You are aware of how important regular oral hygiene is, but the number of oral care products available can be overwhelming. Learn how to select the best toothpaste to keep your mouth healthy in between dentist visits. The list below details ingredients to look out for or avoid.

Dentist Tips to Select the Best Toothpaste

1. Fluoride

Many people are unsure as to whether they want a toothpaste that includes fluoride; this is a natural mineral that helps prevent tooth decay, and in areas without fluoridated water, or for those who already have a lot of cavities, fluoride is a good addition to toothpaste and mouth rinses. Fluoride is an important part of oral care, but for those who do wish to avoid it, there are plenty of fluoride-free formulations that can be found in health food stores or in the natural section of your supermarket. 

2. Chemical Additives

dentistMost commercial oral care products will contain a list of ingredients—many of which are not immediately recognizable by the average consumer. Certain ones to avoid if you don’t want chemical ingredients are:

  • Sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS): a surfactant or foaming agent that has been linked to mouth sores.
  • Saccharin and Sorbitol: artificial sweeteners that some prefer to avoid as they have been linked with certain health conditions and may cause diarrhea in children.
  • Artificial colors and flavors: common in many kinds of toothpaste, they are derived from coal tar and are linked to a myriad of reactions, from allergies to migraines. 
  • Propylene Glycol: a softener for cosmetic products that is also a main ingredient in anti-freeze. It is generally regarded as safe but is best avoided by children who have less control over how much toothpaste they may swallow.

Ask your dentist for specific toothpaste recommendations for babies and children.

3. ADA Approval

The American Dental Association puts a seal of approval on tubes of toothpaste that contain fluoride and other ingredients that actively enhance oral hygiene. These products should be free of ingredients, such as sugar, that promote cavities and be scientifically tested as safe. Toothpaste manufacturers do not have to seek ADA approval, and many safe, effective brands may not have the seal.

4. Ingredients for Specific Considerations

Toothpaste may contain ingredients that address specific goals, such as plaque or tartar control, whitening, or for those with sensitive teeth and gums. Choose a toothpaste that best fits your needs. Look for silicates, such as calcium carbonate, dicalcium phosphate, kaolin, bentonite, or silica, for whitening and plaque removal. Natural flavors of mint or cinnamon freshen breath, and potassium nitrate, a mild numbing agent, is good for sensitive teeth.


Choose a toothpaste knowledgeably and see a dentist regularly to keep teeth healthy. C.R. Sfeir D.D.S., General Dentistry, in Lorain, OH, offers preventive oral care, including oral cancer screenings, exams, cleanings, and cosmetic and restorative procedures. Their dentists have 29 years of experience serving the Amherst/Lorain area. Call (440) 960-5200 to schedule an appointment or visit the website to learn more about their services.