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 in the UK 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.
Oral B Pro-expert range
This is an 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.
The stannous fluoride it contains actually is proven to have multiple benefits, including bad breath control, plaque/gingivitis control, sensitivity control, and stain removal It’s hard not to like that!
Oral-B claims this toothpaste “Starts working on sensitivity immediately for relief within days and starts working immediately by blocking tubules”, which can only be a benefit for this toothpaste. But don’t be surprised if it takes several days or even weeks to gain a full benefit.
Oral-B Pro Expert comes in a few different varieties, which all have a similar ingredients list:
- Clean Mint
- Deep Clean
- Healthy White
- Professional Protection
- Sensitive & Gentle whitening
Beware that whitening versions may cause tooth abrasion, and sensitive toothpastes may cost more for something you don’t need.
Colgate Smile for Good Toothpaste
This is the newest offering from Colgate. It aims to please the health conscious market, being minimalist on ingredients, whilst still containing important fluoride.
I have included this toothpaste due to its availability on the market, and it being a popular and well known brand across the UK. Actually, it seems to be one of the only toothpastes marketed as “natural” from the most common toothpaste manufacturers (Oral-B, Sensodyne, Colgate). You may be more tempted to go for this toothpaste because you are familiar with the branding, and there is no problem with that.
Colgate are making a move towards environmentally friendly packaging by making the tube recyclable, but unfortunately there is still some single use plastic in the tube.
Hello Naturally Whitening Toothpaste with fluoride
Hello are bringing the concept of natural and vegan products mainstream.
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.
- Contains fluoride
- Natural toothpaste, and is also SLS free
- Could have a stronger fluoride concentration
- Plastic packaging
The Humble Co Toothpaste in a Jar
I have included this toothpaste as one of my top recommendations due to the focus on sustainability and natural products.
Their toothpaste in a jar is one of a few products they provide that are aiming to reduce plastic waste, but I have chosen this one as it is totally plastic free whilst also being a good product and a fair price.
It also contains fluoride for protection against cavities.
They are also an ethical company, and each purchase helps the Humble Smile Foundation, which helps prevent suffering caused by oral disease.
Denttabs Toothpaste Tablets with Fluoride
Toothpaste tablets are a great 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.
- Contains fluoride
- Minimal packaging.
- Travel friendly (no liquids).
- Just the right amount each time (1 tablet = one dose).
- Vegan and cruelty free.
- Gluten free.
- SLS free.
- More expensive than regular toothpaste.
- Initial taste and texture can take a bit of 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 in the UK.
- Toothpastes containing fluoride are actually considered to be over-the-counter drugs or medicines.
- Fluoride is the single most important ingredient for protecting the teeth from cavities.
- Fluoride free toothpastes are available, but cannot claim to be “anti-caries” and will not receive the Oral Health Foundation Approval.
- 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 alternative non mint flavour toothpastes available, from unflavoured natural toothpastes to bubble gum flavoured toothpaste.
- Non-mint toothpastes differ in their taste, but 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 be safe for a lifetime of use.
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:
- NHS Dental care and water fluoridation online information, as well as their information on Fluoride
- The Oral Health Foundation’s guide to fluoride
- The Cochrane Library systematic review Fluoride toothpastes of different concentrations for preventing dental caries
- The European Commision Critical review of any new evidence on the hazard profile, health effects, and human exposure to fluoride and the fluoridating agents of drinking water
- Public Health England’s Delivering Better Oral Health Toolkit
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.