All Toothpastes are the Same, Right?

Most of the time we dash down the toothpaste aisle and snatch up our go-to brand. But do you ever stop and wonder, “Should I try a new toothpaste?” There’s a dizzying amount of options: whitening, stain removal, charcoal, natural, tartar control and more.

How are there so many options? Toothpaste is toothpaste right? Normally you just decide if you want mint or wintergreen flavor. 

Competition in the toothpaste aisle is growing. According to a toothpaste market report released in September 2020, “the global market for toothpaste is projected to reach $18.3 billion by 2025, driven by the sustained growth in population, increasing awareness over oral hygiene, and launch of innovative toothpaste variants at affordable prices.” 

With so many varieties of toothpaste, how do you choose the one that’s best for your teeth? 

All toothpaste is effective at removing plaque buildup from your teeth and gums, which can lead to tooth decay, cavities and gum disease. Toothpaste with fluoride provides an added benefit of strengthening the tooth enamel and making it more resistant to decay. 

What’s the real deal with fluoride? Check out our blog addressing common questions about fluoride. [LINK}

In addition to fluoride, most toothpastes use standard ingredients such as gentle abrasives and thickeners that give it texture and flavoring. Depending on the function of the toothpaste (stain remover, reducing gum inflammation), it may have other ingredients. 

Some things to consider when toothpaste shopping:

Read the label. You want to make sure the toothpaste is safe and will live up to its claims. Toothpastes containing fluoride are regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Review the listed ingredients and any other warnings. Note that toothpastes that don’t contain fluoride are considered cosmetic and don’t fall under FDA regulations. 

Look for the American Dental Association seal of approval. This indicates that the manufacturer has participated in an ADA testing program to determine the product’s safety and effectiveness. A toothpaste containing sugar, for example, won’t get the ADA stamp of approval, according to this article

Be careful in choosing “natural toothpastes.” Any toothpaste labeled as natural doesn’t have fluoride. But most dentists and the ADA don’t recommend toothpaste without fluoride. It remains a key ingredient in fighting tooth decay. 

Lastly, consider personal preference. Many people opt for a teeth whitening toothpaste to help remove stains from coffee, tea or wine. Or, if you’re prone to excess tartar (hardened plaque) buildup, a tartar-control toothpaste might be a good choice. 

Regardless of what toothpaste you choose, make sure you’re brushing your teeth twice a day for at least 2 minutes and flossing daily. That truly is your best defense against cavities, tooth decay or gum disease — all of which can lead to bigger dental problems down the road.