how to choose toothpaste

When you choose a toothpaste at the supermarket or pharmacy, do you simply go with one you’ve used before or seen on TV? Perhaps you choose the toothpaste with the fanciest label. There are some important things your dentist wants you to look out for when buying your toothpaste.


All dentists agree that fluoride is one of the most important ingredients of commercial toothpastes. Fluoride strengthens tooth enamel and also helps repair damage caused by decay. Check your toothpaste label for sodium fluoride or monofluoride phosphate.

Useless Additives

Don’t be fooled by toothpastes that claim to whiten your teeth or reduce tarter. Whitening toothpastes cannot change the colour of your teeth but merely remove surface stains, and can also irritate and damage gum tissue. If you’re serious about whitening your teeth, then a quick chat with your dentist can reveal the options best suited to your teeth. Tartar-control ingredients in toothpastes prevent tartar but cannot remove it, and can cause mouth irritation. Once again, your dentist is the best point of contact for staying on top of tartar issues (and precisely why we encourage check-ups every 6 months!)

Sodium Lauryl Sulfate

If you have a sensitive mouth, avoid an ingredient called Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS). SLS can irritate the gums and lining of the mouth, and can also lead to canker sores. If you’ve noticed these symptoms before, check your toothpaste’s ingredients for SLS and switch to a new type of toothpaste if need be.

The information contained on this website and websites linked to this website (Information) does not constitute or comprise comprehensive medical or dental advice. You should seek dental advice directly from your dentist before acting or relying on the Information.

First published: 06 November 2014

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