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What Are the Different Types of Toothpaste and When Should They Be Used


If you think all kinds of toothpaste are the same, you may be surprised to know they aren’t. They come in different varieties and have their own unique uses.

We’ve listed five different types of toothpaste so you can decide which is best for you.

1. Regular Toothpaste

This is the most common type of toothpaste and is used for basic daily oral hygiene. It contains fluoride (repairs damaged tooth structure) and surfactants (compounds used to reduce surface tension of plaque to your teeth so it can be easily removed). Toothpaste also contains mild abrasives to help remove stains.

Regular Toothpaste

Who should use it? Can be used by most people regardless of their dental condition and dental restorations

2. Whitening Toothpaste

Whitening toothpaste is designed to remove surface stains and make teeth look whiter. The active ingredients in whitening toothpaste typically include fluoride, abrasives, polishing agents, and peroxide compounds. Abrasives (which are stronger than regular toothpaste) help to remove surface stains, while polishing agents help to make teeth look brighter. Peroxide compounds help to break down stains and whiten teeth.

Who needs to be careful? Patients with fillings or restorations in their front teeth or patients with lots of gingival recession. Due to the stronger abrasives in whitening toothpaste, fillings wear faster, restorations such as crowns lose their polish faster, and those with gum recession will worsen due to the weaker nature of the root of a tooth as compared to the upper portion of the tooth.

3. Sensitivity Toothpaste

Sensitive toothpaste is formulated to help relieve tooth sensitivity. It contains compounds which block sensations from reaching the nerves in the teeth. The active ingredients in sensitivity toothpaste typically include potassium nitrate, strontium chloride, and arginine. Potassium nitrate helps to reduce the nerve signals that cause tooth sensitivity, while strontium chloride and arginine act as desensitizing agents to block sensations from reaching the nerves in the teeth.

Why do you need to be careful – Sensitivity toothpaste is a very well rounded toothpaste for everyone, but desensitization of the tooth has potential for patients to ignore the cause of their sensitivity, including cavities, gum disease, or erosion. This may lead to a worse outcome later.

4. Charcoal Toothpaste

Charcoal toothpaste is a type of toothpaste that contains activated charcoal. Charcoal helps to remove surface stains and whiten teeth, while other ingredients like baking soda, essential oils, and herbs help to keep the mouth and gums healthy. Activated charcoal is porous and acts like a sponge absorbing bacteria and plaque which is swept away when the charcoal is rinsed from the mouth.

What should you be concerned about – Charcoal is extremely abrasive, even more so than whitening toothpaste. Those who need to be careful of whitening toothpaste should be careful of charcoal as well. Charcoal toothpaste also does not contain fluoride, which means untreated cavities will grow bigger faster. 

5. Natural Toothpaste

Natural toothpaste is usually made with natural ingredients like aloe vera, charcoal, baking soda, essential oils, and herbs. It is designed to be gentle on the teeth and gums. Some natural toothpaste also contains fluoride as well. There exists many natural ingredients to repair, strengthen, clean and whiten teeth, but finding a natural toothpaste with the right formulation may be the obstacle.

Do you think you have found one? We would love to know.

Our goal is to help you stay informed about the latest developments in dental health and make sure your oral health stays in top shape.