Choosing a toothpaste can be overwhelming.
There are hundreds of options, all with their own buzzwords.
To keep things simple, I’ve recommended 5 excellent options below for the best overall toothpaste.
These are all readily available to buy and will do a good job.
I’ve also included advice below on how to choose a toothpaste if you want to pick one that isn’t on our lists.
5 dentist-recommended toothpastes for everyday use
If you just want a good overall toothpaste, I’ve recommended 5 options below.
If there’s a particular type of toothpaste you’re interested in, such as the best natural toothpaste or the best for sensitive teeth, see our more specific posts here.
This is the criteria I have used to select the choices below:
- Contains fluoride.
- May not necessarily be advertised to help with bleeding gums or sensitivity, but if it can do this for the same price as a regular toothpaste, it may well be included!
- If it is a whitening toothpaste, I have deliberately included only those with a low RDA value to minimise potential damage
- Where cost allows, I have opted for the more environmentally conscious toothpastes.
Whenever you’re shopping for a toothpaste, I would recommend factoring the above points into your decision.
Crest Pro Health
This is a super affordable toothpaste which you can find in many places, which is just one of the reasons it makes it into the best overall toothpaste list.
There are a few versions of Crest Pro- Health. For an all-round toothpaste I would recommend using the:
- Crest Pro Health Clean Mint
- Crest Pro Health Smooth Peppermint
Beware that whitening versions may cause tooth abrasion, and sensitive toothpastes may cost more for something you don’t need. You can check out the recommendations for the best whitening and best sensitive toothpastes elsewhere!
- ADA Seal of Acceptance
- Contains stannous fluoride
- Minty flavour
- Easily available in supermarkets and drugstores
- Not vegan or cruelty free
- Plastic packaging
- Not specifically designed for sensitivity or whitening
Colgate Cavity Protection
This is one of the most easily available toothpastes from Colgate, and you should be able to find it almost everywhere, and at a super affordable price. That is why this is recommended toothpaste.
It contains the most basic of toothpaste ingredients: fluoride, which will help to protect against cavities. There are many other toothpastes available from Colgate, and if you wanted something slightly different (for example, you don’t like the taste of this one), then I would also recommend:
- Colgate Kids Maximum Cavity Protection
- Colgate Sensitive Prevent and Repair
Hello Naturally Whitening Toothpaste With Fluoride
Hello are bringing the concept of natural and vegan products mainstream. They are affordable and easily available online and in some supermarkets and drug stores too.
I would recommend either the Naturally Whitening Toothpaste with fluoride, or alternatively you could go for their kids toothpastes which have the same level of fluoride but come in non-mint flavours.
For the best overall toothpaste, avoid the fluoride free pastes available from Hello as these will not provide protection against cavities.
Plaque HD Anticavity Toothpaste
Plaque HD is special, because it stains the plaque on your teeth to help with removal of the damage-causing bacteria. This simplifies the process of “disclosing” as only one product is needed – no need for chewing on tablets.
This toothpaste is great for kids and adults alike. It would be particularly useful to help with brushing around braces and if you suffer from gum disease, as this is when removing plaque is especially important.
There is fluoride for protection against cavities, and two different flavours are available as well as a whitening option.
- Contains fluoride
- Contains disclosing ingredient to show where plaque is
- Easier than disclosing tablets
- Helps make cleaning teeth easier
- Suitable for the whole family
- Mint and non mint flavours available
- Costly toothpaste
- Same effect as disclosing tablets (which are more cost effective)
Denttabs Toothpaste Tablets with Fluoride
Toothpaste tablets are the best option if you are thinking about the environment. And these toothpaste tablets hit the spot for reducing environmental impact whilst still protecting your teeth.
Denttabs have a good balance of natural and organic ingredients, whilst still including those that are needed for an everyday toothpaste. They still contain fluoride at the recommended dose for protection against cavities.
- Free from preservatives and artificial stabilizers.
- Contains fluoride
- 100% plastic free packaging – more environmentally friendly.
- Travel friendly option as no liquid.
- Just the right amount each time (1 tablet = one dose).
- Low abrasivity – RDA 30.
- Vegan and cruelty free.
- Gluten free.
- SLS free.
- Some organic ingredients.
- More expensive than regular toothpaste.
- Not that easy to source, only available at select retailers.
- Initial taste can take getting used to.
What is toothpaste for?
Toothpaste isn’t just there to freshen your breath, it actively helps to clean your teeth.
The primary role of toothpaste is to act as an abrasive by removing plaque around teeth and the gum line.
The secondary function of most high street toothpastes is the protection of teeth by the addition of fluoride, which I cover in more detail below.
And whilst it’s important to choose a good toothpaste and use it properly, it’s worth noting that toothpaste alone plays a small role in your oral health care.
Equally as important are using the correct brushing technique, and flossing properly.
How to choose a toothpaste specific to your needs — 7 points to consider
With the hundreds of toothpaste options available, how can you pick the best toothpaste? You may be tempted to stick with the same toothpaste brand, but you could try to pick the best toothpaste for you.
The best toothpaste can be very personal, and there are a number of things to consider. I would take it on a step by step basis, thinking about the following questions:
1. Is there fluoride in the toothpaste?
- There are three types of fluoride approved for use by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Toothpastes containing fluoride are actually considered to be over-the-counter drugs or medicines so are regulated by the FDA.
- Fluoride is the single most important ingredient for protecting the teeth from cavities.
- Fluoride free toothpastes are available, but do not receive the American Dental Association (ADA) Seal of Acceptance.
- If you have a high risk of tooth decay, your dentist may do you a prescription for a special high fluoride toothpaste.
2. Are there specific ingredients you want to avoid?
- This could be for medical reasons, such as an allergy or sensitivity.
- This could be for a number of reasons, such as wanting to avoid ingredients that are harsh on the environment. For example, opting for an SLS free toothpaste.
- If there’s a particular ingredient you want to know about, see our guide to toothpaste ingredients
3. Do you have any specific problems that you need help with?
- Toothpaste can have ingredients added that can help protect your teeth against more than just cavities.
- Gum disease can be improved with specific toothpastes (in addition to following the cleaning regime recommended by your dentist or hygienist).
- If you suffer from tooth sensitivity, you may want to choose a toothpaste containing ingredients to help reduce the discomfort you feel.
- If you have a dry mouth, you may want to avoid ingredients that make this worse, or choose a toothpaste that can help you.
- Some people suffer from tartar build up, and despite good cleaning at home and regular professional cleans, they still get a build up. Some ingredients can help protect against this.
4. Do you want a whitening toothpaste?
- Whilst toothpastes are unlikely to be whitening in themselves, they have an important role in removing and preventing staining of teeth, making them appear whiter.
- Baking soda is a common ingredient used to help remove stains, and there are specific baking soda toothpastes available.
- Smokers suffer from staining and they may benefit from whitening toothpaste.
- Charcoal toothpastes are branded to help whiten your teeth, and there are more and more products available with charcoal as an ingredient. However, there is a lack of evidence around the effectiveness of charcoal and you need to be careful when using it as it can be more abrasive.
5. What flavour do you want?
- The most common flavour for toothpaste is mint.
- There are alternatives available, from unflavoured natural toothpastes to bubble gum flavoured toothpaste.
- Non-mint toothpastes differ only in their taste, and aren’t only for kids!
6. Consider the environment
- Toothpastes come with chemicals, some of which can be avoided by option for a natural toothpaste.
- As an over-the-counter drug, toothpastes will require testing before going to market. You can choose vegan toothpastes and avoid products tested on animals.
- Plastic free alternatives to toothpaste are available to reduce your impact on the environment.
- You can choose toothpastes with sustainable packaging, and recycle packaging through schemes such as Terracycle.
7. Be aware about tooth wear
- Toothpastes contain abrasives to help with their cleaning action.
- Abrasives can cause damage to the tooth surface, removing the enamel layer over time.
- Toothpaste RDA values should be below 250 to receive ADA Seal of Acceptance.
Do your own research
What I wish to emphasise is the need for you to do your own research. What is the most effective toothpaste for one person may not necessarily be the most effective toothpaste for another.
1. Look at our basic guidelines for choosing a toothpaste
2. If you are interested in a speciality toothpaste, see one of our subtopics below
3. If there’s a particular ingredient you want to know about, see our guide to toothpaste ingredients
4. If there’s a particular product you’re interested in, see if we’ve reviewed it
5. Once you’ve chosen a product, make sure you use it regularly and properly. See our guide here on how to brush your teeth.
With some toothpaste ingredients, their level of safety or harmfulness is disputed among the public, scientists, and medical professionals. Often there is no definitive right or wrong answer.
There are often changes in regulations and ingredients too, and whilst we have taken the time to check before releasing any information, these can and do change.
It is not our position at Electric Teeth to comment on the safety of ingredients – but where necessary we can and will present the different arguments from evidence based sources, and to draw your attention to existing discussions and evidence, so that you can make your own decision on which ingredients you are happy to use.
Shopping for a specific type of toothpaste? See our other articles
If you’re shopping for a more specialised toothpaste, you may find some of our other toothpaste posts useful.
- Best toothpaste for sensitive teeth
- Best natural toothpaste
- Best toothpaste for gum disease
- Best SLS-Free toothpaste
- Best non-mint toothpaste
- Best whitening toothpaste
- Best charcoal toothpaste
- Best eco-friendly toothpaste
- Best toothpaste tablets
- Non-fluoride toothpaste
Also visit our toothpaste hub page to see all of our content listed in an easy-to-find format.
What about fluoride free?
As a dentist I am familiar with the arguments for and against fluoride. But I work with evidence.
At present the overwhelming evidence supports the use of fluoride in toothpaste, and in particular I would like to draw your attention to the following pages to help inform you about fluoride:
- The American Dental Association (ADA) Fluoridation Facts resource.
- The Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Recommendations for Using Fluoride to Prevent and Control Dental Caries in the United States.
- The Cochrane Library systematic review Fluoride toothpastes of different concentrations for preventing dental caries
Because of this I am unable to recommend any product that does not contain fluoride as the best overall toothpaste. However, there are developments in the use of calcium phosphates for re-mineralisation, and you can find out more about this in our article about toothpaste ingredients. In some cases, fluoride free toothpastes may contain calcium phosphates which can provide some protection.
I respect that some people will choose a toothpaste without fluoride, and for those people, you can find out which toothpastes are fluoride free in our post on fluoride vs fluoride free toothpaste.