Toothpaste Types: Guide to Finding Your Ideal Match
You already know how important brushing your teeth is to your dental and overall health, but it’s just as essential to select the right toothpaste specific to your needs. With so many different brands and toothpaste types on the market, it could be overwhelming to decide which one is right for you, or you may think it doesn’t matter what you use if you don’t have any oral issues. However, not all toothpastes are created equal, and this article outlines some key differences between them and what to look for to help ensure you’re using the best one for you.
What Does Toothpaste Do?
Toothpaste helps remove food particles and plaque from your teeth. It also helps prevent tooth decay and gum disease and remineralizes your teeth’s enamel for more protection.
What Are the Main Types of Toothpastes?
Most toothpastes are sold over the counter, and it’s what you most likely use to brush your teeth.
Prescription toothpastes have a higher concentration of fluoride than over-the-counter toothpastes, helping with remineralization and preventing cavities. It requires a prescription because too much fluoride can be toxic, so it’s important to follow the directions carefully. You could purchase prescription toothpaste at dental practices or pharmacies.
What Are the Types of Over-the-Counter Toothpastes?
There are many types of over-the-counter toothpastes, but we’ll highlight the more common ones.
The abrasive properties of Baking Soda removes stains. Since it’s abrasive, you shouldn’t overdo it. If you want to use it, we suggest you do so no more than once a week. Either mix it with water before applying it to a toothbrush or mix it in with regular toothpaste.
Similar to baking soda, this is also a whitening toothpaste. However, it was more of a fad around 2018 but has since fallen out of popularity. Although it’s more effective at whitening teeth than whitening toothpaste, it’s very abrasive, so be careful not to brush too aggressively or use it too often because it could damage your teeth.
This is great for people with sensitive teeth. It works by blocking pores on the root’s surface, which, in turn, blocks the pain sensors and makes brushing more comfortable.
As mentioned earlier, remineralization toothpaste contains additional minerals like fluoride to help strengthen your enamel, and we recommend this for most of our patients. Remineralization is crucial because it makes your teeth more resistant to acidic attacks, such as acid reflux or consuming acidic foods and beverages. Remineralization toothpaste can also reverse tooth decay.
This is a newer form of toothpaste where you place tablets in your mouth to hydrate them into a paste. Most of our patients who use tabs do so because they want to generate less waste or save space when traveling. There’s not enough current evidence on their effectiveness, but be sure to purchase tabs that contain fluoride if you want to use them.
This is supposed to help brighten teeth, but we’ve found it’s not very effective. Typically, whitening toothpaste helps remove minor surface stains, but it doesn’t contain enough whitening agents to do much more than that. If you want to whiten your teeth, we suggest in-office whitening. On the other hand, there is no harm in using whitening toothpaste; just don’t use it if you have sensitive teeth.
How Do I Pick an Over-the-Counter Toothpaste?
You don’t have to rely on brand names only when selecting an over-the-counter toothpaste, as they all have FDA approval. Choose a toothpaste with an ADA seal of approval, which guarantees that the toothpaste contains fluoride and no flavoring agents that can contribute to tooth decay.¹ The ADA also considers other characteristics when approving toothpastes, so you can be sure it’s high quality when you spot the seal.
Also, look for toothpaste with “restore and protect” or “remineralization” on the label. Teeth have a hard enamel coating that protects them but weakens temporarily after consuming acidic foods and beverages, and this type of toothpaste can help strengthen them. You also lose minerals as you age, and an acidic environment will rob the minerals more quickly and could be detrimental to the long-term health of your teeth. If you have sensitive teeth, look for a toothpaste that specifically addresses that on the label.
When you see us for your regular teeth cleanings, we can discuss if you should use a higher strength of fluoride and give you a prescription for fluoride toothpaste if necessary. We’ll review your medical history and habits to help make a suitable recommendation.
What Are the Types of Prescription Toothpastes?
As discussed, prescription toothpastes have more minerals, like fluoride, than over-the-counter toothpastes. Because most people don’t need prescription toothpaste, we don’t suggest using it unless you specifically need it. If you do, you can purchase it from us. We sell Clinpro 5000, which is manufactured by 3M.
How Much Does Clinpro 5000 Cost?
A tube costs about $30, but it lasts about six months. If you brush twice a day, that amounts to only about $0.32 per day. We don’t sell this product for a profit; we sell it at a price to cover our costs so we can benefit your health and make it convenient for you to purchase.
Do I Need Fluoride Toothpaste if Fluoride Is in Drinking Water?
The amount of fluoride in tap water is so insignificant that it doesn’t do enough to protect your teeth. That’s why we recommend toothpastes with fluoride to offer the best protection.
Choosing the right toothpaste shouldn’t be overwhelming if you follow our tips on what to look for along with what your needs are. With some research, you can feel confident you’re using the best toothpaste for healthy teeth and gums and a bright, radiant smile.
- Department of Scientific Information, Evidence Synthesis & Translation Research, ADA Science & Research Institute, LLC. (2021, July 8). Toothpastes. ADA.org. Retrieved November 6, 2023, from https://www.ada.org/en/resources/research/science-and-research-institute/oral-health-topics/toothpastes.