Choosing the best toothpaste for you can be a challenge since there are so many brands and variations to select from. Most of us would just like to know what the world's best toothpaste is, but unfortunately, there's no one right answer. The good news is that there's a product out there for pretty much every need and preference, whether you want to whiten your teeth, improve your oral hygiene, or avoid certain ingredients.
We're here to guide you through the many toothpaste options in the US so you can work out which is the best one for your needs. Keep reading to find out about:
- The best teeth whitening toothpaste
- The best sensitive toothpaste
- The best natural toothpaste
- The best toothpaste for bad breath
- Recommendations for smokers
- The best toothpaste for gum disease and other oral health problems
- Toothpaste with fluoride and without
- Alternative and natural options
Even if you need to try a few brands to find a taste and texture you really like, we hope this guide helps narrow down the options for you.
Table of contents
- 1 What is the best toothpaste in the US?
- 2 How to choose the best toothpaste brands
- 3 Best for oral health problems
- 4 Alternative Toothpastes
- 5 Making your own at home
- 6 Conclusion
- 7 FAQs
What is the best toothpaste in the US?
Choosing a toothpaste is a personal matter. Not only does each person have different preferences when it comes to flavor, texture and ingredients; you might also have different needs than other people in your family, meaning there is no single ‘best toothpaste' for everyone.
What is important is to make sure the toothpaste you use is effective, and this usually means using a fluoride toothpaste.
Fluoride is a mineral that protects the enamel on your teeth—that's the outermost layer that covers everything else inside. Without your enamel, your teeth would be really sensitive (and yellow!). The vast majority of dentists, along with the American Dental Association (ADA), recommend that you use a toothpaste that contains fluoride.
A fluoride concentration of at least 1,000 ppm will give the best protection. There are times when fluoride might not be recommended for you, so we have included some fluoride-free toothpastes further down.
Children should make sure not to swallow fluoride when brushing their teeth so you may want to consider an option with less fluoride, or just make sure to use a small, pea-sized amount. There are different options of toothpaste depending on the age of your child and we've got separate guides that cover the best children's toothpaste as well as the best toothbrushes for them too.
There are other ingredients that are helpful for particular needs, for example, remineralizing sensitive teeth or repairing damage to gums. We'll cover these in more detail further down.
Do keep in mind that no matter how good your toothpaste is, there is no substitute for brushing your teeth twice a day with a suitable toothbrush, and cleaning between your teeth daily with floss, interdental brushes or a water flosser. A good mouthwash can help keep your breath fresh at other times of the day.
How to choose the best toothpaste brands
Different toothpastes are made for different purposes so the best one for you will depend on what you're looking for in your dental routine. Take a look through the list below to see if there's something that would suit you.
What is the best for whitening?
Whitening toothpastes are designed to remove stains from teeth, often caused by smoking or drinking lots of coffee or red wine. Even if you don't indulge in any of these too often, a teeth whitening toothpaste may still help improve the overall color of your teeth, although it won't get them any whiter than their natural shade. There are other whitening methods you can consider if you want more drastic results.
In the past, the best whitening toothpaste would have been really abrasive against your teeth with a gritty texture, but now manufacturers are developing gentler formulas. The jury is still out over how harmful whitening toothpaste can be, so if you're concerned, make sure that you consult your dentist before changing brands.
With all that said, one of the best whitening toothpaste brands is Colgate, and perhaps the best Colgate toothpaste for whitening is Colgate Optic White, which uses hydrogen peroxide to whiten teeth. Reviewers on Amazon also like how clean it makes their teeth feel, with one saying:
“I haven't noticed a difference in the color of my teeth, but they definitely feel much cleaner than when I use other toothpastes”
and another reporting:
“This is the most effective whitening toothpaste out there. I've used this toothpaste daily for five years. It keeps my teeth nice and bright.”
To read more about whitening options, you can read our article here.
The best toothpaste for sensitive teeth
Teeth can become sensitive when enamel wears away, making it difficult to consume hot or cold foods and drinks. Toothpaste for sensitive teeth often contains fluoride, along with other ingredients that help repair, strengthen and protect enamel.
When choosing a sensitive toothpaste, be aware that it might not have a big effect straight away. The key to reducing your tooth sensitivity is to keep up your twice-daily brushing routine with the right toothpaste. Note that if your teeth become painful rather than just sensitive, it's best to have a dental checkup.
The best toothpaste for sensitive teeth in the US is a big call to make, but Sensodyne is a good brand to start with since they focus specifically on this problem. Sensodyne Complete Protection contains .454% stannous fluoride and provides all-around care for teeth and gums.
Another popular product is Sensodyne Pronamel Gentle Whitening. The abrasiveness of some whitening varieties means they can actually make teeth more sensitive, so give this a try if you want whiter and less sensitive teeth. Try it out to see if it is the best Sensodyne toothpaste for you, after all, it gets great reviews on Amazon, with one user saying:
“Sensitive teeth? You'll never look back after trying this toothpaste.”
Smokers' toothpaste recommendations
Smoking can leave yellow stains on the teeth, along with lots of other negative effects. Quitting smoking can lead to your teeth recovering some of their color, but if you're not ready to take that step yet you do have options.
Smokers' toothpaste is generally quite abrasive in order to to scrub away staining, and quite strongly flavored to help mask the smell of smoke. Plus White for Smokers is specially made for smokers to eliminate stains and tobacco breath, but even if you don't smoke you might find it helpful, according to this reviewer:
“I have porcelain veneers and this product works well to overcome drinking tea and wine. The label says it's for smokers, but it's very helpful to those who enjoy a caffeinated beverage and a glass of red wine.”
Best for oral health problems
Most people want whiter teeth, and sensitivity is a normal problem that's straightforward to address. However, you might have more specific problems that you want your toothpaste to help with.
Best toothpaste for gums
You may be wondering what the best toothpaste for bleeding gums or gingivitis is. Did you know that toothpaste isn't just for teeth? The gums are just as important, since problems like bleeding gums and gingivitis can affect your teeth, and even your whole body if they go untreated.
Treating bleeding gums means thoroughly cleaning along the gum line and using floss or interdental brushes between teeth. An electric toothbrush might help you achieve a more thorough clean if there are parts of your mouth that are difficult to clean with a manual brush.
The best toothpaste for bleeding gums might be Parodontax, which directly targets the plaque buildup that causes gums to get irritated and bleed, also making this the best toothpaste for gingivitis or periodontal disease.
Bleeding gums is usually the first sign of gum disease, which is linked to receding gums, so Parodontax also might be the best toothpaste for receding gums.
Best toothpaste for plaque
Plaque is a buildup of bacteria and debris around your teeth which can be kept under control with a good oral hygiene routine. If you have a buildup of plaque and tartar you should go to the dentist first to get it removed, and then resolve to improve your brushing routine to stop it from recurring.
Baking soda toothpaste can be really effective at helping to control plaque, and Arm and Hammer Advance White is a classic formula. One reviewer puts it really clearly:
“My teeth & mouth feel clean, fresh, and teeth look great! Plus my breath smells good for most of the day!”
Best toothpaste for bad breath
No one likes “morning breath” and it's easy to chalk bad breath up to having just woken up. There can be underlying causes to it though, so if you find yourself regularly worried about your breath smelling, pay a visit to your dentist and get checked out.
You might just be an avid coffee drinker or very attached to garlic. If that's the case, pick a bad breath toothpaste that has an extra fresh minty hit like Colgate Max Fresh or one that works to relieve dry mouth—one of the things that can cause bad breath, like this one called TheraBreath Fresh Breath. Most brands have an ‘extra fresh' option in their range, so these are just a couple of examples.
Read our full article on bad breath for more product recommendations (including some stronger ones) and home remedies.
Best toothpaste for dry mouth
Since dry mouth can cause bad breath, you might end up solving two problems by using a dry mouth toothpaste. Colgate makes a toothpaste specifically for those who suffer from this condition called Hydris. Moisture-rich, plant-based materials work to lock in moisture after you brush, and sodium fluoride protects against cavities. It also has a soothing mint flavor that freshens breath. This toothpaste can be used every day, making it an ideal part of your oral hygiene routine if you're concerned about this condition.
You can read more about dry mouth in our dry mouth article here.
Best toothpaste for braces
If you or your child have braces, you're probably wondering about the best toothpaste to use to clean between brackets and under wires. To be honest, your brushing technique is going to be the most important thing when it comes to keeping teeth with braces healthy, but as long as you practice good oral hygiene, you should be fine with a standard fluoride toothpaste like this Colgate Cavity Protection toothpaste. It has a fresh mint flavor, has fluoride for cavity protection and is quite affordable with a pack of six on Amazon costing fewer than $10.
Best toothpaste for dentures
Not all of us are lucky enough to have a full mouth of natural teeth. If you are missing some, most or all of your teeth, you aren't alone. In fact, the American College Of Prosthodontics says that as many as 120 million people in the US are missing at least one tooth, and more than 36 million Americans don't have any teeth. And since dentures are one of the most affordable and popular ways to replace teeth, it's only natural to wonder about the best toothpaste for dentures.
One of the most popular options on Amazon is Fresh ‘n Brite denture cleaning paste. This toothpaste is specifically intended for your false teeth and isn't for brushing natural teeth. You can feel confident in its ability as it is accepted by the American Dental Association for cleaning removable prostheses.
Best remineralizing toothpaste for cavities and decay
There are a variety of reasons you could be losing minerals from your teeth. It's a natural process and your saliva helps counteract it by constantly replenish minerals including:
But sometimes, due to dietary issues or other health issues such as osteoporosis, you might lose more than your body can naturally replace.
Your dentist may give you a prescription to rebuild your teeth minerals and it will usually be in the form of a high mineral content, remineralizing toothpaste. A common one to be prescribed is Colgate Prevident which is a high-fluoride toothpaste, containing 5000 ppm or 1.1% (w/w) sodium fluoride. Because of its high fluoride content, it might be the best toothpaste for enamel.
For an over-the-counter option, Sensodyne Repair & Protect with Novamin is a popular, highly-rated option. It creates a protective layer on any exposed dentin and actually helps repair your teeth. Another option for those looking for a fluoride-free toothpaste that is still remineralizing is Uncle Harry's alkalizing toothpaste. It contains calcium, magnesium and phosphorus. A recent Amazon reviewer said:
“I HATE going to the dentist. Absolutely hate it. So when I got the mother of all cavities which lead to the mother of all abscesses I was desperate to find something that helped. When I started using this product the tooth decay stopped completely and now after about a month of use is starting to reverse. I can not recommend this enough and will never buy another toothpaste again.”
If you would like to learn more about how to remineralize your teeth, you can read our full tooth remineralization guide here.
Best fluoride toothpaste
For the best toothpaste for cavities and also for treating gingivitis and hypersensitivity, fluoride might be just the ticket. Try Crest's Gum Detoxify, which is made with 0.454% stannous fluoride that neutralizes plaque bacteria and fights gingivitis. It also cools gums, providing soothing relief during and after brushing. Its foaming formula allows the fluoride to penetrate beneath the gumline for lasting protection.
Walking down the aisle of a supermarket, you'd assume that all there was on offer was toothpaste from the big brands. However, there are plenty of alternatives to the standard fluoridated, minty, plastic-packaged toothpastes you normally see in the stores.
Whether you –
- Choose not to use fluoride
- Are looking for vegan options
- Want to avoid certain chemicals
- Don't like minty flavors
There are options available. Here's our pick of the best toothpastes that you might not find at the standard corner store, gas station or drugstore.
Best fluoride-free toothpaste in the US
If you've chosen to not use fluoridated toothpaste, there are plenty of fluoride-free toothpaste options on the market. Fluoride-free toothpaste often uses natural ingredients to clean your teeth so you can expect it to taste a little different than the big-name brands.
Tom's of Maine Antiplaque & whitening is one of the best fluoride-free toothpastes available. Instead of fluoride, it uses calcium carbonate, zinc citrate and xylitol to keep your mouth clean. Xylitol specifically has been shown to protect against cavities.
What's the best natural toothpaste?
A natural toothpaste is one where the ingredients all come from plants or naturally occurring sources, rather than being manufactured in man-made processes. Davids Natural Toothpaste ticks this box and the ingredients are EWG verified, and 98% of ingredients come from the US. Additionally, this toothpaste is actually made in California.
If you're looking for a natural toothpaste that can also whiten your teeth, check out your options for the best activated charcoal toothpaste, which many people believe is the best toothpaste for whitening naturally. In this article we explain how it will help whiten your teeth and give you recommendations for the best charcoal toothpaste available.
Toothpaste tablets have started to become more popular as people are focusing on reducing the amount of plastic they use. Brands like Georganics package their products in glass, which is a great help, but there are other ways to reduce waste.
Not everyone likes the taste of mint. Luckily, there are now options for those who prefer other flavors—even chocolate toothpaste—or no flavor at all. Tom's also has a fennel flavored variety that is also fluoride-free.
Some people just can't stand any type of strong flavoring, in which case an unflavored toothpaste should do the job. You can try Oranurse toothpaste which has no flavor to it at all, plus it's an SLS-free toothpaste which means it won't foam up.
SLS, or Sodium Lauryl Sulphate, is an ingredient used in lots of cosmetics and personal care products to help create the foam we're all so used to. Although not a dangerous chemical, it can cause skin and eye irritation for some people when used for long periods. The environmental impact of its production is also a big concern, along with the fact that it's been tested on animals.
There are plenty of toothpastes available that are SLS-free, but Nature's Gate makes one with high ratings that isn't tested on animals, is free of fluoride and has no artificial flavors.
If you've chosen to live a plant-based life, you need to reconsider everything that goes into or onto your body. Your oral health routine is no different, and there are lots of vegan toothpaste options available.
If you do live a vegan lifestyle, you are probably already aware of Dr. Bronner's products. This toothpaste contains 70% organic ingredients, is fluoride and SLS-free and is vegan, all while freshening breath and reducing plaque.
One recent reviewer exclaimed:
“Delicious toothpaste. I love the minty fresh taste without the weird “sweet” flavor toothpastes sometimes can have. I think it works wonderfully- fresh breath and clean teeth! So happy I have finally found a toothpaste that I can feel good about using that I actually like to brush with! Thanks!”
With all the natural toothpaste options out there, it's surprisingly difficult to find certified organic toothpaste. Well, not hard, but your options are definitely limited. That being said, Radius makes an organic toothpaste that is USDA certified organic and contains coconut oil to reduce cavities and whiten naturally. It's also made in the US.
They also make a kids version that tastes like coconut and banana. Yum!
Making your own at home
A lot of the toothpaste brands we've covered above are designed to offer you more control over the products you use. Not everyone likes the idea of certain ingredients going into their bodies, and others want to help look after the environment in any way possible.
To have full control over your oral health routine, you can opt for homemade toothpaste. In this article about natural toothpastes, we cover all of the ingredients that you might have concerns about and give you some recipes to try making your own, homemade toothpaste too.
Exploring eco options for toothpaste can be challenging. In this video, Eco Goddess shares her experience with making her own toothpaste to give you an idea to try.
That's a lot of information to take in, so we've taken some of the most commonly asked about types of toothpaste an neatly packed them into the table below.
There are so many toothpaste brands available, choosing the right one to meet your needs can be tough. The best toothpaste for you and your family is going to depend on lots of factors, and hopefully, we've covered all the bases so you know what to consider.
Remember that no matter how great your toothpaste is, and how much thought you put into what ingredients you want and don't want, the most important thing is to brush twice a day with a suitable toothbrush and clean between your teeth daily.
Is fluoride in toothpaste bad for you?
The answer to this common question will depend on who you ask. Most dentists will say that not only is fluoride in toothpaste NOT bad for you, but it's important in fighting cavities and keeping teeth strong. In fact, the American Dental Association recommends using fluoride in toothpaste for children and even toddlers, (albeit just a smear the size of a grain of rice) as soon as their first teeth erupt. That being said, it's understandable if you are concerned about potential adverse effects of fluoride, and there are plenty of good fluoride-free toothpastes that you can choose from as well.
Is charcoal toothpaste bad for your teeth?
Charcoal toothpaste is said to have many detoxifying benefits, and is touted as a natural way to whiten teeth. Some dentists warn that charcoal in toothpaste can be quite abrasive, and erode your tooth's enamel. So if you are going to brush with charcoal, you should consider using a soft brush and not applying too much pressure. You may also want to consider using it once in a while, and not as your everyday toothpaste.
What is the best toothpaste for sensitive gums?
The biggest reason for sensitive gums is gum disease or gingivitis. To combat this, one should make sure to keep the area along the gum line clean. One of our favorite toothpastes for everything gum-related is Parodontax which targets plaque buildup along the gum lines to improve bleeding gums and protect against gum disease.