The 8 Best Toothpastes to Buy in 2020

Score a bright and healthy smile

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First Look

Best Overall: Colgate Cavity Protection Toothpaste at Amazon

"This teeth cleaning solution is made with a bunch of effective ingredients, namely fluoride."

Best Budget: Crest Pro-Health Pro/Active Defense at Amazon

"An activated foam toothpaste, Crest's Active Defense will foam in your mouth, giving you that satisfyingly clean feel post-brush."

Best Whitening Toothpaste: Arm & Hammer Advance White Extreme Whitening at Amazon

"Many users claim to be lifers, using it for several years, even after trying out other more expensive options."

Best Charcoal: Cali White Activated Charcoal & Organic Coconut Oil Toothpaste at Amazon

"Made with food-grade activated charcoal so there'll be no damage to your enamel."

Best for Gum Disease: Parodontax Clean Mint at Amazon

"A go-to product for people experiencing bleeding gums and a deterrent for plaque."

Best for Sensitive Teeth: Sensodyne Pronamel Whitening Strengthening Toothpaste at Amazon

"The number one best-selling toothpaste on Amazon."

Best for Bad Breath: TheraBreath Fresh Breath Toothpaste at Amazon

"One of the most effective and professional grade products for anyone experiencing bad breath."

Best for Dry Mouth: Biotene Fresh Mint at Amazon

"Formulated with biotene to effectively help with dry mouth."

Unlike face cream, body lotion, or soap, toothpaste isn’t an optional self-care product. Brushing teeth daily with toothpaste is a fundamental tool in the prevention of gum disease, which impacts almost half of adults over 30 years of age in the United States, per the CDC.

“While the dental industry has evolved greatly over the past decades, brushing and flossing remain the most important practices for keeping our teeth and gums healthy,” explains Heather Kunen DDS, MS, co-founder of Beam Street. “Brushing our teeth two to three times per day with a fluoridated toothpaste is our best defense against invading bacteria that cause cavities and gums disease.”

With hundreds of kinds of toothpaste to choose from, ranging in price from low to high, the act of selecting one can be a tad overwhelming. However, Dr. Kunen urges narrowing down your search to those with the active ingredient of fluoride, which is a must to be considered for the ADA Seal of Acceptance. “Overall, I tell patients to choose the toothpaste that they enjoy, as long as it contains fluoride as fluoride is still the most important mineral for keeping our teeth strong,” she says. 

Per the American Dental Association, other active ingredients can help with “lessening tooth sensitivity, whitening teeth, reducing gingivitis or tartar build-up, or preventing enamel erosion or bad breath.” One ingredient you should avoid? Sugar. “Flavoring agents that cause or contribute to tooth decay (e.g., sugar) may not be contained in any ADA-Accepted toothpaste,” the ADA explains. If you're looking for a new toothpaste, check out these top-rated products for a cleaner, fresher smile.

Our Top Picks

Best Overall: Colgate Cavity Protection Toothpaste

Colgate Toothpaste

 Courtesy of Amazon

One of the highest-rated kinds of toothpaste on Amazon, Colgate’s Cavity Protection Toothpaste is basically the gold standard for dentists and consumers alike. This teeth cleaning solution is made with a bunch of effective ingredients, namely fluoride. One that is missing? Titanium dioxide, an inorganic chemical compound added to many kinds of toothpaste to give them a white hue, which the Environmental Working Group (EWG) notes may be carcinogenic. Reviewers also love the taste and maintain that it is mild enough for even the most sensitive of gums.

Best Budget: Crest Pro-Health Pro/Active Defense

This reasonably priced, ADA-accepted gel toothpaste does everything you need it to, from fighting plaque and keeping your teeth and gums protected against diseases to freshening your breath to minty perfection. One of the key ingredients is antibacterial stannous fluoride, scientifically proven to reduce oral bacteria. It is also an activated foam toothpaste, meaning that it literally foams in your mouth, giving it the ability to clean hard-to-reach places. Users, even those who identify as having sensitive teeth and gums, claim it is one of the most effective kinds of toothpaste on the market.

Best Whitening Toothpaste: Arm & Hammer Advance White Extreme Whitening

Baking soda is the active ingredient in most teeth whitening products, so it only makes sense that Arm & Hammer, America’s go-to baking soda brand, is behind one of the highest-rated (as well as affordable) teeth whitening toothpastes. In addition to baking soda, high levels of peroxide work to fight against those pesky set-in stains, while fluoride keeps your teeth sparkling and clean. If you still aren’t inspired to try this wallet-friendly option, scroll through the photo evidence provided by Amazon users in their reviews.

Many users claim to be lifers, using it for several years, even after trying out other more expensive options.

Best Charcoal: Cali White Activated Charcoal & Organic Coconut Oil Toothpaste

While dental experts are on the fence when it comes to charcoal toothpastes, a 2019 study supported claims that it is an effective tool in removing yellow pigment from your teeth. If you are in the market for an activated charcoal opinion, we recommend Cali White, a non-peroxide formula that lists Certified Organic coconut oil, baking soda, and tea tree oil on its ingredient list. What separates Cali White from its competitors? It is made with food-grade activated charcoal, which means there will be zero grit damaging your enamel, one of the biggest concerns when it comes to charcoal toothpastes. 

Best for Gum Disease: Parodontax Clean Mint

Periodontitis is an inflammation of the gums that damages the tissue and bones in your mouth. When plaque builds up and remains untreated, the bone that supports your teeth can be destroyed, leading to loose teeth or even tooth loss. Parodontax is the go-to product for people who are experiencing one of the early signs of gum disease—bleeding gums. Often recommended by dentists, fans of the product, even those actively suffering from periodontal disease, attest that it effectively controls gum bleeding in weeks. And, those without a history of bleeding gums love it, claiming it keeps plaque at bay. 

Best for Sensitive Teeth: Sensodyne Pronamel Whitening Strengthening Toothpaste

Sensitive teeth or tooth discomfort can be the result of worn tooth enamel, exposed tooth roots, a cavity, cracked or chipped tooth, or a worn filling or gum disease. Whatever the reason is for your dental pain, brushing your teeth is one of the few things that can exacerbate it, which makes picking the right toothpaste extremely important. Those who have sensitive teeth have been relying on Sensodyne products for decades. Why? Because it works. Dr. Kunen (and most dental experts) endorse it, citing that the ingredient, potassium nitrate, helps to soothe inflamed nerves.

Best for Bad Breath: TheraBreath Fresh Breath Toothpaste

Nobody wants bad breath, aka halitosis, which can be caused by a variety of factors ranging from the consumption of stink-inducing food (garlic, we are talking to you) to underlying health issues. Luckily, many cases of bad breath can be cleared up simply by improving dental hygiene, which is why there are so many toothpastes and mouthwash products on the market targeting the issue. Therabrush, formulated by dentist Dr. Harold Katz over 25 years ago, has amassed a reputation for being one of the most effective, professional-grade product lines for anyone experiencing bad breath. The key ingredient of their 24-Hour Fresh Breath Toothpaste is plaque and cavity-fighting fluoride in addition to natural ingredients like aloe vera, to help soothe any irritation. It is also free of all detergents, artificial colors, flavors, and sweeteners.

Best for Dry Mouth: Biotene Fresh Mint

When your salivary glands don’t produce enough saliva to keep your mouth moist, dry mouth can occur. While it can be a result of many factors—including underlying health conditions, aging, or a side effect of medication—the right toothpaste can definitely help with any dry mouth discomfort. Biotene is formulated to do the job. And, according to reviewers, it is the best dry mouth toothpaste on the market. It is free of sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS), which some people claim irritates their gums, while its key ingredient, fluoride, will help protect your teeth from cavities and plaque. 

Final Verdict

There is a reason Colgate toothpaste has been a go-to brand for dental care since the 1800s—their products are high quality and effective. We picked Colgate Cavity Protection Toothpaste as our top pick because it is the ultimate multi-tasker of the bunch, according to both dentists and reviewers. It is also extremely affordable and free of titanium dioxide. That being said, if you are hoping to tackle specific dental issues, such as yellowing teeth, dry mouth, or simply have sensitive teeth, or are on the market for a fluoride-free product, then you should look into other options. 

What to Look For in a Toothpaste

Obviously, the main goal of all dental products, including toothpaste, is to keep your teeth clean and healthy. There are hundreds on the market aiming to complete that task and more, but, in order to find the right toothpaste for your needs, there are a few things you need to take into consideration.

Ingredients: You might notice that the majority of toothpastes list fluoride as their active ingredient, and there is a reason for that, as we explained above. If you wish to avoid fluoride, you can take the “natural” route and opt for a product relying on activated charcoal. However, most dentists do recommend sticking with fluoride. 

Taste: If you don’t like the taste of toothpaste, chances are, you aren’t going to want to use it. So, if the smell or taste of tea tree oil doesn’t appeal to you, consider avoiding a product in which it is an ingredient. Unfortunately, the only real way to do a toothpaste taste test is by trying it out. Luckily, most retailers, including Amazon, have lenient return policies. 

Specific dental concerns: If you have any special dental needs—for example bleeding gums or sensitive teeth—you should choose a toothpaste formulated for that reason. Many people who fall into this category find traditional toothpastes too harsh for their needs. “Those patients with sensitive teeth should look for brands like Sensodyne that incorporate potassium nitrate into their toothpaste formulas, as potassium nitrate helps to soothe inflamed nerves,” Dr. Kunen suggests.

Why Trust Verywell Health

As an internationally recognized health writer and product guru, Leah Groth understands that nobody wants to waste their time or money on products that fail to rear results. Over the years, she has interviewed the world's top health experts and reviewed hundreds of items, to help readers like you discover the most effective health gadgets, goops, and aids that will help you look and feel your very best.

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Article Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Periodontal disease. Updated July 10, 2013.

  2. American Dental Association. Toothpastes. Updated August 29, 2019.

  3. EWG Skin Deep. Titanium dioxide. Updated July 2012.

  4. American Dental Association. Shopping list of all products with the ADA Seal of Acceptance.

  5. Vaz VTP, Jubilato DP, Oliveira MRM, et al. Whitening toothpaste containing activated charcoal, blue covarine, hydrogen peroxide or microbeads: which one is the most effective? J Appl Oral Sci. 2019;27:e20180051. doi:10.1590/1678-7757-2018-0051