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Which ingredients should toothpastes and other dental products contain, and which should be avoided?
Toothpastes and other oral products can help prevent cavities, reduce tooth sensitivity, reverse and prevent gingivitis (including bleeding gums), reduce bad breath, and help clean and whiten teeth, but there are benefits and risk associated with common ingredients, including tooth staining, irritation, and mucus build-up. In this article, we discuss which ingredients you may want to seek or avoid in your toothpaste. We also explain whether any toothpastes can "restore enamel" and discuss which types of toothpaste are best for veneers and crowns and whether people with such dental restorations should use mouthwash along with brushing.
Sign in as a ConsumerLab member for the details, including examples of toothpastes, toothbrushes, mouth rinses and other oral products from Arm & Hammer, Bazooka, Bioniq, Biotene, Boka, Burt's Bees, CloSYS, Colgate, Crest, Elevate (Allday), Fluoridex, hello, Kinder Karex, Lumineux, Made By Dentists, Moon, OraCoat, Oral B, Parodontax, quip, Redmond, Rembrant, Remin, Risewell, Sensodyne (and Sensodyne ProNamel), Sonicare, TheraBreath, Tom's of Maine, and X-Pur. It also includes our Top Picks among anticavity, desensitizing, antigingivitis, and whitening toothpastes, as well as our Top Pick product for dry mouth and bad breath.
In addition, we discuss anticavity agents (such as fluoride, xylitol, hydroxyapatite - including nano-hydroxyapatite, and theobromine), desensitizing agents (such as potassium nitrate, calcium sodium phosphosilicate, stannous fluoride, strontium, arginine, and fluoro calcium phosphosilicate [BioMin F]), abrasive agents (such as baking soda, charcoal, calcium carbonate, dehydrated silica gels, hydrated aluminum oxides, magnesium carbonate, phosphate salts, sea salt, silicates and diatomaceous earth), whitening agents (peroxides, including hydrogen peroxide rinses), tartar-control agents, antigingivitis ingredients (such as stannous fluoride, triclosan, chlorhexidine, essential oils and salt water rinses), cleaning agents such as sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) and edathamil, flavoring agents (such as xylitol and sugar), coloring agents such as titanium dioxide, inactive ingredients such as glycerin (glycerol), the safety and effectiveness of "natural" toothpastes as well as tooth powders, and the effectiveness of treatments for dry mouth, including Allday Dry Mouth Spray, Biotene, Colgate Prevident 5000 Dry Mouth, and XyliMelts, as well as possible side effects from chewing gum or candies for dry mouth. We also discuss treatments for bad breath, including CloSYS Sensitive Rinse, CloSYS Silver Multi-Benefit Fluoride Rinse, and TheraBreath Fresh Breath Oral Rinse, as well as details about the safety and effectiveness of nighttime teeth guards ordered online. We also discuss whether people who drink water with low or no fluoride should take a fluoride supplement.
Latest Research Updates (Clinical Updates)
Recyclable Toothpaste Tubes?
Burning Sensation From Toothpaste
Theodent for Cavities?
Soft vs. Firm Toothbrushes
Charcoal for Whitening Teeth?
Rinsing After Brushing
For fluoride to work best, it is recommended that you spit out toothpaste rather than rinse, after brushing. A reader asked if the remaining fluoride poses a risk. Find out in our article about toothpastes and dental products.
Toothpastes, Mouthwash, and Probiotics for Oral Health
We answered the following questions this week, all of which relate to our article about toothpastes and other dental products:
- Can hydroxyapatite toothpaste prevent cavities as effectively as fluoride toothpaste?
- Does chlorhexidine mouthwash affect blood pressure?
- Why do some toothpastes contain glycine, and is this ingredient beneficial?
- Are probiotics beneficial for oral health?
Also, find out the abrasiveness of two Fluoridex brand toothpastes.
Tooth Erosion & Foods
Find out which foods and drinks are associated with tooth erosion in our article about toothpastes and other dental products.
When to Floss
- Should you floss before or after brushing? See what research shows.
- Does rinsing with hydrogen peroxide change the microbiome of the mouth? Find out.
- How abrasive is Crest Pro-Health Gum and Sensitivity toothpaste? Learn what its maker told us.
Toothpaste for Sensitivity
If you’re using a toothpaste for sensitivity but find that your teeth are still sensitive, it’s possible your toothpaste is too abrasive for you. Find out which toothpastes have lower or higher abrasiveness in our article about toothpastes and other dental products.
Also find out which types of toothbrushes are most abrasive.
Electric vs. Regular Toothbrushes
Sonic and oscillating electric toothbrushes may be more abrasive than manual toothbrushes, but there are steps you can take to reduce this. Get the details in our article about dental products.
Also, find out which additional ingredients may help strengthen enamel when included in fluoride toothpaste.
Should you worry about fluoridated drinking water?
A recent study showed an increase in dental fluorosis in children in areas with fluoridated water. Should you be concerned? Learn more in the Fluoride section our article about toothpaste and other dental products.
Teeth Whiteners, Coffee & Tea
Should you avoid coffee and tea after using whitening toothpastes or whitening strips? Find out in the whiteners section of our article about toothpastes and other dental products.
Hydroxyapatite vs. Fluoride
Don’t Brush Right After Eating
Are toothpastes that contain nano-hydroxyapatite safe to use? Find out what research suggests in the Hydroxyapatite section of our CL Answer about toothpastes and other dental products.
Sensodyne Pronamel Mineral Boost?
Oral Hygiene and Blood Pressure
Can oral hygiene practices lead to increased or decreased blood pressure? Find out what research suggests in our updated CL Answer about toothpastes and dental products.
Toothpastes Without SLS (Sodium Lauryl Sulfate)
- SLS (sodium lauryl sulfate) in toothpaste can be an irritant for some people. See which toothpastes don’t contain it but are accepted by the American Dental Association.
- Is it okay for a desensitizing toothpaste to be moderately abrasive?
- Are the artificial sweeteners in toothpaste a safety concern?
See our full article about dental products, including tooth whiteners.
Colgate for Whitening?
Whitening Strips for Crowns and Veneers?
Best Mouthwash for Bad Breath
Warning on Toothpaste
A CL Member asked why the label on a popular toothpaste warns that it should not be used for tooth sensitivity for longer than 4 weeks unless recommended by a dentist. Find out why this warning exists in our updated section about our Top Pick toothpaste for sensitive teeth.
Best Form of Hydroxyapatite?
Side Effects of Dry Mouth Treatments
Be aware that many products that stimulate saliva production in people with dry mouth can cause gastrointestinal side effects. Learn more in the Salivary Stimulants section of our article dental products.
Dry Mouth Spray
XyliMelts for Dry Mouth?
Help for Dry Mouth
Salt Water for Gums?
Can rinsing with salt water reduce plaque build-up or help with bleeding gums?
SLS in Toothpaste?
What are the pros and cons of sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) in toothpaste?
Managing Bleeding Gums
Abrasiveness of Sensodyne Toothpaste
We've added updated information about the abrasiveness of four more Sensodyne toothpastes, as provided by a company representative. Get the details in our article Which ingredients should toothpaste contain, and which should be avoided?
Whitening Strips Compared
A recent study compared the whitening effect of a popular Crest peroxide whitening strip to that of two non-peroxide strips promoted as gentler on teeth. Find out which type worked best.
Glycerin and Edathamil in Toothpaste
Top Pick for Whitening Strips
Toothpaste and Rinses
We answered the following questions this week as part of our broader article about "Which ingredients should toothpaste contain, and which should be avoided?"
New Toothpaste Top Pick
See our new Top Pick toothpaste for whitening surface stains, and see what we suggest for deeper stains. Also find out why we changed our mind about our previous Top Pick.
Diatomaceous Earth Toothpaste?
Is diatomaceous earth a safe abrasive ingredient in toothpaste? Find out what research suggests in our updated CL Answer about finding the best toothpaste.
Crown and Veneer Damage from Mouthwash?
Bioactive Glass for Tooth Sensitivity?
Can toothpaste with Biomin F, a "bioactive glass," reduce tooth sensitivity? Find out in our updated CL Answer about Finding the Best Toothpaste.
Toothpaste for Crowns, Veneers, and More
Anticavity Toothpaste: New Top Pick
Top Picks for Toothpaste
Toothpaste vs. Tooth Powder
Is brushing with tooth powder as good as brushing with toothpaste? Find out what research has shown in our answer to the question: Which ingredients should toothpaste contain, and which should be avoided?
Tooth Stains from Toothpaste?
Mucus From Toothpaste?
Which ingredients in toothpaste may cause mucus to build up in your mouth after brushing? Find out in our updated answer to the question: Which ingredients should toothpaste contain, and which should be avoided?
Related CL Answers (5)
5 Tips for Finding a Soap or Body Wash That Won't Irritate Skin
Get 5 tips for finding soap or body wash that won't cause skin irritation. See which soaps we rate best, ingredients to avoid, and phrases on labels that can mislead.
Can fluoride in toothpaste, mouth rinses or drinking water cause attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in children?
Find out if community water fluoridation increases the risk of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in children, and learn what the American Dental Association recommends when using fluoride-containing toothpaste and mouth rinses in children.
PFAS (Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances): How can I avoid PFAS in dental floss, food, water, and other products?
Some brands of dental floss, including Oral-B Glide, may contain potentially toxic chemicals known as PFAS (polyfluoroalkyl substances). Get the details, and learn which floss and pick products are our Top Picks.
Should I worry about getting too much fluoride from drinking tea?
Find out if drinking too much green or black tea can cause an excess of fluoride.
- 5 Tips for Finding a Soap or Body Wash That Won't Irritate Skin
- Can fluoride in toothpaste, mouth rinses or drinking water cause attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in children?
- PFAS (Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances): How can I avoid PFAS in dental floss, food, water, and other products?
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