Which toothpaste will work best to protect your teeth? And will one paste work better than another to make your teeth extra clean?
Here I will explain what toothpaste to use and how to make sure it is working for you.
Disclaimer: I am not connected with any toothpaste company. Therefore, I base toothpaste advice solely on 40 years of seeing what works best in preventive dental care for my patients.
Too many Toothpaste Choices
Store shelves are filled with toothpaste options. In fact, has anyone else stood there feeling overwhelmed? And then we have Amazon and other online stores with hundreds more choices.
Modern toothpastes promise cures for nearly any dental issue. Products flood the market to whiten your teeth, prevent gum disease, stop the formation of cavities, and reduce sensitivity.
Too many Advertisements and Dentist Recommendations
How many times have you heard, “9 out of 10 (or 4 out of 5 or 100%) of dentists recommend XXXX toothpaste to XXXXX? Does this make you tune out toothpaste commercials?
Truthfully, most dentists have never been surveyed. In fact, no toothpaste or survey company has ever called my office or home asking what toothpaste I recommend.
In most of the ads, the fine print says “of dentists surveyed.” Thus the ads may not offer a large enough sample of dentists to make the advice trustworthy. Also concerning, the survey does not give proof that dentists actually recommend the named toothpaste to their patients.
So—-What is the Best Toothpaste for Your Teeth and Gums?
Based on many years of observing patients of all ages in my office, I have a good grasp on what the choices are and what works best. But my answer may surprise you.
In spite of what ads tell us, there is no magic ingredient or formula that makes one toothpaste better than another. And not one paste guarantees that it will prevent dental problems.
Most Important: A Toothpaste you Will Use
Marketing ads have made buying toothpaste much harder than it need to be. In choosing a toothpaste, the most important question to answer is “Do I like this toothpaste?”
There are several factors that will matter when you answer this question:
Does the toothpaste taste good?
Obviously, if the toothpaste does not taste good, you will not use it. Nor will you develop the habit of regular home cleaning of your teeth and gums.
And if the paste leaves an aftertaste you will not enjoy brushing your teeth with it.
Does the toothpaste feel good?
Toothpastes sometimes feel either gritty and slightly rough to the tongue or they feel smooth (like oil or lotion) and seem to coat the teeth. Also, some pastes foam in the mouth whiles others liquify as you use them.
The feel of the paste usually does not affect how it works to fight tooth decay or gum disease. Personally, I am a fan of baking soda toothpastes. This is not because they work better, but because they feel good in my mouth.
Toothpaste choice comes down to personal preference. Find a toothpaste that feels good in your mouth as you brush your teeth. Then brush at least twice daily for two minutes each time.Dr. Bill Cranford
How does the toothpaste make your mouth feel?
Our hygienists offer a large number of choices for fluoride flavors, from mint to chocolate to bubble gum. Patients feel strongly about what flavor they prefer. The same is true of toothpaste.
Although the flavor does not reflect the way the paste works, it does make the mouth feel a certain way. If minty paste gives you a fresh, clean feel, then that is the right choice for you. Or if a milder paste brings back good memories, use that paste when you brush.
If you find a toothpaste that makes your mouth feel good, then that is the right toothpaste for you.
How much does the toothpaste cost?
My personal preference is a toothpaste that is inexpensive. So I find the lowest cost toothpaste that still has a pleasant taste to me.
In my community and all across the USA, dollar stores such as Dollar Tree and Family Dollar sell toothpaste for (you guessed it) about one dollar.
Go buy a few tubes. Then keep trying them until you find the ones that tastes and feels right to you.
But What about Specialty Toothpastes?
If you Google, “What toothpaste works best?” you will find numerous articles that list various dental problems and then the perfect toothpaste for each problem.
To be honest, it is not that simple. I still go back to “Find a toothpaste that you like.” Some of the specialty toothpastes have ingredients that leave a bad taste in the mouth or that don’t make teeth feel clean and fresh.
Here are the reasons to consider (or not consider) using a specialty toothpaste:
Currently ads for whitening or bleaching pastes are everywhere. But that does not mean they are better overall than other pastes, for several reasons:
- They do not have strong enough whitening ingredients to make your teeth whiter long term. The active ingredients are not as strong as your dentist offers with a professional whitener.
- Brushing with a whitening paste does not allow the paste to stay on the teeth surfaces long enough to bleach the teeth.
- Ingredients that whiten teeth may also irritate the mouth and damage the enamel if not used correctly.
But if you find a toothpaste that whitens AND you like the way it tastes and feels, this is a good choice for you. Like any paste, discontinue use if it irritates your teeth or gums.
Gum Disease Prevention
If you suspect that you have gum disease, do not try to fight that with a certain toothpaste. Rather visit your dentist and begin a plan that he recommends.
Plaque often form on the teeth with gum disease, then turns to tartar. Unfortunately, there is not paste that will remove tartar that lines the surface of the teeth. Toothpaste on a good brush will, however, remove plaque and stop tartar from forming.
But it is the brush and the brusher that removes the plaque, not the toothpaste.
Your dentist may recommend a certain paste as part of a plan to fight gum disease. Only then should you rely on a toothpaste to help your gums.
The most important thing you can do to prevent cavities is not the toothpaste you choose. Instead, it is to brush your teeth two or three times a day for two minutes each time. And to use a soft bristled brush that will not damage your teeth.
If you brush your teeth as your hygienist instructs-for the proper amount of time-with the right brush, then you are fighting cavities no matter what toothpaste you use.
I often prescribe sensitivity toothpastes for patients who have problems with sensitivity. The pastes help on the short term.
But the most important issue is knowing what causes the sensitivity. Exposure to the inner part of the tooth (the dentin) leads to sensitive teeth. More important than the type of paste is a plan to prevent erosion of the enamel in the future.
For most of my patients, a general toothpaste and softer brush will clean the mouth without causing more sensitivity.
Most name brand toothpastes contain fluoride. This includes pastes that have the American Dental Association seal of approval.
Unless a paste is marked “natural” or “fluoride free” it more than likely contains a safe amount of fluoride to add protection to your teeth.
Research proves that fluoride prevents cavities without harming the teeth, so I recommend using a toothpaste with fluoride in it. If your dentist determines that you are at higher risk for dental decay, he may recommend a prescription fluoride toothpaste (Fluoridex or Prevident).
Again, choose a toothpaste that you like to use.
Do I have to use Toothpaste?
No, you do not have to brush with toothpaste to gain the benefits of daily brushing. Numerous studies proved that brushing without paste is just as helpful (and in some cases more helpful) than using paste. It is much better to brush without toothpaste than to not brush at all!
Using a dry brush will polish the teeth and remove bacteria if you brush often and for the right amount of time.
A brush works well to remove dental plaque, a film of bacteria and sugar that leads to tooth decay. But if you are more likely to brush with a paste, then use it to prevent plaque from forming on your teeth.
So—-Why use Toothpaste?
- Feel good—The main reason most of us use toothpaste is that we like the way it makes our mouth feel. And we would never leave home without brushing with our favorite paste.
- Bad breath—Toothpaste helps mask bad breath.
- In reality, toothpaste usually does not remove bad breath. Bad breath often starts in the stomach or throat, which paste cannot cure.
- Brushing does remove food particles that can lead to bad breath, regardless of what paste you use, if any.
- Make you brush—Adding toothpaste that you like will make brushing your teeth a better experience. Thus you will be more likely to brush for longer.
- Balances pH of your mouth—The sodium phosphate in toothpaste will bring down acid in your mouth. This may help reduce tooth decay over many years.
Preventive Dentistry, Toothpastes, and Cranford Dental in Rock Hill, SC
At our office, Dr. Cranford and Dr. Robinson make preventive dental care a big part of the practice. They help their patients prevent dental problems by using good home care.
This would be a good time to talk to the dentist about questions you have about toothpaste based on his examination of your teeth and gums. If you do use a specialty paste, base the choice on the dentist’s advice to you.
Our patients visit the dentist and hygienist regularly for professional cleaning. At this time, the hygienist checks so she can reassure the patient that home care is appropriate. –
Contact our office or call 803-324-7670 if you would like to get started on a preventive dentistry program, including choosing a toothpaste that will help you maintain healthy teeth.
We welcome new patients to our office at 1721 Ebenezer Road in Rock Hill. We would love to welcome you and your family.