How to Choose the Right Toothpaste

Three different toothpastes, as discussed in how to choose the right toothpaste by Summit Family & Cosmetic Dentistry

Toothpaste shopping should be the easiest part of your trip to the drugstore. The problem is: there seems to be about 1,787,594 kinds of toothpaste to choose from, making it challenging to know what’s good and what’s not.

If you’ve found yourself wondering whether there’s a simple guide that tells you what to look for, you’ve come to the right place. Check out our suggestions below to find out what should be on your ingredient watch list when on the hunt for a new toothpaste.

How to Choose the Right Toothpaste

With so many types of toothpaste, it can be a bit overwhelming to figure out which option would suit you best. Toothpaste is a personal decision, but there are some general rules of thumb to consider when purchasing a new brand. For instance, you’ll want to check the ingredient list to make sure it has what you need.

Look for the ingredients.

We always recommend toothpaste with fluoride to help deter cavities and bacteria from building up in your mouth. You’ll also want to check for these ingredients as listed by the American Dental Association (ADA) to make sure your toothpaste lives up to your expectations and promotes the best oral care:


Detergent ingredients make your toothpaste foam up so that it can wear down plaque while you brush. Look for the following in your toothpaste’s ingredient list to make sure that it’s up to par: sodium lauryl sulfate or sodium N-lauryl sarcosinate. Not only can these ingredients help remove any leftover food that’s lingering on your teeth, but they can also give your mouth a good cleaning.


Toothpaste with calcium carbonate or hydrogen peroxide provides the best whitening treatment. Calcium carbonate tackles stains on the surface of your teeth, restoring your smile. Hydrogen peroxide is similar, penetrating a little deeper than calcium carbonate. Think of hydrogen peroxide like bleach for your teeth. That said, both of these are only surface whiteners, and their effects can be reversed easily. A professional whitening solution whitens your teeth faster, whitening your teeth by several shades in one session, and lasts longer.


This ingredient alleviates pain in and around your teeth due to exposed roots and other dental issues, including but not limited to:

  • Cavities
  • Periodontal disease
  • Tooth enamel erosion

If your teeth are sensitive, we recommend purchasing a toothpaste that contains potassium nitrate or stannous fluoride to build up your nerves’ defenses so that you don’t feel as much pain when drinking your morning coffee or enjoying an ice cream cone with your kids. Keep in mind that it can take several weeks to see results from toothpaste for sensitive teeth. (It’s still 100 percent worth it!)

Plaque Fighters

The best ingredient for plaque prevention is fluoride. (Not only can it reduce your likelihood of getting tooth decay but also gum disease.) We also suggest looking for other abrasive ingredients, including the whiteners mentioned above, as well as “dehydrated silica gels, hydrated aluminum oxides, magnesium carbonate, phosphate salts, and silicates.” These help by doing away with leftover food and debris, which builds up bacteria and causes plaque.

Look for the ADA Seal.

The ADA Seal is one thing that’s non-negotiable when it comes to toothpaste. What is the ADA Seal of Acceptance? It’s a stamp that certifies that your toothpaste ingredients are safe and effective. It also shows that the toothpaste–or other dental product–contains fluoride.

To get the Seal, the toothpaste undergoes a series of studies and tests to ensure it does what it says it does. The Seal lasts for five years or until a product formulation has drastically changed, which would require new testing.

Ask your dentist.

A dentist is your best resource for figuring out which whitening toothpaste is right for you or whether sensitive toothpaste is more your speed. Summit Family and Cosmetic Dentistry is a friendly local dental office committed to meeting your dental needs. We can answer any questions about your oral care, including which toothpaste is best for your teeth.


Looking at toothpaste ingredients is key to choosing the right toothpaste. There’s a different toothpaste for everything–from whitening to plaque removal. As long as you look for the ADA Seal of Acceptance and check the ingredient list, you’re sure to be happy with your new purchase, and your teeth will benefit, too.

Been a while since you’ve seen the dentist? Summit Family and Cosmetic Dentistry is here to assist with all your oral hygiene needs, including routine cleanings. Request an appointment online today.