Table of Contents
- What To Look For
- Suggested Products
- Best Toothpaste All-Around: Crest Pro-Health
- Best Toothpaste For Sensitive Teeth: Sensodyne Pronamel
- Best Toothpaste for Teeth Whitening: Crest 3D Luxe Glamorous Toothpaste
- Best Toothpaste For Teeth Whitening: Colgate Advanced Deep Clean
- Best Toothpaste For Bad Breath: TheraBreath PLUS Fresh Breath Toothpaste
- Best Toothpaste For Cavities: Crest Tartar Protection
- Best Toothpaste For Enamel: Arm & Hammer Enamel Strengthening Toothpaste
- Best Toothpaste For Kids: Tom’s of Maine Anticavity Fluoride Children’s Toothpaste
- Proper Brushing Technique
- Oral Health Tips
- Best Toothpaste Wrap Up
Let’s face it, toothpaste isn’t sexy. You won’t be bragging to your co-workers at the water cooler about this sweet new anticavity toothpaste you just got. You won’t be posting to facebook or twitter about your increased remineralization and you certainly won’t be telling your hot date next week how awesome your whitening toothpaste is (although hopefully they’ll notice!).
Even still, it’s a pretty darn important part of our oral health. The type of toothpaste you get can massively impact the health of your teeth, gums, and oral tissue along with affecting things like bad breath, teeth color and sensitivity. It’s a big deal, and as much as we don’t really want to care about it, we have to.
In an effort to reduce the amount of time the world spends looking for the best toothpaste for a variety of purposes, we put together this all-inclusive guide that explains it all. We’ll start out with some basics on what to look for when purchasing a new tube of paste, what categories we’ve divided the products into and then we’ll suggest what we think is the best toothpaste for all eight categories. Already know all about toothpaste? No worries, just skip to our product suggestions and skip the info stuff!
Any questions? Good. Let’s get to it!
What To Look For
Before we get into which toothpaste we think work the best, let’s go through what exactly we should be looking for. There are a few main concepts you’ll want to be aware of before you embark on your quest to find which toothpaste works best for you.
Similar to how the ingredients in a meal will change how the meal tastes and what purpose it serves, the ingredients in toothpaste massively changes how it affects your mouth. The inclusion or absence of certain chemicals will entirely change the purpose of the toothpaste, so it’s good to have a basic idea of what each one of them does. Below we’ll do a quick run-through of the main ingredients you’ll find in toothpaste and what purpose they serve.
First and foremost is fluoride. You’ll find this ingredient in a large number of toothpaste, mainly because it works so well. For a number of reasons though, it’s got a bit of a bad rap. We go a bit more in-depth into the dangers of fluoride (or lack thereof) in our article about fluoride free toothpaste, but to keep it short, it really isn’t dangerous at all. Regular use of fluoride along with the small amounts added to our water are completely beneficial and lead to adverse health effects.
What is the goal of fluoride? Well, it basically allows our teeth to rebuild with a stronger material. Normally our teeth build their outer layer (the enamel) with something called hydroxyapatite. This material is pretty great at protecting our teeth, but it’s a bit weak against acid. If fluoride is present however, our teeth rebuild with something called fluorapatite instead. This material is much more resistant to lower pH levels, meaning that our teeth can withstand acid a lot better. Simply put, your toothpaste should have fluoride in it – it really works. The two circumstances in which you’ll want to go with a fluoride free toothpaste option are:
- After a discussion with your dentist
- If you have children who may accidentally swallow toothpaste
Otherwise, get a toothpaste that includes fluoride and you’ll make your teeth very happy.
If you’re looking to pick up the best whitening toothpaste on the market, you’ll probably want to look for something that includes hydrogen peroxide (otherwise known as H2O2). It’s pretty much the only chemical that will actually bleach teeth.
The two main ways teeth are whitened via toothpaste are abrasives (more on that below) and bleaching. Bleaching will ensure that not only the outer areas of your teeth are whitened, but the inner ones are. It’s pretty much the only way to whiten your teeth – everything else just removes stains.
You’ve probably heard that calcium is good for teeth. Yup, it is. That’s why you’ll find a number of cavity and enamel based toothpastes full of it. If you’re trying to repair a stone wall you’ll probably need some stone.
The same applies for teeth. If you’re planning on rebuilding enamel and patching some holes, it’ll be a good idea to include one of the main ingredients used in actually building enamel – calcium.
Suffer from sensitivity? Potassium Nitrate is your best friend then. The concept is pretty simple:
The parts of the tooth that have all of the nerves in them are called the dentin and the pulp (just like on orange juice). A number of reasons can cause these two areas to become exposed, or at least less protected. This can be tooth decay, gum recession, gingivitis and more.
As their protection wears away, sensations such as hot and cold (the most common sources of pain) will reach the nerves more easily. Potassium Nitrate ions will attach to these nerves and block sensations that cause pain.
The end result is less sensitivity, however Potassium Nitrate itself only treats the symptoms. If you suffer from sensitivity or hypersensitivity then you’ll want to make sure you’ll properly fighting tooth decay and acid erosion to protect the sensitive parts of your teeth more effectively.
Finally we come to abrasives. That’s the other way to ‘whiten’ your teeth. We put whiten in quotes because abrasives don’t really do that… they really just removes stains. Either way, the end result is teeth that look brighter and more attractive.
The big issue you’ll find with abrasives is that they often lead to sensitivity. It makes sense – you’re rubbing small particles all over the outer edges of your teeth to get rid of stuff. Nonetheless, it works pretty well. Most toothpastes will whiten with abrasives as opposed to hydrogen peroxide because H2O2 takes a little while to take effect and most people only (or at least should) brush their teeth for two minutes.
In your battle to protect your gums and teeth, the type of toothpaste is your biggest and most effective tool. You wouldn’t want to build a house with a set of gardening equipment, so make sure you brush your teeth with the right type of toothpaste. Below we’ve got the basic categories we’ve divided products into along with a quick description of each:
- All-around Health: This category focuses on something that’s pretty good taking care of all aspects of your oral health. You’re looking for a toothpaste that has a variety of ingredients that work to keep your mouth healthy from multiple angles.
- Sensitivity: This category focuses on dealing with sensitivity issues. The main idea here is to have a toothpaste without abrasives or grittiness along with the use of the ingredient Potassium Nitrate (see above)
- Teeth Whitening: Whitening toothpastes are at their best when they’re removing stains, meaning some degree of abrasives. More robust products like whitening kits and white strips work far better at actually whitening teeth. Even still, a bit of hydrogen peroxide in whitening toothpaste can help.
- Gingivitis: The idea here is to kill germs. The more germs/bacteria that attach to your gums, the more they’re eat away at the oral tissue.
- Halitosis (bad breath): There can be several factors that contribute to bad breath. With regards to toothpaste, you want to look for something that helps to prevent dry mouth (many toothpastes dry your mouth out), kill germs and deals with oral acidity.
- Cavities: The main idea here is something that has fluoride and calcium. Fluoride will help your teeth rebuild with a stronger material and calcium will aid in the rebuilding process.
- Enamel: Again, you’re looking for something that has a lot of calcium. Calcium will help in the remineralization process of enamel.
- Kids: The idea here is something that tastes good and gets your kids excited about brushing. Fluoride is completely fine as long as there’s no concern about swallowing toothpaste.
Beyond the ingredients, one of the major areas to look for with toothpaste is the experience. Sure, you’re unlikely to find something that tastes amazing and makes your ecstatic to brush in the morning. On the other side of things though, a toothpaste that you’re not looking forward to using will discourage you from keeping a healthy oral care routine.
The main components that contribute to your experience will be the texture of the paste along with the flavor. Most toothpastes will be in the same ballpark, but even with that, there’s a lot of room for variety.
If you’re not a fan of mint, find a cinnamon toothpaste or something more naturally flavored. If you don’t like something that’s super gritty, look for a smoother, more viscous paste option. The key here is to find something that you don’t hate.
ADA Seal of Acceptance
Finally, the American Dental Association (ADA) has their Seal of Acceptance that they give to products they feel are safe and exemplary at what they do. There are a lot of products out there that are safe and effective without the ADA Seal of Acceptance, but purchasing a product that is backed by America’s largest dental organization gives you a certain peace of mind.
Many of the products on our list have the ADA Seal of Acceptance, but not all of them do. Regardless, it’s something to look out for.
Below we’ve got our collection of the best toothpaste for each major category. Take a look through and find the one that works best for you!
Best Toothpaste All-Around: Crest Pro-Health
Crest Pro-Health is the only toothpaste to receive the ADA Seal of Acceptance in every single category. It helps to protect you from cavities, gingivitis, acid erision, tartar, plaque along with helping with sensitivity, teeth whitening and bad breath. This toothpaste literally does everything.
As one might expect, there are toothpaste options out there that are better for any of those things than Crest Pro-Health. But they’ll be far worse in other areas. The idea here is to pick something that’ll keep all parts of your mouth and teeth protected. Think of Pro-Health as a jack-of-all trades.
You’ll find the texture to be a bit gritty but very satisfying to brush with. The mint taste is pleasant, albeit not original at all. Overall, your mouth will feel extremely clean and refreshed after brushing, which is how it should be.
The big downside here is the cap. It gets bonus points for being flat on the end (meaning you can stand it upright on your countertop) but it tends to not close super well. Make sure you store this toothpaste in an area that’s away from anything easily damaged. If you find you’ve got issues with yours staying close, just put it in a plastic bag and you’re good to go.
Overall, Crest Pro-Health will keep your mouth and teeth incredibly healthy. It covers all the bases, is certified six times by the ADA and has been proven to work well. You can’t go wrong with this.
Best Toothpaste For Sensitive Teeth: Sensodyne Pronamel
Sensodyne was the original powerhouse for sensitive teeth. Anyone with sensitivity issues knew to go to them for a great product that helped with a major problem. Recently, it seems that they’ve tried to diversify, but the end result is a toothpaste that’s still renowned for its ability to help with sensitive teeth.
Sensodyne Pronamel comes in several different varieties, including their “gentle whitening. I’ll be honest in saying that you’ll find better whitening toothpastes out there on the market. If you’re looking for help with sensitive teeth though, this is where you want to be. The inclusion of Potassium Nitrate in their specialized formula really helps keep your teeth protected from the hot and cold.
The taste includes a relatively subtle mint flavor and the texture is rather gel like. It’s much less gritty and a lot more smooth than most toothpastes. The foaming isn’t nearly as strong in Pronamel, but that’s neither here nor there unless you have a specific personal preference. After brushing your mouth will feel pretty darn clean and within several days of consistent use you’ll find your sensitivity to decrease.
If you’re looking for a toothpaste that’ll help you eat ice cream, get Sensodyne Pronamel. Check out our full review of Sensodyne Pronamel here.
Best Toothpaste for Teeth Whitening: Crest 3D Luxe Glamorous Toothpaste
Finding a whitening toothpaste is like buying a new car. There are a million different options, everyone says there is the best and it’s impossible to sort out the details. Well, we’ve tried a number of toothpastes out there and to be honest Crest 3D Luxe is pretty darn good. You’re pretty unlikely to find that you’ve got a better smile in only two days, but with time you’ll certainly see your teeth whiten.
3D Luxe will whiten your teeth by removing stains using abrasives. It also includes fluoride to help strengthen your enamel. Crest also touts their “Whitelock” technology that helps to prevent stains from happening in the first place. We’ve looked around everywhere and can’t find an actual explanation for what Whitelock is, but we will say that Crest 3D Luxe prevents stains pretty well. This toothpaste doesn’t include hydrogen peroxide, and that’s completely fine. For the small amount of time you brush, the includes of H2O2 often doesn’t do anything at all.
Concerning the experience, it’s just about everything you’d expect in a regular toothpaste. It foams up like everything else, it’s got a strong but not overpowering mint flavor, the texture is pretty standard. You’ll feel like you’re brushing with a totally regular, run-of-the-mill toothpaste.
Our general rule for whitening toothpaste is 12 weeks. This means that you’re not likely to see significant results until that first 90 or so days are over. With 3D Luxe, you’re probably going to see results before then. It varies significantly from person to person.
Best Toothpaste For Teeth Whitening: Colgate Advanced Deep Clean
Given the ADA Seal of Acceptance for gum health and gingivitis, Colgate Advanced Deep Clean is your go-to solution if you’re worried about any periodontal issues. It’s also FDA approved to help prevent gingivitis, so you can feel pretty confident that it’ll do the job well.
The key to Deep Clean’s periodontal magic is the combination of using fluoride and triclosan. The fluoride helps to protect your teeth (as we’ve discussesd) and triclosan is an antibacterial and antifungal agent. It adheres to your teeth for up to 12 hours and helps to kill the little critters on there. Between the two, they kill and protect extremely well.
The experience of Advanced Deep Clean is pretty standard. You won’t find any innovation with flavor, texture or foaming, but that’s fine. This will feel just like any other toothpaste, except Advanced Deep Clean will do a fantastic job of keeping your gums clean.
Best Toothpaste For Bad Breath: TheraBreath PLUS Fresh Breath Toothpaste
If you’ve ever suffered from bad breath, there’s a good chance you’ve heard of TheraBreath. They’re the industry leader in manufacturing the number-one cure for halitosis, TheraBreath mouthwash. Well, if you didn’t know, they also make TheraBreath Fresh Breath Toothpaste and it works pretty darn well.
TheraBreath treats bad breath primarily by using OXYD-8 to balance the pH levels in your mouth. Not only does a low pH start to wear away at your teeth but it’ll also cause some serious bad breath issues. TheraBreath also works to rehydrate your oral tissue by using xylitol.
TheraBreath is a bit odd compared to other toothpaste experiences. You don’t apply water at all and you won’t get any major foaming action. You’ll literally just be brushing the paste around to different parts of your mouth. Afterwards your mouth will still feel very clean, but it won’t be in the normal sense. Concerning the taste, it’s got a noticeable mint flavor to it. You likely won’t find it too strong, but some might consider it more towards the end of ‘tasteless’.
If you’ve struggle with bad breath before, you’ll find great success using TheraBreath PLUS Fresh Breath toothpaste.
Best Toothpaste For Cavities: Crest Tartar Protection
If you’re looking to protect your teeth specifically against plaque and tartar, we’d suggest looking towards Crest Tartar Protection.
The ingredients are basic, but they work very well. Crest Tartar Protection uses fluoride as its main ingredient to help protect against germs in your mouth. The combination of other ingredients does a fantastic job at killing the nasties in your mouth and keeping you free from tartar and plaque.
Concerning the experience, Crest Tartar Protection is fantastic at getting that a fresh feeling in your mouth. The herbal mint flavor is a slightly different take on traditional mint flavors. It’s not totally 100% original and different, but it’s a nice mix-up compared to the minty standard most toothpaste come with. Your mouth will feel fresh and clean afterwards, just like after the dentist.
If you’re worried about leftover food, germs and bacteria, getting Crest Tartar Protection will do a great job at solving all your oral health concerns.
Best Toothpaste For Enamel: Arm & Hammer Enamel Strengthening Toothpaste
Arm & Hammer isn’t a name that’s always associated with oral care, but it’s a powerful contender nonetheless. Their Plus Enamel Strengthening toothpaste does an absolutely fantastic job at helping to rebuild the enamel on your teeth, and thus protecting them.
The key ingredients in Arm & Hammer’s formula is the combination of fluoride and liquid calcium. As we mentioned above, calcium is a major building block of the material your teeth build enamel with. This combined with fluoride for protection and baking soda/peroxide for neutralizing acids makes a deadly efficient product.
Arm & Hammer aren’t known for making the most flavorful toothpaste out there, and Enamel Strengthening is no different. It’s definitely not the best tasting product on the market but that’s alright. I found that after about two or so weeks of use I really started to appreciate the non-mint flavor. It’s not going to win any awards, but you’ll still get that clean-mouth feeling, if not in a slightly different way.
If you’re looking to help your teeth protect themselves and strengthen your enamel against acid and tooth decay, Arm & Hammer Strengthening Toothpaste will serve you well.
Best Toothpaste For Kids: Tom’s of Maine Anticavity Fluoride Children’s Toothpaste
In our last category, we’ve chosen Tom’s of Maine Anticavity Fluoride Children’s Toothpaste as the best toothpaste for kids. The big thing here is the creative flavors that Tom’s of Maine creates their pastes with. Along with that, Tom’s of Maine Anticavity Children’s toothpaste is has also been awarded the ADA Seal of Acceptance.
Tom’s of Maine focuses in building their products with natural ingredients and that shows here. This toothpaste doesn’t include any artificial sweeteners, dyes or flavors. In addition to that, it’s cruelty free, gluten free, and halal and kosher certified. The main power here comes from the fluoride and the flavor. Having your children use fluoride is essential to helping them build strong teeth, especially while their teeth are still developing. The flavor helps to excite them and makes them brush more reliably.
This toothpaste comes in three different flavor options: orange-mango, silly strawberry and mild mint. As a big fan of strawberry, I obviously found the second flavor to be my favorite, but they’re all pretty great. The unique taste will make your children more enthusiastic about brushing than a standard, boring mint flavor which will in turn help them take better care of their teeth.
If you’re looking to pick up a healthy and exciting toothpaste for your kids, go for Tom’s of Maine Anticavity Fluoride Children’s Toothpaste.
Proper Brushing Technique
Yea yea… I know, brushing teeth seems like a super simple thing to do. The thing is, a lot of people still don’t do it well! To ensure you’re using your freshly purchased super toothpaste to its full effect, we’ve put together a simple guide on how to properly brush your teeth. Give it a skim and make sure that you’re doing everything properly!
- Add a small dab of toothpaste on your toothbrush.
Note: You probably need less toothpaste than you think you do. All you need is a tiny big. The less you use, the less you have to spend on a new tube!
- Add a small bit of water to help activate the chemicals in the paste.
- Set a stopwatch or timer for 120 seconds. Using a timer will help you brush for an accurate amount of time, because as it turns out, humans are pretty terrible at counting time.
- Begin brushing your teeth. Tilt the toothbrush at an angle of about 45 degrees to the surface of your teeth. Brush with short back and forth strokes with little to moderate pressure. Brushing too hard or too fast can damage your enamel.
- Brush the following areas of your mouth in any order:
- Outer surfaces of upper teeth
- Outer surfaces of lower teeth
- Inner surfaces of upper teeth
- Inner surfaces of lower teeth
- Chewing surfaces of all teeth
- On top and underneath your tongue
- As far back on your tongue as you can manage
- When you’re done, rinse your mouth out with water for 10-15 seconds,
That’s it! Do this twice a day and you’re significantly less likely to encounter any oral health issues.
Oral Health Tips
While brushing with the right toothpaste is half the battle, it’s not all you should be doing to keep your mouth and teeth healthy. Below we’ve got our list of quick-tips for oral health. Nothing’s crazy complicated, but it all works.
Oral Care Routine
Along with brushing, make sure to floss and use mouthwash. By themselves, none of these activities will truly keep you healthy but in combination they make a big difference.
Brushing helps to loosen up bacteria and help rebuild teeth. Flossing removes bacteria from tinier crevices and strengthens gums. Rinsing will remove everything you just loosened up along with kill bacteria in additional places that brushing and flossing didn’t get to.
Your diet has a major impact on how healthy your teeth are. Foods high in sugar and starch help to feed the bacteria and germs in your mouth. As a result, they low the pH level of your mouth which causes your enamel to erode.
In addition, foods themselves with high levels of acidity (soda, energy drinks) will also erode away your enamel. Obviously, it’s impossible to switch our diet around entirely to keep our mouths and teeth healthy, but understanding which foods are good and which are bad can help you make better decisions when the time comes.
For those times when you do decide to consume food or drink that’s unhealthy for your mouth and teeth, rinsing afterwards with water, salt water or mouth rinse can be a major help. On average, the food you eat will cause the acidity in your mouth to rise for around 20 minutes afterwards. This includes everything from a full meal to a sip of your friend’s lemonade.
A quick little rinse can make a big difference in adjusting the pH levels in your mouth, killing bacteria, moisturizing your oral tissue and preventing bad breath. Keeping a small container of mouthwash at your desk or in your purse will very much come in handy.
Best Toothpaste Wrap Up
Depending on what your goal is, the toothpaste you choose will be totally different. Finally though, with the information above you’ll be able to easily find a toothpaste that works best for what you need.
If there’s a category you think we missed, please let us know! We’re always interested in keeping our articles up-to-date with useful, relevant information.
Drop us a comment below or contact us using our contact page for any questions, comments and concerns.