September 23, 2021

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The Best Toothpastes for a Brighter Smile and Healthier Mouth

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We took a deep dive to pick out the best toothpastes on the market, because if you’re like us, your oral hygiene routine likely hasn’t changed much since you were a kid: Flossing every night, brushing two times daily, and visiting the dentist twice a year for a cleanup. 

It’s worth considering making some upgrades. And while you can pick from a variety of toothbrushes and floss, toothpaste is where the rubber really meets the road. Maybe you’re chasing a bright, made-for-TV smile? Or perhaps you’re prone to killer breath and need to counter the odorous bacteria? And, every so often, gingivitis comes for us all, whether we’ve been neglecting the floss, brushing with the same brush for too long, or ducking the dentist. 

So we rounded up the very best toothpastes (and, more importantly, our most-trusted dentists’ favorite toothpastes) that take aim at a variety of concerns. It’s time to brush up. 

The Best Toothpaste to Prevent or Fight Gingivitis

Crest Gum Detoxify Deep Clean toothpaste

Gum care is the secret to perfect teeth. It’s the gum tissue that, when strong, prevents bone loss and tooth decay. “Crest Gum Detoxify Deep Clean toothpaste contains stannous fluoride, which has a greater range of benefits compared to the more common sodium fluoride,” says Dr. Keith Bracy, DDS, in NYC. “In addition to cavity and sensitive teeth protection, stannous fluoride fights bacterial endotoxins in your gums, reducing bleeding and inflammation.” In other words: better toothpaste means a healthier mouth.  

The Best Whitening Toothpaste

Sensodyne Extra Whitening Toothpaste for Sensitive Teeth

“A whitening toothpaste isn’t necessarily strong enough to dramatically whiten teeth on its own,” says Dr. Timothy Chase, DDS, of Smiles NY in NYC. “But if you’re looking to achieve a brighter smile, I would recommend Sensodyne Extra Whitening toothpaste. It is one of the least abrasive options out there with fluoride, whitening and anti-sensitivity ingredients, for those with sensitive teeth. Many of the other whitening toothpastes are too abrasive and can cause loss of tooth enamel. Sensodyne helps remove stains for a whiter smile with twice daily brushing.”

The Best Toothpaste to Counter Bad Breath

SmartMouth Premium Zinc Ion Toothpaste

“SmartMouth’s toothpaste fights a real cause of bad breath—sulfur gas,” says Bracy. “Many oral care products just mask bad breath with a mint flavor. This toothpaste contains zinc ions that bind to sulfur, eliminating a common source of bad breath.” You can also consider investing in SmartMouth’s oral rinse, which also contains zinc ions. If you brush and rinse in the morning, you’ll have fresh breath all day, and if you do the same at night, you should wake without morning breath. 

The Best Toothpaste for Cavity Protection

Colgate Cavity Protection Toothpaste (6-pack)

Truth be told, using toothpaste is cavity protection in and of itself. So, while many on this list have their own specific targets, it’s this excellent baseline product from Colgate that promises the absolute essential: It prevents cavities, thanks to its fluoride formula. Plus, this 6-pack of 6-oz. tubes is a steal at $8.

The Best Charcoal Toothpaste

Davids Premium Natural Toothpaste, Peppermint Charcoal, with tube roller

Charcoal is another powerful ingredient when it comes to removing plaque buildup and surface stains. It’s a detoxifying agent, and it shows up in all kinds of grooming products. Brushing with charcoal toothpaste is safer than brushing with charcoal powder, since the toothpaste is more gentle on your enamel. Davids’ particular charcoal toothpaste derives its key ingredient from coconut charcoal, which is enamel safe, and adds peppermint oil to the mix for a refreshing tingle. And, like every Davids toothpaste, this one comes with a tube roller, so that you don’t waste a single drop.

The Best Fluoride-Free Toothpaste

Boka Ela Mint Toothpaste

 Boka thinks that fluoride is not good enough, however, and has thus created a paste with the mineral nano-hydroxyapatite (N-Ha) in its place. N-Ha is the foundation of our teeth and bones, and rebuilds tooth structure while reducing sensitivity. So, the more, the merrier! On top of that, peppermint oils provide a refreshing kick. 

The Best Natural Toothpaste

Tom’s of Maine Natural Wicked Fresh! Anti-Cavity Toothpaste, Cool Peppermint (pack of 2)

Tom’s prides itself in being free of artificial additives like dyes and sweeteners, and this toothpaste is no exception. With it, any tooth’s soft spots are fortified and mineralized before they become cavities, and the 100% naturally derived formula (down to the peppermint-oil fragrance) even feels gentle on teeth.


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