So much can go awry if you slip up on your oral hygiene: stains, gum disease, tooth decay, cavities, bad breath, stains, and more. That’s why having the best toothpaste is key. Toothpaste is the single product that can protect teeth, minimize decay, and eliminate the bacteria that compromise gums and breath. Using a high-quality toothpaste with a great toothbrush (as well as flossing regularly and rinsing with a top-notch mouthwash) will ensure excellent, long-term oral health.
With the help of some dentist friends, we pinpointed the best toothpastes for an overall clean, strong, and fresh smile. While the following toothpaste are universally good for your teeth, each is unique in its offering. So, should you need something more prescriptive for your gums, sensitive teeth, or halitosis, then choose accordingly. Ahead, the seven best toothpastes for your specific needs.
Best Whitening Toothpaste
“A whitening toothpaste isn’t necessarily strong enough to dramatically whiten teeth on its own,” says Dr. Timothy Chase, DDS, of Smiles NY in NYC. “But if you’re looking to achieve a brighter smile, I would recommend Sensodyne Extra Whitening toothpaste. It is one of the least abrasive options out there with fluoride, whitening and anti-sensitivity ingredients, for those with sensitive teeth. Many of the other whitening toothpastes are too abrasive and can cause loss of tooth enamel. Sensodyne helps remove stains for a whiter smile with twice daily brushing.”
Best Toothpaste for the Gingivitis Scare
To best protect your teeth and the bones from which they grow, you’ve got to focus your oral care regimen on the gums. It’s this tissue that, when strong, prevents bone loss and tooth decay. “Crest Gum Detoxify Deep Clean toothpaste contains stannous fluoride, which has a greater range of benefits compared to the more common sodium fluoride,” says Dr. Keith Bracy, DDS, in NYC. “In addition to cavity and sensitive teeth protection, stannous fluoride fights bacterial endotoxins in your gums, reducing bleeding and inflammation.”
Best Cavity Protection Toothpaste
If you don’t have any serious dental issues and are just looking for a gold standard to ward off pesky cavities, look no further. This classic toothpaste checks all the boxes: protects against cavities, controls tartar, strengthens enamel, fights off odor, removes stains, and prevents new stains. Like Crest Gum Detoxify, it has stannous fluoride to eliminate bacteria and leave your mouth fresher than ever.
Best Toothpaste for the Guy with Breath Issues
“SmartMouth’s toothpaste fights a real cause of bad breath—sulfur gas,” says Bracy. “Many oral care products just mask bad breath with a mint flavor. This toothpaste contains zinc ions that bind to sulfur, eliminating a common source of bad breath.” You can also consider investing in SmartMouth’s oral rinse, which also contains zinc ions. If you brush and rinse in the morning, you’ll have fresh breath all day, and if you do the same at night, you’ll wake without morning breath, for once and for all.
Best Fluoride-Free Toothpaste
Fluoride is more or less considered a good thing in that it prevents tooth decay; most major U.S. cities have in fact adopted water fluoridation to naturally deliver the mineral supplement to you. Boka thinks that fluoride is not good enough, however, and has thus created a paste with nano-hydroxyapatite (N-Ha) in its place. This mineral N-Ha is the foundation of our teeth and bones, and rebuilds tooth structure while reducing sensitivity. On top of that, peppermint oils provide a refreshing kick to the toothpaste.
Best Natural Toothpaste
Tom’s prides itself in being free of artificial additives like dyes and sweeteners. This toothpaste helps whiten and strengthen the teeth, protecting it from stains and cavities alike. Soft spots are fortified and mineralized before they become cavities, and Tom’s 100% naturally derived formula feels gentler on teeth than other name brands. Even its flavoring—peppermint in this case—is derived from natural oils, not synthetics.
Best Charcoal Toothpaste
Activated charcoal (a.k.a. activated carbon) is another clutch ingredient when it comes to removing plaque buildup and surface stains. It’s a detoxifying agent, and it shows up in all kinds of grooming products. Brushing with charcoal toothpaste is safer than brushing with charcoal powder, since the toothpaste is more gentle on your enamel. This particular charcoal toothpaste has the distinction of being an “Amazon Choice,” thanks to it’s competitive price and positive reviews.
Speaking of reviews, here’s what one satisfied user had to say: “My teeth look much whiter than before! I drink coffee every morning and it appears the toothpaste is removing the yellowish stains from the coffee plus anything else that stained my teeth. My teeth didn’t look that white before at all. I’m very pleased with this toothpaste and will be purchasing it in bulk again! Consider using a normal, fluoride toothpaste a few times a week as well to reduce tooth sensitivity and protect your teeth.”
Best Toothpaste for a Dry Mouth
Suffering from dry mouth is no fun — it causes a range of issues, including an increased risk of sores in your mouth. Normal toothpastes can disturb a dry mouth, but not Biotene. It’s specially formulated to provide a gentle, effective cleaning without irritating a dry mouth. It’s earned 4.8 out 5 stars on Amazon, with reviewers reporting less canker sores and blisters after switching.
Best Weird Toothpaste
Nothing about this product reminds you of toothpaste. The texture, for example, is watery, as opposed to pasty. A faint minty scent might offer a clue that’s in toothpaste, but it’s dispensed from a cylindrical pump, instead of a tube, like a skincare product. And then, in your mouth, it fails to suds up, or sear the insides of your cheeks—it merely coats your teeth until you rinse. And THEN your teeth feel cleaner than they ever have before, right there in your bathroom. The formula, which hails from Silicon Valley, eschews fluoride for a food preservative called edathamil that causes plaque bacteria to fall off enamel like grime off a power-washed deck. Your move, Colgate!