Toothpaste Guide: What is the Best Toothpaste for Your Needs?

Choosing the right toothpaste can be a bit of a challenging task, especially if you’re unsure of what to look for. When strolling down the aisles of your local pharmacy or grocery store, you’ll notice that there’s an enormous variety of toothpaste options available. From whitening to anti-cavity to tartar control and everything in between, it all probably sounds great. But which type of toothpaste is right for you?

The fact of the matter is this: Everyone’s teeth are different and thus require varying forms of dental care. Rather than making a blind guess as to which toothpaste is the best for you, dental pro Dr. David Evans of Boulder, Colorado, is here to help you find the right toothpaste for your unique needs to ensure your mouth stays as healthy as possible.

The Best Dentist Recommended Toothpaste

When shopping for toothpaste, Dr. Evans recommends finding a brand that contains fluoride to fight cavities, as well as triclosan to kill bacteria if you frequently face gum issues or bad breath. “You may also want to avoid artificial colors or flavors, and if you suffer from canker sores, avoid SLS (sodium lauryl sulfate),” he says.Fluoride Toothpaste

If you don’t experience any particular type of dental issue and simply want healthier teeth overall, Dr. Evans suggests Crest Pro Health ($4). “It’s the only toothpaste accepted by the American Dental Association in six categories,” he says. “It whitens, reduces sensitivity, and helps prevent cavities, gingivitis, plaque, and bad breath.” He also recommends Colgate Total as a great all-around toothpaste for most patients. It contains both fluoride and triclosan to fight cavities and gingivitis, and also helps to fight bad breath.

For children, dental hygiene is especially important. Establishing good dental health habits early on will help ensure your child stays on a path to wellness throughout the course of his or her life. Be sure your child uses kid-friendly toothpastes that contain lower fluoride content than adult versions, and try introducing flossing early on to promote gum health. Get creative on how you can encourage your child to keep his or her teeth clean — buy brightly colored toothbrushes, play music while brushing teeth and establish a fun daily routine that makes brushing and flossing an enjoyable habit. Most importantly, ensure your child receives regular dental checkups every six months to guarantee optimum dental health.

Best Whitening Toothpaste

Although plenty of toothpastes on the market tout their whitening abilities, Dr. Evans says that labeling can be somewhat deceptive. “Overall, most toothpastes aren’t strong enough to whiten,” he says. But if you’re looking for an option for one of the best whitening toothpaste brands that will help you achieve a whiter smile, he recommends Supersmile’s Professional Whitening System ($36-75). It consists of a professional-quality whitening toothpaste and a whitening accelerator to aid in whitening teeth.

For those seeking a more reliable method for whitening teeth, Dr. Evans recommends visiting your local dentist’s office to see what teeth whitening options they offer. His office provides a service called Zoom whitening, which quickly whitens teeth in about 90 minutes for practically instant results.

Best Toothpaste for Sensitive Teeth

Tooth sensitivity is a fairly common problem among adults — in fact, roughly 40 million Americans experience the condition at some point in their lives. That being said, if this is an issue you regularly face, it’s important to find a toothpaste for sensitive teeth that won’t further irritate your teeth or gums. Dr. Evans recommends Sensodyne Pronamel for those with sensitive teeth. “A good toothpaste for sensitive teeth has only 5% potassium nitrate in it,” he says.

Best Natural Toothpaste

A toothpaste labeled as “natural” may contain a variety of ingredients derived from natural sources such as plants or minerals as opposed to artificial preservatives and chemicals. However, Dr. Evans advises that natural toothpaste advocates look for a toothpaste that contains fluoride to help keep cavities at bay. He recommends both The Natural Dentist Anticavity Toothpaste and the Tom’s of Maine as the best natural toothpaste options.

Best Toothpaste for Braces

For those with braces, keeping your mouth clean is especially important … and can be a bit of a challenge due to the brackets and wires in your mouth. That’s why Dr. Evans recommends looking for a toothpaste with a higher fluoride content than others. “It will help prevent white spots and cavities around brackets,” he says. His pick for the best toothpaste for braces? Clinipro 5000 (~$12), a prescription-strength toothpaste that helps to gently strengthen and whiten teeth.

Finding the right toothpaste for your specific needs is essential for your overall dental health. After reading our toothpaste guide, if you’re still unsure of what type of toothpaste to buy, be sure to contact your dentist to schedule an appointment. He or she will be able to examine your mouth and give you professional insight as to which toothpaste is the best for you.