Types of Toothpaste : Guide to Toothpaste

Where do you start? There are so many varieties of toothpaste available which include ‘tartar controlled’, ‘plaque-fighting’, ‘breath freshening’ and ‘teeth whitening’. There are toothpastes for smokers and toothpastes for people with sensitive teeth.

So which should you choose?

Choose a fluoride toothpaste but after that it’s a case of finding one which suits your teeth. Everyone’s teeth are different and what suits one person doesn’t always suit another. If, for example you have sensitive teeth then you will need toothpaste which caters to this and is likely to be kind to your teeth.

If you think you have sensitive teeth then it may be better to speak to your dentist first as he/she will investigate the cause of your sensitivity. He/she will also recommend a suitable toothpaste for your teeth.

This similarly applies if you are a smoker. Your dentist will probably advise you to give up but if not then he/she may suggest that you undergo professional teeth whitening. Teeth whitening procedures such as ‘laser tooth whitening’ are very effective at removing stubborn stains, such as nicotine from teeth.

Tooth whitening is discussed in greater detail in our dentistry guide.

Another choice is that of a gel which works as equally as well as the paste varieties. Again it is a case of personal preference. There is not one type of toothpaste which works for everyone so you need try a few before you find the one you like. In order to help you we have compiled a list of the different types of toothpaste and what they do:

  • Tartar controlled toothpastes: these help to prevent any further build up of tartar but cannot reach the tartar which collects below your gum line. However some companies are looking to produce toothpaste which fights gum disease.
  • Baking soda toothpastes: there are toothpastes which are made from baking soda which people prefer the taste of compared to the mint flavoured varieties. One example is ‘Arm & Hammer Baking Soda Toothpaste’.
  • Smoker’s toothpastes: these are specially designed to remove nicotine and tar stains on teeth caused by smoking. One example is ‘Pearl Drops Smoker’s Whitening Toothpaste’.
  • Sensitive teeth toothpastes: some people have sensitive teeth which mean that they experience a painful reaction when they eat hot or cold foods. This is usually caused by receding gums (gum disease) or exposed dentine of a tooth root. This requires further investigation by your dentist who will recommend that you switch to ‘low abrasion’ toothpaste, specially designed for sensitive teeth. One example is ‘Colgate Sensitive Pro-Relief Toothpaste’.
  • Tooth whitening toothpastes: these vary in strength and results. Some brands of this type of toothpaste are too harsh and may damage your teeth so ask your dentist’s advice before using them. One example is ‘Colgate Total Plus Whitening Toothpaste’.
  • Children’s toothpastes: these are fairly similar to the adult versions the only difference being that they will contain a smaller amount of fluoride. One example is ‘Colgate Smiles Children’s Toothpaste’.  


A quick word about fluoride: fluoride does protect the teeth against tooth decay but only in small amounts. Fluoride is also added to our water systems but again, in small amounts as excess fluoride stains the teeth.

This is particularly important in the case of children as too much fluoride can stain their teeth at a time when their permanent teeth are appearing (replacing their milk teeth).

If you are a parent who is concerned about your child’s teeth and fluoride but are not sure what to do about this then try this:

  • A tube of fluoride toothpaste will have the letters ‘ppmf’ on the side. This stands for ‘parts per million fluoride’. This will give you a good idea of how much fluoride is contained in that toothpaste.

Make sure that your child uses no more than a pea size amount of toothpaste and supervise them whilst they do so.

© Medic8® | All Rights Reserved