Toothpaste, when used effectively with a good brushing technique, is very important for your achieving good oral health. There are a LOT of different brands and types of toothpastes available. It can be confusing with such choice to know what to use and what is the best for product your needs. If in doubt, consult your dentist for advice on the best toothpaste for you. This choice on what you should use will be based on some of the factors described here. We will also look at some brands as examples of what to look for.
Firstly, is is helpful to know that the main active ingredients in most toothpastes are:
- Fluoride. Used to strengthen the teeth against tooth decay. This is the most important ingredient for most people’s teeth. Adults and children alike are generally advised to always use fluoride toothpastes. Since fluoride was added, the amount of decay people get has greatly reduced. Fluoride comes in different strengths (measured in ppm; parts per million).
- Antiseptics. To reduce the amount of plaque bacteria that causes gum disease and tooth decay.
- Abrasives. To increase the cleaning power of the paste, in terms of removal of both plaque and stains.
The best toothpaste for you highly depends on your own specific dental needs. So it pays to be familiar with the…
Different Types Available
For most people, a ‘total-care’ type product is preferrable. This should contain all of the above ingredients to help fight decay, gum disease and keep your mouth fresh. So you are getting the best toothpaste for gingivitis, cavity control and bad breath etc. all in one product.
You may benefit from a specialized formula. Ask your dentist for advice. There are many different products available on the market:
- Sensitive toothpaste. Ideal product for those with dental sensitivity– has desensitizing agents which help strengthen dentine to reduce the effects of heat/cold. In cases of severe areas of sensitivity, rubbing a little of this paste on can help. Also contains most of the same ingredients of normal toothpastes and therefore can be used as an ‘everyday’ paste.
- Whitening. Whitening formulas have more abrasives present to reduce staining, e.g. in smokers. However they do not actually whiten the underlying shade of your teeth, and as such are a bit misleading. As they can be quite harsh, they may harm the tooth surface and gums over time. They can also cause or increase dental sensitivity.
- Cavity-control. Again any paste with fluoride will help reduce decay. There are some with higher levels of fluoride (over 1500ppm) that are useful in those with a high risk of decay. Your dentist can prescribe very strong concentrations.
- Tartar-control. Useful in those prone to high levels of tartar build-up.
- Children’s. Generally a milder paste. These contain lower levels of fluoride for safety. Up to three years of age, use one with 1000ppm of fluoride. From three on use a concentration of about 1350-1500ppm. Always supervise kids while brushing until the age of about 7. See more advice in our kids section.
Another important tip: DO NOT rinse out our mouth after brushing your teeth. This will only rinse away the beneficial ingredients such as fluoride. SPIT but DON’T RINSE
Use about a pea sized amount while brushing.
Kids should use a pea-sized smear of children’s toothpaste, unless otherwise directed.
A list of some popular brands
Here are some summary toothpaste reviews
It’s hard to go wrong with Colgate. Years of research and development into oral hygiene makes their products extremely reliable. ADA accepted, of course, Colgate Total is a great all-rounder.
Developed in the last decade or so, Pronamel from Sensodyne claims to help reduce the damaging effects that acidic food and drinks have on our teeth. There is some favorable research to back up the claims. If you have any acid erosion damage, this may be the one to consider. Just note that it does not prevent damage totally, you still need to limit the acid in your diet.
Also a good option for those needing sensitive teeth relief, with many favorable consumer reports attesting to it’s results.
Rembrandt make a range of what the claim to be the best whitening toothpaste. This might be good for those who get a lot of external staining (think tea, coffee and red wine stains). But toothpastes can’t actually whiten the underlying shade of the teeth, so don’t expect miracles!
Another safe bet in the all-rounder category, Crest Pro-health ticks all the boxes from what is needed in a multi-action paste.
This Arm and Hammer paste promises to deliver whiter teeth. However it has resulted in mixed reviews, with many claiming it is too harsh. Perhaps among the worst toothpaste on this short list? Let us know if you disagree!
This product from Marvis has quite a few fans, who seem to love the taste and freshness after using it. It has all the ingredients needed… Not sure if it’s worth the premium price though.
Looking for the best ‘natural’ toothpaste? There many more like this on the market, driven perhaps by marketing trends more than by dental health outcomes. If you have the personal preference to buy a “natural” product, then do consider one that at least contains fluoride, like this above.
Another decent option, and relatively cheap. Ultrabrite Advanced Whitening provides good cavity protection but lacks the multi-actions of others on this list.
I end this list with one of my own top rated, this ‘triple protection’ paste from Aquafresh. Approved by the American Dental Association, it does all you could ask from a general purpose paste.
Best Toothpaste: Summary
Knowing what the best toothpaste is for you can be hard with all the choices available. The paste ideally suited to your mouth and dental needs will depend on your own teeth and gums. Often a ‘total-care’ toothpaste is preferrable, but you may benefit from a more specialized product. Ask your dentist for advice if needed.
Continue here for advice on a good brushing technique.