How to Choose the Right Toothpaste

How to Choose the Right Toothpaste

Brushing your teeth is essential to maintaining good oral hygiene, and choosing the right toothpaste plays a pivotal role in this. Though it might seem like a simple choice, with so many different toothpaste options on the market, it can be hard to know which type is right for you. The good news is that we’re here to help you make an informed decision. In this article, we cover the different factors that you should consider when choosing a toothpaste, from the ingredients to look out for, to your unique dental requirements. 

1. Toothpaste Type

One of the first decisions you'll need to make when selecting a toothpaste is the type of toothpaste you require. For most people, a fluoride toothpaste will suffice, but your individual requirements might differ.


Dentists tend to recommend fluoride toothpaste as it strengthens the tooth enamel, and prevents tooth decay and demineralization. Most toothpaste contains fluoride, but you should check the content before you purchase; children over 7 and adults should brush with a toothpaste containing 1,350-1,500ppm fluoride.


If you have sensitive teeth or experience discomfort when consuming hot or cold food and drink, you might want to consider a sensitive toothpaste. These block the pain sensors that respond to the stimuli (e.g. sugar or cold) and, providing yours contains fluoride, help to strengthen your tooth enamel. 


If you want to whiten your smile, you might consider whitening toothpaste which “bleaches” stains and restores the natural white colour of your enamel. Keep in mind that some whitening toothpastes can be quite abrasive, so consult your dentist if you’re unsure if it’s suitable for you — in particular if you have sensitive teeth. 


For those who prefer a natural and more sustainable option, there are toothpastes that are made from plant-based ingredients, and are free from additional additives and preservatives. Providing your natural toothpaste contains fluoride, these can be as effective as “regular” toothpaste products. 


Charcoal toothpaste is a type of toothpaste containing activated charcoal, which will be black or grey in colour. Some of the potential benefits of using charcoal toothpaste include natural stain removal and teeth whitening. 

Toothpaste Tablets

Toothpaste tablets have similar ingredients to traditional toothpaste, but avoid preservatives, such as parabens or sodium benzoate. To use toothpaste tablets, you chew a tablet to break it down into a paste, brush as normal and then spit. Toothpaste tablets are as effective as regular toothpaste, but are better for the environment. In addition, because they contain no liquid, toothpaste tablets are safe and easier to travel with. 

2. Abrasiveness 

The second factor you need to consider is how abrasive your toothpaste is. While some abrasiveness is necessary for an effective clean, overly abrasive toothpaste can lead to enamel wear and sensitivity over time. In 1995, Relative Dentin Abrasivity (RDA) became the international standard for abrasion measurement where lower numbers indicate less abrasiveness. As Debbi Viger (RDH, BHS) explains, any number below 250 is considered to be a safe toothpaste for daily use. 

Choosing a toothpaste with a moderate score ensures you’re getting a good clean, but being gentle on your enamel.

3. Ingredients

Next, you should consider the ingredients you want, and those you want to avoid.

Desirable ingredients in toothpaste include fluoride, mild abrasives, antibacterial agents, desensitising agents (potassium nitrate, arginine, stannous fluoride), calcium and phosphate, and charcoal or sodium bicarbonate if you want to whiten your teeth.

Ingredients that you might want to avoid include harsh abrasives, artificial sweeteners, preservatives and colourants, parabens, triclosan and propylene glycol if you have sensitive teeth. 

In addition, if you have allergies or sensitivities to specific ingredients often found in toothpaste, you might want to consider a natural toothpaste option.

4. Texture

This might seem unimportant on the surface, but the texture (and flavour) of your toothpaste is important! If you’re using a toothpaste that you like, you’re more inclined to brush on a regular basis for the recommended amount of time, whereas if you have a toothpaste you don’t like, you might skip on brushes and time. 

Paste: As the name suggests, toothpaste with a paste-like texture is the most common. It can be described as smooth and creamy, and can come in various flavours. 

Gel: Gel toothpaste is less dense and has a translucent appearance, making it a lighter version of paste-like toothpaste.

Charcoal: As it contains activated charcoal particles, charcoal toothpaste has a slightly grittier texture than paste or gel toothpaste. 

Baking Soda: Toothpaste with baking soda tends to be paste-like, but might also have a slightly gritty texture, which can act as a mild abrasive to help clean teeth.

Toothpaste Tablets: Toothpaste tablets come in the form of small, solid tablets or pills. They can be described as crumbly or powdery before use, but turn into a paste-like texture once chewed. When you start brushing your teeth with the tablet paste, it becomes smooth and can create a foamy lather, similar to a regular toothpaste.

6. Personal Dental Needs

Perhaps the most important factor to consider when choosing the right toothpaste is your unique dental needs. Though you should consult your dentist for personalised recommendations, some common factors to consider include: 

Teeth Sensitivity: If you have sensitive teeth, a sensitive toothpaste can help to reduce sensitivity to hot, cold, and sweet stimuli through desensitising agents.

Gum Disease: Toothpaste for gum disease is specially formulated to combat gingivitis and periodontitis.

Dental Work: If you have dental work such as implants, crowns, or bridges, it's essential to maintain them. Your dentist may recommend a toothpaste that is gentle on dental work while still providing effective cleaning for your natural teeth. 

Nobody knows your oral health better than your dentist, so consult them about your best options for an effective toothpaste if you have specific dental needs. 

Do you also need help choosing a brush? Read our guide on How to Choose the Right Toothbrush on our blog page. 


Brush Fresh is founded and run by a group of UK-based dentists, who specialise in environmentally-friendly and sustainable dental products. From biodegradable bamboo toothbrushes to zero waste toothbrush tablets, our product range has been designed to put both your dental health and the environment first. For more information and dental care advice, head over to our blog page or get in contact with us here.


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