The Ultimate Toothpaste Guide

Posted by: Dr. Tim Struwig

The Ultimate Toothpaste Guide

Find your perfect match in 6 easy steps

Have you ever found yourself in the toothpaste aisle, contemplating the rows and rows of colourful boxes, different brands and extravagant claims and benefits, not knowing which one to choose?

As everyone knows the health of your teeth and mouth is an important indicator of your overall health. The first step to great oral health is to choose the right toothpaste that cleans and protects your teeth and mouth effectively. Other than that, you also need to consider how fresh the chosen toothpaste makes your mouth feel, as well as your own personal choices and preferences.

Who would have thought that the mundane task of picking toothpaste off the shelf during your monthly trip to the pharmacy or grocery store could be so overwhelming? It is something you have to taste every day, so why not make it exciting? No one wants to have to use something they hate for such an imperative part of their daily hygiene routine.

Here are some helpful tips to help you make better-informed toothpaste decisions that will make you, your teeth and your dentist happy!

1. Remember the Why

Before we open right up, lets look at the four primary functions of toothpaste:

  • To reduce cavities.
  • To clean and polish your teeth.
  • To reduce the level of bacteria in your mouth.
  • To freshen your breath.

Don’t let all the marketing messages on toothpaste packaging fool or confuse you; you now know what the real purpose of toothpaste is!

2. Remember to Check

When deciding on toothpaste, check for one that contains fluoride. Consistently brushing with fluoride toothpaste is one of the simplest and most effective things you can do to prevent cavities! Fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral that is essential to cavity prevention and tooth decay. For the best protection find a toothpaste with at least 1000 parts per million / ppm fluoride – this reduces cavities by approximately 23%!

3. Remember your Needs

The toothpaste you choose should reflect you and your family’s dental needs. The first thing you notice when you start off on your quest to finding the perfect toothpaste is the different claims being made. Identify your needs, eliminate the rest and you are halfway there!

Here is a breakdown of the different toothpaste options you might come face to face with, to help you identify which one best suits your needs:

Tartar Control Toothpaste

If plaque isn’t removed promptly and effectively it hardens into tartar, which needs to be removed by a dentist. If you tend to build up tartar at a high rate, you are likely to benefit from tartar control toothpaste. Choose a toothpaste formula with multiple anti-plaque agents to help prevent and control the build-up of tartar on your teeth.

Desensitizing Toothpaste

If you have sensitive teeth, often caused by weakened enamel or exposed roots due to receding gums, choose sensitive formula toothpastes to help alleviate your discomfort.

Whitening Toothpaste

If you are an avid coffee, tea (or wine!) drinker, choose whitening formula toothpastes to lessen teeth discoloration and brighten your smile. It is best to look out for toothpastes with hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide as active ingredients.

High Fluoride (Prescription Strength) Toothpaste

If you have a higher than normal risk for cavities or experience conditions like active cavities, a history of cavities in the last few years, exposed root surfaces, large numbers of fillings or crowns, dry mouth, sensitivity or if you have braces, you should ask your dentist about the benefits of using a high fluoride toothpaste.

Gum Health Toothpaste

Plaque found under the gum line can lead to gum disease. If you suffer from this opt for gum health toothpastes to help control plaque and prevent future gum disease.


Some gels often contain mouthwash, which is why they make your mouth feel fresher. If you are one of the people who prefer the consistency, taste and freshness of gels to toothpaste, remember that they often don’t contain fluoride.

Natural Toothpaste

If you are passionate about leading a healthy lifestyle, choose toothpastes containing only natural, non-toxic ingredients. You can even look for recipes online to make your own homemade toothpaste!

Children’s Toothpaste

Children’s toothpastes are developed to meet the special needs of kids, babies and toddlers. Babies and toddlers under the ages 2-3 years old should not use fluoride toothpaste. Once your child is old enough to not swallow toothpaste you can start them on fluoride toothpaste. Remember to supervise your little ones while brushing!

4. Remember the How

Now you have finally found the toothpaste that makes you jump out of bed to brush your teeth in the mornings, while at the same time satisfying your dental needs! Don’t forget that how you brush is just as important as the toothpaste you are brushing with.

5. Remember the Whole

It is important to remember that even though your choice in toothpaste significantly contributes to your oral hygiene routine, it only makes up one small part of it. Brushing your teeth with the perfect toothpaste should always be combined with other aspects of dental care, including brushing after every meal and with the right toothbrush, flossing, a healthy diet and regular visits to your dentist!

6. Remember to Ask

If the thought of being faced with yet another disastrous toothpaste shopping experience immediately gives you a toothache, speak to one of our friendly dentists. Remember, no two mouths are the same, and your dentist is the perfect person to help you determine your unique toothpaste needs to make the entire journey as painless as possible.

Happy Brushing!