The complete guide to choosing the right toothpaste

It’s become a bit of a minefield in choosing the best toothpaste for your needs as there are so many different types in the shops. There are four types that you’re likely to come across: cavity fighters, gum guardians, sensitivity soothers, and smile brighteners. We’ll uncover what makes them tick and how they can help you.

What toothpaste does (main functions):

Plaque Control – The Defender of Oral Health

One of the critical roles of toothpaste is in controlling dental plaque. Plaque, a major culprit in tooth decay and gum disease, needs regular removal. We recommend toothpastes with effective plaque-fighting ingredients, like sodium lauryl sulfate and antibacterial agents, to keep your teeth clean and healthy.

Cavity Protection – The Shield for Your Teeth

Fluoride-rich toothpaste is your best friend for preventing cavities. It strengthens tooth enamel and helps reverse early signs of tooth decay. Consistent use of fluoride toothpaste is a cornerstone of preventive dental care, something we strongly advocate for all our patients.

Now, let’s explore the four main types of toothpaste and see how they work their magic.

Cavity Protection Toothpastes

How it works: Your everyday, go to, toothpaste. The secret weapon here is fluoride. It is excellent for those who are prone to cavities and stopping them early in their tracks. Fluoride is fantastic at toughening up your tooth enamel. It’s like giving your teeth a shield to fend off those cavity-causing baddies.

Who It’s For: Anyone who wants to keep their teeth strong and free from cavities can benefit from this toothpaste.

Example Products: Oral B Pro- expert, Colgate Total

Gum (Periodontal) Disease Toothpastes

How It Works: Specialised for combating gum disease, it often has special ingredients like triclosan and stannous fluoride. They have been clinically proven to have an antimicrobial effect. These ingredients target bacteria and reduce gum inflammation which is crucial for maintaining optimal gum health.

Who It’s for: Individuals with a history of gum disease, ongoing gum inflammation, or those looking to proactively protect their gum health can benefit from gum disease protection toothpaste.

Example Products: Corsodyl Toothpaste, Colgate Total Advanced Gum Care

Sensitivity Toothpastes

How It Works: Sensitive teeth can be a real buzzkill, especially when you’re enjoying hot coffee or ice cream. Unleash the sensitivity toothpaste! It has ingredients like potassium nitrate or strontium chloride that block tiny tubes in your teeth, so those bothersome sensations are muted. For them to be effective they need to be used consistently, ideally for a period of 2 weeks for you to really notice its effects.

Who It’s For: If you cringe at the thought of cold drinks, hot foods or even sweet foods (not that we should be having too many of them!!) this toothpaste might save the day for your sensitive teeth.

Example Products: Sensodyne Rapid Relief, Oral B Pro Expert Sensitive, Colgate Sensitive Pro-Relief

Whitening Toothpastes

How It Works: Everyone dreams of a dazzling, white smile. Whitening toothpaste contains mild abrasives and chemical agents that help remove surface stains from teeth. These toothpaste types may also contain hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide, which are mild bleaching agents. However, it’s essential to temper expectations; whitening toothpaste can brighten teeth to some extent (as they remove staining) but won’t provide the dramatic results of professional teeth whitening treatments. Moreover, the regular use of them can lead to sensitivity issues, due to the abrasive agents that are in them wearing away your enamel over time.

Who Benefits: Whitening toothpaste is ideal for individuals looking to maintain or enhance the whiteness of their teeth. It’s suitable for those with mild surface stains but may not be effective for deep-intrinsic discoloration. In addition to this, regular use is not advised.

Example Product: Oral B Desensify Gentle Whitening toothpaste

Picking Your Perfect Toothpaste:

Choosing the right toothpaste is crucial for your dental health. At Brightside Dental, we’re committed to guiding you through this choice. Remember, the best toothpaste is one that caters to your unique oral health needs. Schedule a consultation with us to find your perfect match and keep your smile bright and healthy!

Remember, no matter which toothpaste you choose, how you brush is just as important. Brush gently for at least two minutes, twice a day, and swap out your toothbrush/ toothbrush heads regularly (Click here to read our recent blog about electric toothbrushes). 

In the end, toothpaste isn’t just about keeping your breath fresh; it’s about keeping your smile shining and healthy. So, next time you squeeze a bit of that magical gel onto your toothbrush, know that you’re not just brushing – you’re giving your smile the love and care it deserves.

Dr Paarth Darbar BDS (Hons)