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Tips for Choosing the Right Toothpaste for Your Family

Most people know that choosing the right oral health care tools can benefit the entire family’s health, but it can be difficult to know which type of toothpaste is best. 

Tartar control. Whitening action.  Baking soda.  To reduce confusion as you wander the toothpaste aisle, here are a few tips for choosing the right toothpaste for your family.


  • Be sure your toothpaste carries the ADA seal of approval, which indicates that the product will work effectively.

  • For all family members over age 2, select a toothpaste that contains fluoride, a mineral that strengthens tooth enamel and helps prevent decay. This is especially important if your drinking water does not contain fluoride.

  • If you are shopping for toothpaste for your children, try choosing a toothpaste with their favorite characters or flavors. This makes brushing fun, and it may make it easier to get them to do it. 

  • Choose a toothpaste that meets your individual needs. For example:

    • Sensitive Teeth. If you have sensitive teeth from gum recession or tooth abrasion, you may want to avoid toothpastes that feel gritty – this may mean they are too abrasive. You can also choose a desensitizing paste.  Expect it to take about four to six weeks to see improvement in sensitivity.

    • Tartar Control. Brands of toothpaste that advertise “tartar control” usually have the active ingredient pyrophosphate. While it will not remove tartar, studies have shown it will reduce tartar formation up to 36 percent. Tartar (calculus) can only be removed with a professional prophylaxis (cleaning).

    • Abrasiveness. Many types of toothpaste now contain baking soda, which is less abrasive than traditional toothpaste ingredients. This is advantageous for reducing tooth sensitivity in people with gum recession or for those who have eroded their teeth by rigorous brushing with abrasive toothpaste.

    • Whitening. Bleaching teeth to make them lighter has recently become popular. Whitening toothpastes help maintain the tooth shade after bleaching procedures. If you want the benefits of a whitening toothpaste, look for the active whitening agents of carbamide peroxide or hydrogen peroxide.

    • Dentures. If you wear partial or full dentures, they will stain and absorb odors. Ask us to recommend an effective denture cleaning paste or solution.


Toothpaste typically comes in gel or paste form, so people often wonder if one is better than the other. The answer is that it comes down to a matter of personal preference.  Gels and pastes typically have the same ingredients and work the same way, so you can use whichever type you prefer. Ideally, you should purchase the type of toothpaste that you are most likely to use on a regular basis!

If you have questions about selecting the right toothpaste for your family, please do not hesitate to ask.