Oral hygiene holds a crucial place in our daily lives. Ensuring that we have the perfect toothpaste to meet our needs is vital!
Are you feeling overwhelmed by the amount of toothpastes available on the market? Do you feel like you could do more to care for your teeth, or are you simply looking to find a toothpaste that suits you best?
This guide will take you through key ingredients and features in toothpaste that will help you choose the best one for you. We will cover:
- Common (and uncommon) toothpaste ingredients
- Specialized toothpaste styles
- Testing and non-toxicity
- Flavor and texture
- Different brands of toothpaste.
By the end of this guide, you’ll be able to pick the best toothpaste for you with no problem whatsoever. Let's get started!
Things You Should Look for In a Toothpaste
Selecting the right toothpaste amidst the multitude of options at the supermarket can be challenging. With so many products boasting numerous different promises for your teeth, it’s hard to know what to pick!
Here are a few things to look for:
1. Ingredients of the toothpaste
There are many ingredients that go into toothpaste and contribute to the effectiveness of cleaning and protecting teeth.
Most toothpastes have ingredients under certain categories, all with different purposes:
Abrasives: These clean away build-up and plaque by exfoliating dirt and grime from teeth.
Detergents: Similar to dishwashing liquid, they create foam to help the toothpaste spread easily and make it easy for you to see where you are brushing.
Humectants: Humectants keep the toothpaste moist, preventing it from drying out in the mouth or the tube and provide a creamy texture.
Binders: Binders help to mix all the ingredients together properly and prevent separation in the tube, similar to skincare products that separate into oils and waters.
- Flavors and Scents: Provides the familiar minty fresh flavor and scent after brushing associated with toothpaste, masking less pleasant chemical tastes.
The ingredients above are typically beneficial and important to toothpaste, but there are also some other ingredients we should try to avoid:
Parabens: A preservative sometimes found in toothpaste to help preserve cleaning ingredients and prevent the growth of microorganisms in toothpastes. Mostly, they include sodium benzoate, methylparaben, and ethylparaben. Parabens are also present in many shampoos and conditioners, so it's a good idea to keep them out of our mouths.
Artificial Sweeteners: Unnecessary in toothpaste, as there is no need for the toothpaste to be sweet! These are also linked to dry mouth and a bad aftertaste.
Peroxide: Peroxide is commonly used in teeth whitening. Although it is safe in small amounts, overuse or excessive presence can strip the teeth and enamel.
Fluoride: Fluoride is a controversial ingredient in toothpaste. It can potentially strengthen tooth enamel and protect against acids in food and drink. However, concerns may arise when fluoride is ingested or swallowed.
Fluoride can potentially lead to white spots on the teeth (a condition called fluorosis). There is an ongoing debate about whether it is a sufficiently effective ingredient to warrant its use and heavy distribution in water supplies and in toothpaste.
Given how common fluoride use is, many people are surprised to learn about its potential downsides, such as teeth discoloration, gastrointestinal issues, and hypersensitivity. That’s why many look for healthier alternatives!
Toothpaste brands such as Boka are fluoride-free, replacing fluoride and its benefits with Nano-hydroxyapatite (n-Ha).
2. Specialized toothpaste
Everybody has their own goals and preferences when it comes to toothpaste. There's a wide array of toothpaste types, with different features and ingredients to suit many needs.
Specialized toothpaste options address specific concerns such as sensitivity, gum health, suitability for children, teeth whitening, and more.
I’ll take you through a few so that you can gain a better understanding of what toothpaste you might be after and the ingredients and benefits that it can come with:
Sensitivity toothpaste is specifically formulated for those with sensitive teeth to help build strength and is also more gentle during brushing.
Our teeth contain nerves, and sensitivity toothpaste often contains nerve-blocking ingredients such as strontium chloride or potassium nitrate.
The addition of these components can drastically help ease any pain you might be feeling due to sensitive teeth, especially when you experience discomfort from hot or cold drinks.
Gum care is a huge part of oral care. Gum health-targeting toothpastes are excellent for reducing plaque and inflammation in the gums through the use of fluoride and triclosan.
These ingredients may raise some concerns, as previously discussed. However, if gum health is your priority, then this is something you should consider.
Toothpaste can have a strong and almost spicy taste, which may not be ideal for little mouths!
Some toothpastes are specifically formulated for children, ensuring safety in the event that the child swallows their toothpaste instead of spitting it out.
There is usually a lower fluoride content in these toothpastes in case the child does swallow it.
Teeth whitening toothpastes are specifically formulated to whiten teeth over time.
There is usually a higher content of abrasive chemicals to remove any staining from the teeth. Some may even include peroxides to bleach or whiten the teeth gently.
However, it’s important to be cautious about whitening toothpaste, especially if you have sensitive teeth. The abrasive nature of these toothpastes and the presence of peroxides can lead to tooth sensitivity.
3. Look for ADA approval or check if the toothpaste has been tested and proven to be non-toxic
An American Dental Association (ADA) approval indicates that the American Dental Association has approved the toothpaste you have chosen.
This is given on the basis of a few factors, typically involving the efficacy of the toothpaste, safety, scientific evidence, and the quality of the toothpaste.
While it is advisable to check for this seal, it is not always necessary and does not mean that a toothpaste is bad if it doesn’t have ADA approval.
For instance, Boka’s fluoride-free n-Ha toothpaste does not carry an ADA seal. However, it has been scientifically tested for all of the above categories.
4. Look for the flavor and texture of the toothpaste
Toothpaste brands and specialized types are bound to have different flavors and textures that can influence how much you like the toothpaste.
There are three main textures: paste, gel consistency, or a slightly powdery paste. This choice largely boils down to personal preference and some trial and error to figure out which one you like best.
I personally prefer the smoother and foamier texture of gel toothpaste.
Toothpaste can also come in a variety of flavors, with most options focusing on a fresh feeling, such as spearmint or peppermint. However, herbal, fruity, or even sweet flavors are also found in toothpastes.
For example, Boka’s toothpaste has a gel/paste-type consistency and features a herbal mint blend like Cinna-Mint (cinnamon and mint) or lemon and lavender. Also on offer is a classic mint flavor called Ela-Mint.
It is important to find a toothpaste you enjoy because it can make your overall oral care experience more enjoyable and help you develop better oral habits.
5. Pick the best brand
If you’re still unsure about which toothpaste to choose, considering reputable brands can be a helpful step.
Many of these brands have been around for a very long time, making them reputable and trusted. A couple of brands we can recommend are:
- Boka is a well-trusted brand of toothpaste that focuses on quality ingredients, safety, as well as unique flavors that leave a great taste.
It’s refreshing, helps strengthen your teeth, and reduces sensitivity – all while improving your overall dental health!
- Colgate, known for its versatility, efficacy, and wide availability around the world. However, it can also contain harsh concentrations of ingredients such as fluoride that can leave your mouth dry and painful.
- Crest is another well-known and trusted brand, especially when it comes to teeth whitening.
- Sensodyne is a household name, known mostly for its formulations specifically targeted at sensitive teeth.
Still have doubts? Ask your dentist or hygienist for a recommendation
If you have any questions about your oral health or are considering switching to a new toothpaste, it’s always a good decision to ask your dentist or hygienist for a recommendation.
These professionals have worked with tooth anatomy and physiology for a long time, so you can greatly benefit from their opinions and knowledge about different types and brands of toothpaste!
A recent study published in the Journal of Clinical Paediatric Dentistry in September 2023 surveyed pediatric dentists’ acceptance and awareness of fluoride-free remineralizing toothpastes.
The results showed trends towards western-trained pediatric dentists to more likely to recommend a fluoride-free toothpaste than a southeastern-trained dentist in the USA.
The survey also evaluated trends towards pediatric dentists 41 years and older being more likely to recommend a fluoride-free toothpaste over a fluoride-containing toothpaste when compared to pediatric dentists 40 years and younger.
Try Boka’s non-toxic and dentist-approved toothpaste
Boka’s non-toxic, fluoride-free n-Ha toothpaste is something you should try if you’re looking for a change.
Whether you’re mindful of the ingredients you or your children are putting in your mouth or are simply intrigued by the idea of a cinnamon-flavored toothpaste, it's worth giving it a go — especially if you are concerned about the fluoride content in your current product!
There are multiple benefits to n-Ha replacing fluoride in toothpaste, with the main one being eliminating the risk of fluorosis or other negative side effects that fluoride has been linked to. n-Ha is beneficial for remineralize teeth, supports enamel health, protects against cavities, and even whitens teeth.
It’s not surprising that many dentists recommend n-Ha toothpastes over the traditional fluoride options:
"I now recommend toothpaste containing nano-hydroxyapatite particles. They outperform fluoride when compared side by side, and the best part is that they’re completely non-toxic. My preferred nano-hydroxyapatite toothpaste is Boka’s Ela Mint Toothpaste." - Dr Mark Burhenne, DDS.
Boka gives you all the upsides of great oral health without any of the harmful side effects.
Is it time to make the switch? Feel free to browse our collection here! We have a variety of unique and delicious options you can choose from — who knows, your new favorite toothpaste may just be waiting for you!
Does toothpaste quality matter?
The quality of your toothpaste definitely matters in terms of looking after your teeth, gums, and overall oral hygiene.
Toothpaste has specific purposes, such as cavity prevention or teeth whitening, so it is important that the quality of your toothpaste is high enough to meet these needs.
What are the qualities of a good toothpaste?
Good toothpaste has many beneficial qualities that can help target gum health, work against cavities and plaque buildup, whiten teeth, and provide fresh breath. Some qualities include:
Efficient cleaning: Toothpaste typically contains an abrasive quality to remove any plaque or stains from teeth, leaving them physically clean
Supports gum health: Gum health is a critical part of oral care. Many toothpastes contain higher levels of fluoride or triclosan which can help inflammation of the gums
- Sensitive teeth support: Many people suffer from teeth sensitivity when eating or drinking, and it isn’t something that has to continue. Many toothpastes have desensitizing ingredients that help sensitivity in teeth.
Do you really need expensive toothpaste?
Not necessarily. You don’t need expensive toothpaste to maintain adequate oral care. However, the quality and efficacy of the toothpaste are important. It should effectively clean and protect your teeth, but it does not need to cost an arm and a leg.
Which toothpaste is recommended by doctors?
Doctors ultimately agree that Boka is a cut above the rest. Its gentle, fluoride-free formulation means you can kickstart the journey to awesome dental health without having to worry about the negative effects from harsh chemicals.
And with many flavors to choose from, brushing your teeth has never been more enjoyable!