What is the best toothpaste? We looked into the toothpastes on the market today, and found the top products based on needs, like cavity control, stain removal, and gum health.
Our reviews are based on the ingredients in the toothpastes, customer reviews, and what dentists recommend.
In this article, we'll cover the following:
- The best toothpaste overall
- The best teeth-whitening toothpaste
- The best sensitive toothpaste
- The best natural toothpaste
- The best toothpaste for bad breath
- Recommendations for smokers
- Alternative and natural options
Keep reading to find the best toothpaste for your oral hygiene needs.
And if you're short on time, here's our roundup of the top toothpastes in the US:
Table of contents
What is the best toothpaste in the US?
Best overall: Colgate Total
Colgate Total provides care and ongoing protection for your entire mouth. Here's what you can expect when you use this toothpaste:
- The removal of old stains and prevention of new stains
- Fighting bacteria for 12 full hours after 4 weeks of use
- Prevention of plaque, tartar, gingivitis, and cavities
- Sensitive tooth relief
- Fresher breath
The active ingredient is stannous fluoride (0.454%) which dentists still generally agree is the best way to fight cavities.
Best toothpaste for whitening: Snow
Our choice for the best whitening toothpaste is this one made by Snow.
Here are the specific ingredients in this toothpaste that make it a great whitening toothpaste:
- Hydrated silica: Removes plaque and other staining particles from your teeth
- Calcium carbonate: Removes plaque and gently removes surface stains
- Hydrogen peroxide: Removes stains for whiter teeth with continued use
- Xylitol: A natural sweetener that helps fight cavities
- Hydroxyapatite: A mineral naturally found in teeth that helps strengthen enamel and protect teeth from cavities
- Sodium citrate: Helps relieve sensitivity
Actually, Snow's whitening toothpaste isn't just one toothpaste. Rather, it's a 2-step routine with morning toothpaste and nighttime toothpaste.
The morning toothpaste has a refreshing mint flavor and the nighttime toothpaste has a calming lavender mint flavor.
This toothpaste routine includes the following features:
- No animal testing
- Made in the USA in a plant that runs on renewable energy
- Designed for sensitive teeth
Whether you want to use this duo to complement your current whitening treatment or as an everyday maintenance strategy is up to you. Check out some Snow toothpaste reviews.
Best toothpaste for sensitive teeth: Dr. Brite
One of our favorite toothpastes for sensitive teeth is Dr. Brite Sensitivity Relief Toothpaste.
The main reason why it is a good toothpaste for sensitive teeth is that it contains hydroxyapatite.
Hydroxyapatite is actually the primary component of tooth enamel and contains essential minerals that help keep tooth enamel strong and healthy. Hydroxyapatite toothpaste helps strengthen enamel and remineralize teeth, and most importantly for our purposes here, it helps to relieve preexisting sensitivity, while preventing future sensitivity.
How? The hydroxyapatite bonds with your tooth's enamel, and fills the tubules that go through your teeth, leading to the dentine. When these tubules are filled, you experience less sensitivity.
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.
If you want some extra help, check out our guide to the best toothpaste for sensitive teeth.
Best toothpaste for smokers: Eucryl
Smokers' toothpaste like this one by Eucryl contains limonene, a chemical constituent of citrus oils, to whiten teeth, and silica, and an abrasive agent to scrub away stains.
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, specialized toothpaste can help.
Best toothpaste for gums: Parodontax
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.
Parodontax has the key ingredient stannous fluoride, which directly targets the plaque buildup that causes gums to get irritated and bleed, and seals the gums along the teeth, also making this good for gingivitis or periodontal disease.
Bleeding gums is usually the first sign of gum disease, which is linked to receding gums, so Parodontax can also help with receding gums.
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. Read more in our article on the best electric toothbrushes.
Find out more about this topic and the best products to use in our full article about toothpaste for gums here.
Best toothpaste for plaque: Arm and Hammer
Baking soda toothpaste can be really effective at helping to control plaque, and Arm and Hammer Advance White is a classic formula.
Dental plaque is a buildup of bacteria and debris around your teeth which can be kept under control with the right toothpaste and 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 during a teeth cleaning, and then resolve to improve your brushing routine to stop it from recurring. Read more about professional cleanings in our guide here.
Best toothpaste for bad breath: TheraBreath
TheraBreath Fresh Breath provides oxygenation to the mouth to attack bad breath and keep breath fresh both day and night. It has aloe vera to help soothe gums, and also contains no SLS, which are often a cause of canker sores.
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.
Read our full article on halitosis for more product recommendations (including some stronger ones) and home remedies.
Best toothpaste for dry mouth: Hydris
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: Colgate Cavity Protection
If you or your child have braces, you're probably wondering about cleaning 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, fluoride for cavity protection, and is quite affordable with a pack of six on Amazon costing less than $10.
You can also purchase a special orthodontic toothpaste like MI Paste, which contains calcium, phosphate, and fluoride which help protect and rebuild enamel. This toothpaste also helps prevent white spots from brackets. Ask your orthodontist for more information, and whether they recommend this braces toothpaste for you.
Best toothpaste for dentures: Fresh ‘n Brite
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.
You should always follow your dentist's instructions when it comes to denture care, which in addition to brushing your dentures should include removing them at night for soaking, and cleaning the areas where you are missing teeth with toothpaste as well.
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.
Best remineralizing toothpaste: Apagard
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 replenishing 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. When this happens, you may want to consider using a remineralizing toothpaste, of which there are quite a few options on the market.
Apagard is a toothpaste that contains nanohydroxyapatite, a mineral that is naturally found in the tooth's enamel, and which, when used as part of your daily oral hygiene routine, can actually strengthen and remineralize your enamel.
If you would like to learn more about how to remineralize teeth, you can read our full tooth remineralization guide.
Best fluoride toothpaste: Crest Gum & Enamel Repair
For cavities and also for treating gingivitis and hypersensitivity, fluoride might be just the ticket. Try Crest Gum & Enamel Repair.
This toothpaste is designed to help protect the gums and remineralize tooth enamel with 10.454% stannous fluoride and hydrated silica.
It protects teeth from acid erosion while treating sensitivity, and provides antibacterial protection to the gums. It also provides further relief after brushing, and during brushing, the extra foaming action allows the fluoride to penetrate underneath gums for farther-reaching protection.
Learn more about your options for high-fluoride toothpaste.
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 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 some options 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.
Read more about this topic in our full guide to the best fluoride-free toothpaste.
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 activated charcoal toothpaste, which many people believe is a good option for whitening naturally. In this article, we explain how it will help whiten your teeth and give you recommendations for charcoal toothpaste.
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.
DentTabs is a German brand of toothpaste tablets that polish your teeth using plant cellulose. They also offer fluoridated and fluoride-free options, keeping everyone happy.
Not everyone likes the taste of mint. Luckily, there are now options for those who prefer other flavors or no flavor at all. Tom's 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 Dr. Brite and Nature's Gate toothpastes address a variety of oral health issues, including sensitivity and whitening, plus they aren't tested on animals, are free of fluoride and have no artificial flavors.
Right now when you use code DRBRITE10 you can get 10% off any Dr. Brite toothpaste and other natural care products too!
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.
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 make a kids' version that tastes like coconut and banana. Yum!
How to choose the best toothpaste
Choosing a toothpaste is a personal matter. Not only does each person have different preferences when it comes to flavor, texture, and ingredients, but you might also have different needs than other people in your family, meaning there is no single best option 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 in our recommendations.
There are other ingredients that are helpful for particular needs, for example, remineralizing sensitive teeth or repairing damage to gums.
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. Read our guide to the best mouthwash to find one that works for you.
Toothpaste for children
Children should be supervised while they brush up to around the ages of six to eight. For children from two to six, parents should apply a smear layer on the toothbrush, and a pea-sized amount can be used for older children.
Many children's toothpaste now has the same composition as regular adult toothpaste, the main difference being flavor and packaging. The flavoring may tempt children to ingest or eat the toothpaste, which is why adult supervision is important.
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 kids' toothpaste as well as the best kids' toothbrushes for them too.
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.
And if you want to take it a step further, you can try making your own natural toothpaste tablets.
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.
There are so many toothpaste brands available, choosing the right one to meet your needs can be tough. The best option 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. Additionally, whatever toothpaste you choose, make sure to check the ingredients carefully if you have certain food allergies.
Is fluoride in toothpaste bad for you?
It depends who you ask. However, most dentists will say that not only is fluoride in toothpaste NOT bad for you, but it's important for 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 a natural way to whiten teeth. Some dentists warn that charcoal in toothpaste is too abrasive, and will erode your tooth's enamel.
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?
One of our favorite toothpastes for this is Hismile, which has hydroxyapatite to strengthen enamel and potassium citrate to combat sensitivity. Dr. Brite is another one we recommend. It targets plaque buildup along the gum lines to improve bleeding gums and protect against gum disease.
WebMD: Dental Health and Fluoride Treatment. Consulted 21st November 2019. NCBI: The effect of xylitol on dental caries and oral flora. Consulted 4th January 2020. ADA.org: Fluoridation FAQs. Consulted 4th January 2020. American College of Prosthodontists: Facts & Figures. Consulted 9th January 2020.