One of the most common questions I receive as a Dentist is regarding toothpaste recommendations. Choosing the best toothpaste can be a little overwhelming considering you have so many different types and brands to choose from (whitening, tarter control, sensitivity, natural, etc). When recommending the best toothpaste for a patient, I like to break it down into two categories to help simplify things: whitening vs anti-sensitivity. Why only these two, you may ask? It is because most toothpastes have few differences when it comes to efficacy on cavities and gum disease, which are the main reasons we use it.
Whitening toothpastes typically have chemical ingredients and different levels of abrasiveness that help remove or prevent stains from occurring. A key thing to look out for is abrasiveness, which can wear down the outer tooth layer (enamel) over long period of use. Whitening toothpaste also contains either hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide, which may produce whitening results. Most whitening toothpastes are both abrasive and contain either chemical, which tend to produce similar results. Personally, I have always preferred using Arm and Hammer Advanced White toothpaste. It helps remove minor superficial staining and just seems to work better for me. One key takeaway is that I always alternate to a less abrasive toothpaste after I finish a tube of the Arm and Hammer.
Here at Smile Vegas Dental, when patients complain about tooth sensitivity, I always recommend an anti-sensitivity toothpaste, such as an over-the-counter paste (i.e. Sensodyne) or something stronger such as prescription paste (i.e. Prevident 5000 or Clinpro 5000). Anti-sensitivity toothpastes work through less abrasion and active chemicals that help block sensitivity or create a barrier for teeth to limit sensitivity. Some of these ingredients include Potassium Nitrate or Stannous Fluoride, which is found in Sensodyne. Other pastes have a much higher concentrations of fluoride, which can help strengthen tooth enamel.
Picking the right toothpaste for you really depends on your situation. And if you have sensitive teeth but also want them whiter, you can always use different types of toothpaste to help obtain two different results!