The 12 Best Toothpastes of 2022 for Better Oral Health

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Byrdie / Sabrina Jiang

According to the American Dental Association, oral health is linked to our overall health—poor dental hygiene can lead to serious health issues, including heart disease and diabetes. So brushing (and flossing) your teeth at least twice daily is non-negotiable. But what kind of toothpaste is best? 

"Ultimately, the best toothpaste for you is your personal favorite, which will make it more likely you'll brush your teeth the recommended two to three times a day," says Dr. Victoria Veytsman, DDS, founder of Cosmetic Dental Studios. There are many formulations to target issues like tooth sensitivity and discoloration, so consider any issues or concerns you have and the dental goals you want to achieve. When in doubt, any toothpaste with the ADA seal is a good choice, Dr. Veystman advises.

Meet the Expert

Dr. Victoria Veytsman, DDS, is a cosmetic dentist and founder of Cosmetic Dental Studios in New York City.

To find the best toothpaste available today, we consulted three dental experts and spent hours researching the top products on the market, evaluating formulation, effectiveness, ease of use, and value.  

Read on to see our top picks, from classic fluoride formulas to travel-friendly tablets.

Best Overall: Crest Pro Health Advanced Deep Clean Toothpaste

4.5
Crest Pro Health Advanced Deep Clean Mint Toothpaste
What We Like
  • Multi-tasking formula

  • Has ADA seal

What We Don't Like
  • Fairly small tube

What do buyers say? 400+ Walmart reviewers rated this product 4 stars or above.

There’s not much this do-it-all formula can’t do; it covers pretty much any and every issue, from cavities to gingivitis to plaque to stains to bad breath. It also touts that oh-so-important American Dental Association’s Seal of Acceptance, meaning it’s passed lab tests and been vetted for efficacy and to meet the high standards of the ADA. Plus, the minty flavor is yummy and it’s super affordable.

Active Ingredients: Flouride | Size: 3.5 ounces 

Best Budget: Arm & Hammer Advance White Extreme Whitening Toothpaste

Arm & Hammer Advance White Extreme Whitening Baking Soda and Peroxide Toothpaste

Courtesy of Walmart

What We Like
  • Very effective for whitening

  • Affordable

What We Don't Like
  • Hydrogen peroxide can trigger tooth sensitivity

“The active ingredients in this toothpaste are hydrogen peroxide and baking soda, which doubles the whitening effectiveness,” says Hang. “The peroxide removes stains as baking soda gently whitens and neutralizes acids that erode enamels,” she explains. Not to mention that the tube is larger than most and rings in at a very affordable price.

Active Ingredients: Hydrogen peroxide, baking soda, fluoride | Size: 6.3 ounces

Best for Gum Health: Crest Gum Detoxify Deep Clean Toothpaste

Crest Gum Detoxify Deep Clean Toothpaste

Courtesy of Crest

What We Like
  • Great for gum health

  • Has ADA seal

What We Don't Like
  • Pricey

Gum disease is no joke; more and more research indicates that there is a direct link between it and heart disease. It’s something that should be diagnosed (and treated) by your dentist, but using a toothpaste formulated to keep your gums in good shape, like this one, is a good idea. It, too, has the ADA’s seal of approval; the activated foam helps break down plaque in tough to reach spots, like along your gum line. It’s also cooling, keeping your gums and mouth nice and fresh. 

Active Ingredients: Flouride | Size: 4.1 ounces

Best for Sensitive Teeth: Sensodyne Pronamel Gentle Whitening Toothpaste

Sensodyne Pronamel
What We Like
  • Can help reduce sensitivity over time

  • Whitens and strengthens teeth

What We Don't Like
  • Pricey

“If you’re prone to tooth sensitivity when it comes to temperature and touch, Sensodyne is what I always recommend,” says Veystman. “This one helps to whiten and remove stains, too.” It’s also a top pick for New York City cosmetic dentist Dr. Fadwa Robb, DDS. “Tooth sensitivity, which can be quite uncomfortable, is caused by many things, including fractures, thinning enamel, and gum recession. The potassium nitrate in Sensodyne Pronamel will calm tooth nerve activity and reduce pain signals. Additionally, sodium fluoride assists in fortifying your enamel, which also leads to less sensitivity. With continued use, it can significantly reduce your tooth sensitivity to hot, cold, and sweet stimuli,” she explains.

Active Ingredients: Fluoride, potassium nitrate | Size: 4.1 ounces

Best for Sensitive Teeth, Runner-Up: Hello Sensitivity Relief + Whitening Fluoride Toothpaste

Hello Sensitivity Relief + Whitening Fluoride Toothpaste
What We Like
  • Vegan, cruelty-free formula

  • Free of dyes and artificial sweeteners

What We Don't Like
  • Could be slightly mintier

New York City dentist Dr. Sharon Huang, DDS, says this is her top pick for those who have booth tooth sensitivity but also want a whitening formula. “It contains a 5% concentration of potassium nitrate to reduce sensitivity, the maximum strength you can get over-the-counter,” she explains. She also lauds it for touting cavity-fighting sodium fluoride.

Active Ingredients: Fluoride, potassium nitrate | Size: 4.7 ounces

Best Whitening: Colgate Optic White Renewal Teeth Whitening Toothpaste

Colgate Optic White Renewal Teeth Whitening Toothpaste

Courtesy of Amazon

What We Like
  • Very effective for whitening

  • Enamel-safe formula

What We Don't Like
  • Hydrogen peroxide can trigger tooth sensitivity

This is Robb’s go-to for anyone seeking a brighter, whiter smile. Most whitening toothpaste works by gently buffing off stains with mildly abrasive ingredients; this formula contains those but also has a 3% concentration of hydrogen peroxide, which has bleaching powers, she explains. “For those who want to maximize their in-office tooth whitening through toothpaste, this is a great choice for daily use,” she says.

Active Ingredients: Fluoride, hydrogen peroxide | Size: 3 ounces

Best Tablets: Bite Fresh Mint Toothpaste Bits

5
Bite Toothpaste Bits - Fresh Mint

Courtesy of Bite

What We Like
  • Vegan, cruelty-free formula

  • Good for travel

  • Comes in various flavors

  • Sustainable

What We Don't Like
  • Pricey

Toothpaste tablets aren’t necessarily new, but they are becoming a more and more popular alternative. Not only are they super convenient (especially for travel), they also are a more sustainable option than traditional tubes. These fluoride-free ones rely on nano-hydroxyapatite instead, a mineral that helps strengthen and restore tooth enamel. All you have to do is bite down on one and brush with a wet toothbrush; it foams upon contact. We also like that these come in five flavors, including unique ones such as berry and coco mango.

Active Ingredients: Nano-hydroxyapatite | Size: 62 bits

Best for Cavity Protection: Opalescence Whitening Toothpaste with Fluoride

Opalescence Whitening Toothpaste

 Amazon

What We Like
  • Multi-tasking formula

  • Nice minty flavor

What We Don't Like
  • Pricey

There’s a good reason why fluoride pops up in so many kinds of toothpaste. “It’s a cavity-fighter that will make your teeth resistant to cavities and stronger overall,” explains Veytsman. She’s a fan of this toothpaste, lauding it for its multi-tasking abilities. “It has a great flavor, is non-abrasive, and anti-cavity. There’s also a version for sensitive teeth, too,” she says.

Active Ingredients: Fluoride | Size: 4.7 ounces each 

Best Fluoride-Free: RinseWell Natural Hydroxyapatite Toothpaste

RinseWell Natural Hydroxyapatite Toothpaste
What We Like
  • Good natural formula 

  • Strengthens teeth

What We Don't Like
  • Reviewers say it's hard to dispense

On the flips side, if you’d like to stick with a fluoride-free option, Huan recommends this one. “The active ingredient is hydroxyapatite, which strengthens and restores tooth enamel. It also uses xylitol to inhibit bad bacteria, gentle scrubbers like silica, and antibacterial tea tree oil,” she says. Plus, the flavor is all naturally derived from wild mint and peppermint oils.

Active Ingredients: Hydroxyapatite | Size: 4 ounces

Best Natural: David's Premium Natural Toothpaste

David's Premium Natural Toothpaste
Courtesy of Amazon.
What We Like
  • Good natural formula

  • Comes in various flavors

  • EWG verified

What We Don't Like
  • Reviewers say texture is liquid-y

  • Dispensing can take some getting used to

Those seeking a more natural toothpaste alternative should consider this pick, which is EWG verified. Fluoride- and sulfate-free, it relies on ingredients such as peppermint oil and baking soda and comes in a recyclable chic metal tube with a turnkey (also recyclable).

Active Ingredients: Calcium carbonate, baking soda | Size: 5.25 ounces

Best Natural, Runner-Up: Dirt Don't Hurt Brighten, Detoxify + Remineralize Mineral Tooth Powder

Dirt Don't Hurt Brighten, Detoxify + Remineralize Mineral Tooth Powder
What We Like
  • Great value

  • Totally clean formula

  • Helps to whiten and strengthen

What We Don't Like
  • Can be somewhat messy

Albeit a bit messy, powdered toothpaste is always a great natural pick since it doesn’t require the same types of preservatives as its classic gel counterparts. This natural formula contains earth clays, essential oils, and herbs to safely and effectively care for your teeth. It works by neutralizing acids and bacteria in your mouth to create an alkaline environment, while trace minerals help strengthen and whiten as they clean your teeth. And while the price may feel somewhat steep for toothpaste, each two-ounce jar will last you up to six months.

Active Ingredients: Earth clays, essential oils, herbs | Size: 2 ounces

Best for Dry Mouth: Biotene Specially Formulated Fluoride Toothpaste

Biotene Specially Formulated Fluoride Toothpaste

Courtesy of Amazon

What We Like
  • Moisturizing

  • Nice minty flavor

What We Don't Like
  • Pricey

True story: A dry mouth and bad breath often go hand-in-hand. (Severe dry mouth, aka xerostomia, is a condition in which your salivary glands don’t produce enough spit to keep your mouth wet.) Enter this pick, specially formulated to help soothe and moisturize a dry mouth; happy reviewers rave about how well it works. It’s also free of potentially irritating alcohol and sodium lauryl sulfate.

Active Ingredients: Fluoride | Size: 4.3 ounces

Final Verdict

Not all toothpaste is created equal, and there is plenty to pick from. The Crest Pro-Health Advanced Deep Clean Toothpaste is our overall favorite, a do-it-all formula that’s earned the ADA’s seal of approval. If you’re after brighter, whiter teeth, try Colgate Optic White Renewal, and if you have sensitivity, Sensodyne Pronamel Gentle Whitening Toothpaste is beloved by dentists. (It contains an ingredient to help reduce sensitivity over time.) And if you’re looking for a convenient on-the-go choice that’s also more sustainable, check out the Bite Fresh Mint Toothpaste Bits, which are also a great option for anyone who is seeking out a natural, fluoride-free toothpaste.

Meet the Expert

  • Dr. Fadwa Robb, DDS, is a cosmetic dentist at Madison Dental Partners in New York City.
  • Dr. Sharon Huang, DDS, MICOI, is a cosmetic dentist and founder of Les Belles NYC, one of the fastest-growing dental practices in Manhattan.


What To Look For in a Toothpaste 

Fluoride

Fluoride is a natural mineral found in many beverages, foods, and treated drinking water. Most toothpaste—including our Best Overall pick, Crest Pro Health Advanced Fluoride Toothpaste—contains fluoride, which strengthens enamel, slows the production of bacteria caused by plaque, and protects teeth from decay and demineralization. 

Hydroxyapatite

Want to go fluoride-free? The most popular alternatives to fluoride toothpaste contain hydroxyapatite (a mineral naturally found in bones and teeth) to restore enamel and prevent tooth sensitivity. The Bite Fresh Mint Toothpaste Bits and Rinsewell Natural Hydroxyapatite Toothpaste are our top picks of products that contain hydroxyapatite instead of fluoride.

Potassium Nitrate

If you’re prone to tooth sensitivity, look for potassium nitrate on the ingredient list. This crystalline salt works by calming the nerves in the teeth and can be found in most whitening toothpaste, like Colgate Optic White Renewal.

Avoid Charcoal

You may have noticed that none of our picks contain charcoal, which has recently gotten much buzz as a natural ingredient that can whiten teeth. The dentists we consulted for this article advised us to avoid this ingredient, warning that it can be too abrasive and cause enamel wear with long-term use. While it may be effective at whitening, there is little evidence to show that using charcoal toothpaste prevents tooth decay.

FAQ
  • What are the benefits of toothpaste?

    “Toothpaste is the cornerstone of your dental hygiene. Regular use of toothpaste fights the build-up of plaque and tartar to prevent tooth decay and gum disease,” says Dr. Robb.  “Toothpaste can also help keep your teeth white, reduce or prevent tooth sensitivity and freshen your breath.  Additionally, it’s an excellent mechanism for the delivery of fluoride.”

  • Does toothpaste expire?

    According to Dr. Roob, most toothpaste has a shelf life of approximately two years. That being said, "it doesn’t ‘go bad’ at that point, so there’s no danger in using recently expired toothpaste. It’s just that key ingredients, such as fluoride, may be less effective after that point," she notes.

  • Do whitening toothpastes work?

    “Yes, a whitening toothpaste is great at dealing with the day-to-day surface stains from teeth such as coffee, cigarettes, soda, and more, but it does take continued use,” says Vetystman. “They have special abrasives or peroxide that help break down stains and polish teeth.” That being said, they only work on the surface of the tooth, so if you want a major whitening effect, professional whitening treatments are the way to go, she says.

Why Trust Byrdie

Byrdie contributor Melanie Rud has over a decade of experience in the beauty industry, writing for some of the biggest magazines and websites out there. She’s a devoted tooth brusher (and newly committed flosser) and loves trying out all kinds of new toothpaste regularly.

Article Sources
Byrdie takes every opportunity to use high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial guidelines to learn more about how we keep our content accurate, reliable and trustworthy.
  1. Healthy mouth, healthy body. The Journal of the American Dental Association. 2006;137(4):563.

  2. Gum disease and heart disease: The common thread. Harvard Health.

  3. Talha B, Swarnkar SA. Xerostomia. In: StatPearls. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing

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