When you go to the store to buy a new tube of toothpaste, you expect it to be a simple task. Yet when you arrive at the toothpaste aisle, the number of choices is overwhelming. Should you get whitening? Extra-whitening? Tartar control? What’s the difference, and which one is best for your teeth? There are many things to consider when buying toothpaste, so we put together this helpful guide to help make your decision easier.
Types of Toothpaste
Confused by the different types of toothpaste available? Find out what they all mean so you can decide which one is best for you.
Most toothpaste contains fluoride, a special chemical that aids in cleaning teeth and strengthening enamel. However, there has been some controversy over how essential to dental hygiene fluoride really is, so if you’re worried about the possible side effects, you may want to opt for a non-fluoridated toothpaste instead.
If your teeth are bothered by extreme temperatures or other irritants, sensitive toothpaste may be the best option for you. These toothpastes contain special ingredients which help block pathways that lead to nerves in the teeth.
Whitening toothpastes don’t usually contain bleaches; instead, they contain abrasive components that help polish the teeth and remove stains. This may sound harmful, but studies have suggested that whitening toothpaste is no more harmful than other toothpastes. However, you may want to keep in mind that whitening toothpaste doesn’t do the job of a professional bleaching – it simply helps to remove minor stains and touch up a faded smile.
When plaque isn’t removed from the surface of teeth, it turns into a hard substance called tartar. This is hard to remove and can ultimately lead to gum disease, so it’s important to try to prevent it. Tartar control toothpaste contains ingredients that helps to prevent tartar from forming on the teeth, so if you’re prone to tartar build up, you may want to consider this toothpaste.
Ingredients to Beware Of
Once you’ve figured out the type of toothpaste you want to use, check the back of the labels for some ingredients that can be harmful to your teeth. Use your best judgment on which ones you want to avoid; it may not be possible to elude them all.
- Sodium Lauryl Sulfate: This chemical has been known to create a variety of health problems, especially if ingested. It can stay in the body for up to five days, accumulating in vital organs such as the heart, liver, brain and lungs. If combined with certain other chemicals, sodium lauryl sulfate can turn into harmful carcinogens.
- Diethanolamine(DEA): DEA has been known to disrupt hormones and form harmful nitrates that form cancer.
- Propylene Glycol: An active component in antifreeze, propylene glycol can be absorbed through skin and affect the brain, liver and kidney, causing abnormalities. Be careful not to get toothpaste containing this ingredient on your skin!
- Triclosan: Triclosan is a chemical that has been classified by the Environmental Protection Agency as a pesticide. It produces risks for both the environment and human health, as many suspect that it may be a cancer-causing chemical.
If you still can’t decide on a toothpaste, try one of these. Real Simple recently released a list of toothpastes that they believe are the best. Here’s some of the ones that made the cut and why.
1. Colgate Total Enamel Strength. Earning the title of “Best Overall,” Colgate Total Enamel Strength fights plaque and bacteria for up to 12 hours, leaving your mouth always feeling clean and fresh. In addition, it protects your enamel, so you don’t have to feel guilty about drinking a sugary and acidic soda during the day.
2. Tom’s of Maine Clean and Gentle Care. If you’re looking for a toothpaste that also helps heal bitten cheeks or even a sore throat, Tom’s of Maine Clean and Gentle Care is the toothpaste for you.
3. Burt’s Bees Fluoride-Free Natural Whitening Toothpaste. To avoid all harmful chemicals, this all-natural toothpaste by Burt’s Bees contains cranberry extract and silica, instead of artificial flavors, colors, and sweeteners.
4. Luster White 7 Toothpaste. The best whitening toothpaste, according to the list. It contains seven polishing ingredients, and is said to noticeably brighten smiles in just one week of use.
5. Crest Pro-Health Sensitive Shield. If your teeth are sensitive, try out this “Best for Sensitive Teeth” toothpaste. It creates a strong barrier around teeth to prevent delicate nerves from being irritated.
If you have any questions about the best toothpaste for you, you can always ask your dentist. Your dentist will be able to recommend products for you and tell you if the toothpaste you’re currently using is doing a decent job or not.
This is a great read! The wrong toothpaste can definitely make oral care less enjoyable.
What do you think of enamal protective toothpastes like Pronamal Is this the best one?
While I don’t see it on the ADA’s list of toothpastes with their seal of approval, I do know many dentists who recommend it. And looking at the ingredients, there doesn’t seem to be anything you should be wary of. Pronamel looks like a good choice!
Great article on what to avoid – in your list you’ve missed the best toothpaste I’ve found – fights germs more effectively than any other and you only need a fraction of the amount most people use: doTERRA’s On Guard toothpaste. I’d be happy to send you a sample and more information.
Thank you for sharing!
I think I might be sensitive to fluoridated tooth paste because my mouth always stings when I use it so I bought some tom’s training toothpaste without it and it seems to work but my teeth don’t feel as clean after brushing, would the clean & gentle toothpaste work better?
I’m glad you decided to try a different toothpaste! If your mouth stings when you brush your teeth, you definitely want to find something that works better for you. If you don’t feel like your teeth are getting clean after brushing, I would recommend trying the clean & gentle toothpaste. You also want to make sure, whichever toothpaste you use, that you are also flossing and using an ADA-approved mouthwash at least once a day. That can help your teeth feel cleaner, as well. If you’re still unsure about what to use, I would recommend consulting with your dentist for his/her best recommendation. Hope that was helpful for you! Thank you for writing.
I use Crest 3D White and it lists sodium fluoride 0.243% and no other ingredients and no other. What is your opinion of it? Please
Crest 3D White is not an ADA-approved toothpaste so I would recommend steering clear of it. You can find some better toothpastes to use listed in the post above or in the link I just provided here. I hope that was helpful for you! Thank you for writing.
Why are these harmful ingredients allowed to be in toothpaste?
Most likely it’s because what was once thought as okay to include in toothpastes has since been proven to be harmful, and manufacturers have been unable or unwilling to change how they make their toothpaste. However, many have, and that’s very important! Many manufacturers have heeded these studies and have made changes to their toothpaste for the greater good of their consumers’ health and dental health.
However, isn’t Colgate made out of the USA?
A cause for concern to me.
Colgate is made in the U.S.
I use Colgate sparking white mint zinc and that has the ingrediants sodium Lauryl sulfate in it as a inactive ingrediants. Is that one okay?
As long as you aren’t ingesting it, you should be fine. If you can find another toothpaste that does not have that ingredient in it, I would recommend that, or even making a homemade toothpaste, which wouldn’t have the toxins in it.
thanks i have been well informed.
Thanks for reading, Pius!
Thanks for the informative post. I now have real direction when choosing between all the seemingly similar varieties on the shelf. I think I’ll give Colgate Total Enamel Strength a try. The 12 hour protection is what did it for me.
Thanks for reading, Jesse!
Great Job. Patients ask this question all the time. Glad to see it being clarified so well on the net. Keep Up the good work!
What always amazes me is people thinking that all toothpaste is created equally when it’s not. These are great tips to help you pick the right one.
Thanks for stopping by, Lauren!
Thank you for all of your great information and suggestions. I will visit your web site often! Thank YOU again. Sincerely. Dianne
Thanks for reading, Dianne! Glad you found it helpful!
this was very helpful, thanks
Thanks for stopping by!
This is a great post and helps out a lot when deciding on a new tooth paste. I really enjoy Burts Bee’s brand and have been using it for awhile and it works great. Thanks again I am definetely going to pass the great post along.
That’s a great suggestion for a brand. Thanks for stopping by, Dental Practice Brokers!
I enjoyed this article and you are correct, toothpaste has become a specialized item. I recommend the Butler Sensitivity Toothbrush I think it is the #472. It works by not removing the agent your toothpaste is trying to apply. It is available on line and for sale to the public. My patients are happy they can enjoy brushing without pain. I consider this item a necessity for my patients with sensitive teeth.
Thanks for the tip, Becky!
A well-written article about toothpaste.
Thanks for reading, Howard!
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Thanks for stopping by, Agatha!
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Thanks for reading, Tammy!