What is the best Toothpaste


Do you ever find yourself standing in front of the toothpaste aisle at the grocery store in awe of the floor to ceiling choices?   Choosing toothpaste can be difficult with so many options.  You will find that you can choose from whitening, tarter control, cavity prevention, sensitivity, gum health and all natural toothpastes.  So the question is, which one is right for you?

Let’s start with the basics. You will want to make sure that your toothpaste contains fluoride and be sure to look for the ADA seal of approval.   This means that the product has been tested and found effective by the American Dental Association.

If you look at the ingredient list on the back of the box, you will see an array of chemicals.  Some of the ingredients you should try to avoid (in my opinion):

  • Sodium Pyrophosphate in tartar control toothpastes:  This chemical does not “remove” tartar that is already on your tooth.  Only a dental hygienist can remove it from your tooth.   It can help slow down the plaque from hardening into tartar.  However, the side effects of this are not worth the benefit.  You would be better relying on mechanical removal with your toothbrush than having a chemical do it.
  • Triclosan: This is an antibacterial agent added to some toothpastes to control inflammation.  I would stay away from this because it may add to your increasing antibiotic resistance.
  • Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS): This is a detergent added to create the suds and foam that makes you feel you are getting really clean.  This chemical can cause canker sores and sloughing of the mouth for some people.
  • Saccharin and aspartame: These are sweeteners added for  flavor.  I am not a big fan of artificial sweeteners, so it is better to find one sweetened with Xylitol, a natural sweetener.  Read this blog post to learn more about Xylitol.

Next, it is best to consider your dental needs.

  • Decay or dry mouth:  If you are someone that gets cavities easily, then you should use a toothpaste containing fluoride.  This mineral can harden teeth and make them more resistant to decay.
  • Sensitive teeth:  Often this is caused by gum recession which makes your root exposed.   Chemicals such as potassium nitrate can interfere with that pain response, but it can take up to a month to notice the change.  I would make sure with the dentist that this is the source of the pain before attempting to correct it with toothpaste.
  • Whitening:  No whitening toothpaste will change the color of your teeth.  It can remove the surface stains to show your natural color.  However, it will take off some of your enamel with the stain.  These generally are way too abrasive.  That will have to be it’s own blog post.
  • Tartar control:   Avoid due to sodium pyrophosphate.  Your toothbrush bristles will do a better job.

My advice is to not rely on toothpaste and just do the work.  Instead of brushing the average 20 seconds that most people do, you should get a Sonicare Toothbrush, set it for 2 minutes, and you will remove plaque and stains.  Stay tuned for the second part where I will reveal my top picks!

About monicaneelydds

Dr. Monica Neely, DDS is a practicing Dentist in Edmond, OK. Dr. Neely graduated from University of Oklahoma College of Dentistry and has been in practice for 24 years. She then completed Advanced Education in General Dentistry (AEGD) Residency, a one-year post-graduate training in complex dental cases.

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