paper lists the errors known to occur in both techniques, but unfortunately it is difficult to quantitate the magnitudes of these errors. Consequently, it is impossible to determine which method yields the more reliable results. Thus, researchers should look into the problem of dentifrice abrasion scores and try to formulate tests which could simplify the selection of brand-named dentifrices by clinicians and the consumers.