Is there such a thing as a “best” toothpaste?

With so many toothpastes now available, deciding which one to use can be confusing.

picture of a dentistIf you ask your parents or grandparents, the likelihood is that, providing it is still in existence, they are still using the same brand of toothpaste as they did as a child. There were few choices then and the one that you used was often based more upon taste than anything else.

It couldn’t be more different these days. A quick trip to any supermarket or chemist in Greenwich will reveal just what a wide selection of toothpastes there is to choose from these days.

As patients quite often ask us which is the best one to use, we thought we would put a summary together of the most common types of toothpastes currently available.

Charcoal toothpaste

We’ll start with this one as it seems to be one that is currently being widely promoted by celebrities and influencers and is probably in the public eye a lot at the moment. There are two apparent reasons for using this toothpaste. Firstly, it is claimed that the charcoal ‘pulls’ toxins and bacteria from the gums and therefore helps to prevent gum disease. Some also claim that it helps to whiten teeth.

As far as the first point goes, there has been no real evidence to support this and there are better toothpastes available which can help with your gum health. If it does whiten your teeth, it will do so because of the abrasive qualities of the charcoal. This can also damage your teeth by wearing away the protective enamel if used regularly – verdict – probably best avoided.

Tooth whitening toothpaste

This is a popular toothpaste for obvious reasons. The ones to avoid are those, like charcoal toothpaste, that have additional abrasive elements in it. Others claim to whiten teeth by using the same type of bleaching agent that would be used if you had a teeth whitening procedure at a cosmetic dental practice. Is this a false claim? Well, yes and no. Many of these toothpastes do use a whitening bleach similar or the same as those used within a dental practice environment. The big difference is in its strength. For safety reasons, the bleaching agent allowed in toothpaste is a fraction of that allowed to be used by a dentist. For this reason, patients are likely to notice little difference – verdict – if you avoid additional abrasives, feel free to try this but we feel that you may not get the results that you expect.

Gum disease toothpaste

These toothpastes contain ingredients aimed at keeping your gums healthy. This includes bicarbonate of soda which helps to control bacteria, making it easier to remove. Although some of these may have challenging flavours, this is one that our Confidental Clinic dentists and hygienists believe is worth using, especially if you are prone to gum disease – verdict – worth trying.

Enamel protection toothpaste

Fluoride is added to toothpaste to keep the enamel on our teeth strong and healthy. Some of these products may include additional fluoride. Whether this is necessary in most cases, the jury is out. Do make sure not to let children use this though as too much fluoride can have a negative effect on young teeth – verdict – as long as you use a toothpaste with fluoride, we are not convinced that these offer any additional benefit for most people.

Fluoride free toothpaste

If you use a fluoride free toothpaste, your tooth enamel won’t be as strong and decay is much more likely. This is an easy one – verdict – avoid.

Cavity protection toothpaste

This is very similar to the enamel protection toothpaste and contains additional fluoride. If you are prone to a lot of tooth decay, despite otherwise looking after your teeth well, you might benefit from it. Again, this shouldn’t be used for children and if you do use it, please keep it out of reach – verdict – may be worth trying if your teeth are prone to decay although the alleged benefits have not yet been fully proven.

Tooth sensitivity toothpastes

Sensitive teeth can cause a lot of discomfort and it is understandable that those with this problem buy this type of toothpaste. It works by including ingredients that block pain signals being sent from the nerves of the teeth to the brain. These can be highly effective, especially for relatively mild sensitivity, but it is important that you don’t use it to mask a problem. If you have sensitive teeth, please see one of our Greenwich dentists first. Although you may still use these toothpastes, other longer term solutions may be more appropriate – verdict – by all means use these, but make sure to let the dentist examine any sensitive teeth first.

We hope that you find this blog useful, and do remember that no toothpaste will work miracles and that you still need to see a dentist about any problems that you have with your teeth or gums!

To make an appointment at the Confidental Clinic in Greenwich, please call us on 020 8858 1422.