Journal of Nursing

The Best Toothpaste for Removing Stains, Fixing Your Breath, and Not Getting Gingivitis


By Adam Hurly

For something as straightforward as oral hygiene, it’s difficult to find a toothpaste that suits your specific needs. From gum care to whitening to fresh breath, we rounded up the top pastes in each arena.

Consider this list of things that can go awry if you slip up on your oral hygiene: bleeding gums, tooth decay, cavities, tooth loss, bad breath, dark stains, and more. If you aren’t using a great brush, flossing regularly, or rinsing with a top-notch mouthwash , then you’re asking for trouble. But the cornerstone of all this is toothpaste—the single product that can protect teeth, minimize decay, and eliminate the bacteria that compromise gums and breath.

With the help of some dentist friends, we pinpointed the best pastes for an overall clean, strong, and fresh smile. While the following five products are universally good for your teeth, each is unique in its offering. So, should you need something more prescriptive for your gums, your sensitive teeth, or your halitosis, then choose accordingly.

Best Toothpaste for Removing Stains

“A whitening toothpaste isn't necessarily strong enough to dramatically whiten teeth on its own,” says Dr. Timothy Chase, DDS, of Smiles NY in NYC. “But if you’re looking to achieve a brighter smile, I would recommend Sensodyne Extra Whitening toothpaste. It is one of the least abrasive options out there with fluoride, whitening and anti-sensitivity ingredients, for those with sensitive teeth. Many of the other whitening toothpastes are too abrasive and can cause loss of enamel. Sensodyne helps remove stains for a whiter smile with twice daily brushing."

Best Toothpaste for the Gingivitis Scare

To best protect your teeth and the bones from which they grow, you’ve got to focus your oral care regimen on the gums. It’s this tissue, when strong, that prevents bone loss and tooth decay. “Crest Gum Detoxify Deep Clean toothpaste contains stannous fluoride, which has a greater range of benefits compared to the more common sodium fluoride,” says Dr. Keith Bracy, DDS, in NYC. “In addition to cavity and sensitive teeth protection, stannous fluoride fights bacterial endotoxins in your gums, reducing bleeding and inflammation.”

Best Toothpaste for Breath Issues

“SmartMouth’s toothpaste fights a real cause of bad breath—sulfur gas,” says Bracy. “Many oral care products just mask bad breath with a minty scent. This toothpaste contains zinc ions that bind to sulfur, eliminating a common source of bad breath.” When you buy it, you also get the brand’s oral rinse, which also contains zinc ions. If you brush and rinse in the morning, you’ll have fresh breath all day, and if you do the same at night, you’ll wake without morning breath, for once and for all.

Best Toothpaste with Fluoride

Fluoride is more or less considered a good thing in that it prevents tooth decay; most major US cities have in fact adopted water fluoridation to naturally deliver the mineral supplement to you. Boka thinks that fluoride is not good enough, however, and has thus created a paste with nano-hydroxyapatite (N-Ha) in its place. This mineral N-Ha is the foundation of our teeth and bones, and rebuilds tooth structure while reducing sensitivity. On top of that, peppermint oils provide a refreshing kick to Boka’s first offering. We hope to see more from the subscription toothbrush brand.

Best Toothpaste with Natural Vibes

Tom’s prides itself in being free of artificial additives like dyes and sweeteners. This baking soda-packed paste helps whiten and strengthen the teeth, protecting it from stains and cavities alike. Soft spots are fortified and mineralized before they become cavities, and Tom’s 100% naturally derived formula feels gentler on teeth than other name brands. Even its flavoring—peppermint in this case—is derived from natural oils, not synthetics.


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