Choosing your toothpaste wisely | Things to Consider

Written by Dr Amrita Jain

Medically reviewed by  Dr. Vidhi Bhanushali Kabade BDS, TCC

Last updated May 2, 2024

Written by Dr Amrita Jain

Medically reviewed by  Dr. Vidhi Bhanushali Kabade BDS, TCC

Last updated May 2, 2024

Does Choosing your toothpaste always leave you in a fix?

Choosing your toothpaste

We always ask the dentist to recommend the perfect toothpaste for us. And many of us want to make the choice on our own. Why should offers and discounts given by the company brands decide the perfect toothpaste for us?

With so many toothpaste brands we are always left with dozens of toothpaste options like toothpaste with salt, toothpaste with lime, toothpaste with charcoal, whitening toothpaste, toothpaste for sensitivity, fluoride-free toothpaste, etc

While choosing your toothpaste have you ever wondered what does your toothpaste contains?

Toothpaste for complete care taking care of your teeth as well as your gums. Some of this toothpaste include the Colgate total, Pepsodent, and Closeup.

Mild abrasives

Mild abrasives like calcium carbonate, calcium hydrogen phosphates, various silicas and hydroxyapatite that help remove the plaque, bacteria and the food debris more effectively than using a brush alone. These abrasives also tend to give a polishing effect to your teeth after brushing.


Surfactants like sodium lauryl sulfate which is a foaming agent enabling uniform distribution of the toothpaste to all the areas of the mouth improving its cleansing power.


Sodium fluoride, stannous fluoride and sodium monofluorophosphate are the most popular ingredients in the toothpaste and one should not forget to check this ingredient while buying a toothpaste. make sure your toothpaste contains fluoride. fluoride is beneficial for the formation of teeth and bones. Fluoride helps in reducing the risk of developing tooth cavities.

Antibacterial agents

According to the American Dental Association, triclosan and zinc chloride prevent gum infections by reducing plaque, tartar deposits, and even bad breath. These agents help in fighting the bacteria responsible for causing many of the gum infections like gingivitis and periodontitis.

Agents which make your teeth strong

Hydroxyapatite crystals, calcium phosphates, etc react with the mineral component of the tooth making them more stronger and resistant to the acid attack. This makes it resistant to tooth decay.

Flavouring and sugar agents

Glycerol, sorbitol or xylitol and some flavoring agents are added to the toothpaste to make your mornings more refreshing and motivating. Some studies have proved that toothpaste containing xylitol is more effective in preventing dental caries in the permanent teeth of children than those containing fluoride alone. Hence a combination of xylitol and fluoride toothpaste seems to give better results in preventing cavities.

Choosing your Toothpaste for sensitive teeth

Everyone suffers more sensitivity to some extent but the dentist is a better judge to help you know whether you actually need to use a sensitivity toothpaste or not.

Strontium chloride potassium nitrate or strontium fluoride are the agents used in these toothpaste to relive the teeth from sensitivity. These toothpaste work by filling up the nerve ending tubes which carry the pain signals and blocking them from irritation.

Some of the popular sensitivity toothpaste is Sensodyne for mild sensitivity, Senquel-F toothpaste for moderate sensitivity and Vantej for extreme sensitivity.

Ayurvedic toothpaste for healthy gums

Dentists usually prescribe this toothpaste if you’re suffering from any gum infections, bleeding gums, or ulcerations. ayurvedic fans usually prefer these toothpastes. These contain more of the anti-bacterial agents, turmeric, clove oil, ayurvedic and herbal components ensuring good health of the gums.

Some of the ayurvedic or herbal toothpastes are the Meswak, Himalaya complete care, Vicco, Dabur red toothpaste, NeemAyu Etc.

Charcoal toothpaste for smokers

Smokers usually have a lot of staining on their teeth. These staining can actually get you in trouble in case you’re trying to hide. Toothpaste for smokers usually contains more abrasives to remove the stains on the teeth. your smoking habit. These include the charcoal toothpaste. More abrasives can actually harm your teeth as well hence it is advised to use them for a shorter duration. Healthvit charcoal toothpaste, Herbodent with activated charcoal toothpaste, Charcowhite toothpaste, etc are available.

The truth about whitening toothpaste

Its always been a controversy whether whitening toothpaste actually works or not. For that one need to understand the white colour of the tooth is due to the outer enamel layer of the tooth. Due to attrition(wearing off of the enamel) abrasion and erosion the outer layer of the enamel is lost and the colour of the underlying yellow dentin starts reflecting. It is due to this that the teeth start appearing yellow. No whitening toothpaste can make your white enamel reappear.

Whitening toothpaste claims to remove stains and polish the teeth giving it a more polished look. According to a few dentists the whitening toothpaste show results after 2-3 months of regular use.

The colour coding of toothpaste controversy

The false belief

If you ever happen to look carefully on the pack there are some colour codings seen in small squares. These colour coding claim to reveal the nature of the materials within. The post claims that a green mark means the toothpaste is all-natural, a blue mark means it contains a mix of natural ingredients and medicine, a red mark means it contains natural ingredients and chemical ingredients, and a black mark means it contains all chemical ingredients.

The posts warn people away from using toothpaste with black or red marks and encourage people to pick a toothpaste with green or blue ones.

The Reality

Its a myth that the colour coding makes a distinction between “natural” and “chemical” ingredients. An American scientist helpfully points out, everything in the world is technically a chemical. Even all-natural ingredients are chemical ingredients. Another issue is that it doesn’t really explain what “medicine” is. Is it referring to fluoride, the mineral that’s often added to toothpaste to help protect against cavities? There’s no way to know.

The bigger issue with the colour code hoax is that it’s not accurate information. Companies don’t mark their toothpaste tubes with little coloured squares in an attempt to make people aware of what’s inside their toothpaste. In fact, the reason for the marks has to do with how toothpaste tubes are made. The marks help light sensors detect the end of the tube so that the machines used to prepare the tubes to know where to cut or seal them.

3 things to keep in mind while choosing your toothpaste

No matter whichever toothpaste you use

  • Look for and ADA seal of acceptance
  • Check for the expiry date of the toothpaste
  • Make sure your toothpaste contains fluoride

The bottom line is to make sure you are not allergic to the contents while choosing your toothpaste. If you are not aware of whether you are allergic or not always try a small amount of toothpaste on a small area in your mouth.

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Stay Informed, Smile On!

Author Bio: Dr. Amrita Jain is a practicing dental surgeon since 4 years. She completed her B.D.S in 2016 and was has been a rank holder throughout her course. She suggests “Holistic dentistry is the best dentistry”. Her treatment line follows a conservative pattern which means saving a tooth is of utmost priority and preventing your teeth from getting decayed rather than curing it with a root canal treatment. She inculcates the same while consulting her patients. Apart from her interest in clinical practice, she has developed interest in research and writing over a period of time. She states “It is my clinical experience that motivates me to write and spread dental awareness”. Her articles are well researched with a combination of technical knowledge and clinical experience.

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