Toothpaste Finder: Keep your teeth clean with the right toothpaste
Everything you need to know about choosing the right toothpaste for your needs.
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Best Rated Toothpaste Brand: Sensodyne
Not only did Sensodyne get the top rating for sensitivity improvement, it also took out the overall toothpaste award this year.
Key facts about comparing toothpaste:
- Brushing your teeth at least twice a day is an easy way to help prevent tooth decay. But when you browse the oral health aisle at your local supermarket, how do you work out which toothpaste to choose?
- The most important factors to consider when choosing toothpaste are to look for a product that contains fluoride and has also earned the Australian Dental Association (ADA) Seal of Approval.
- Taste will also influence your decision, but you might have to try a few options to find your favourite flavour.
What should I know about toothpaste?
There's a huge range of toothpaste brands and varieties to choose from, each of which has its own eye-catching packaging and impressive-sounding marketing claims. But what's actually in that tube of minty-fresh paste?
Toothpaste contains two main ingredients to help keep your teeth in tip-top shape:
- Fluoride. This is the most important ingredient in toothpaste. Fluoride strengthens tooth enamel, helping to prevent and even reverse tooth decay, plus it helps keep your teeth free of cavities and is also antibacterial.
- Abrasives. Abrasives are included in toothpaste to remove food and bacteria stuck between your teeth. They also help to remove stains from your teeth. Common abrasives used in toothpaste include calcium carbonate and silica.
Thickeners, sweeteners and flavouring also feature on the ingredients list, while toothpastes designed to perform specific tasks (such as preventing sensitivity) will also contain added extras.
What types are available?
From protecting against cavities to freshening your breath, the packaging on standard toothpastes can feature a wide range of claims. However, there are also toothpastes designed to satisfy specialised dental needs. These typically cost a little extra and include:
- Whitening toothpaste. If you want that perfect Hollywood smile, you might be considering buying a whitening toothpaste. Many of these products rely on an abrasive rather than a bleaching agent, so they remove stains rather than actually whitening your teeth. If you want to whiten your teeth with peroxide, you'll need to consider an at-home whitening kit or a professional whitening treatment.
- Toothpaste for sensitive teeth. If you experience discomfort or plain old pain when you bite into an ice cream, you'll probably want to consider the range of toothpastes for people with sensitive teeth. These feature desensitising agents like potassium nitrate and strontium acetate to block pain signals. Ask your dentist for advice on choosing a suitable product for your teeth.
- Children's toothpaste. Kids’ toothpastes aren’t just about colourful packaging. They also feature a lower fluoride content due to the fact that kids often don’t spit out toothpaste properly, a habit which increases the risk of fluorosis. Children’s toothpaste also has a milder taste to suit kids who may find the taste of adult toothpaste overpowering.
- High-fluoride toothpaste. If you're at a high risk of tooth decay, your dentist may recommend using a high-fluoride toothpaste. These are only available from pharmacies and dentists, not from supermarkets, and are not suitable for young children.
How to compare toothpastes
Make sure you consider the following factors when comparing toothpastes:
As we've already mentioned, this is a key ingredient in toothpaste. The vast majority of toothpastes in your supermarket contain fluoride, but there are some fluoride-free products available.
ADA Seal of Approval
The ADA gives its Seal of Approval to products that have been tested by dental professionals to ensure they work exactly as the manufacturer claims. Look for the ADA Seal of Approval logo on toothpaste packaging.
Your specific dental needs
You’ll also need to consider your specific oral health requirements when buying toothpaste. For example, if you suffer from sensitive teeth, look for a toothpaste designed for sensitive teeth. If you’re shopping for your kids, choose a product designed for children.
If you (or your kids) are fussy about taste, you might want to shop around to find a suitable flavour.
A tube of toothpaste can set you back anywhere from $1.50 to $12. Of course, tube sizes vary, so check the price per 100g to give a more accurate cost comparison between products.
3 things to consider
There are a few other key points to consider before buying toothpaste:
- Water fluoridation. Water fluoridation first started in Australia back in the 1960s and it has been endorsed by everyone from the World Health Organization to the Australian Medical Association as a safe way to reduce tooth decay. But just because you live in an area with fluoridated water doesn’t mean you can choose a toothpaste without fluoride – according to the ADA, toothpastes that contain fluoride should be used in conjunction with fluoridated water as an important method of further reducing tooth decay.
- Toothpaste for kids. The ADA explains that unless recommended by your dentist, children under 18 months of age shouldn't have their teeth cleaned with toothpaste. Instead, a small, soft toothbrush and tap water are recommended. From 18 months to 6 years of age, your child can switch to a kids' toothpaste with lower fluoride content than adult products.
- When should I brush my teeth? The ADA recommends brushing your teeth twice daily, in the morning and at night, for at least two minutes. You can use a soft-bristled brush or an electric toothbrush – check out our electric toothbrush buying guide for more information – and be careful not to push too hard so you don’t run the risk of damaging tooth enamel and gums.
Ready to start shopping? Here's where to buy toothpaste online in Australia.
Best rated toothpaste brand award breakdown
|Overall rating||Value for money||Taste||Effectiveness||Sensitivity improvement|
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