The 8 Best Toothpastes of 2023 for Healthy Teeth and a Dazzling Smile (2023)

Shopping for the right toothpaste can be overwhelming because of the number of types available on store shelves. Since toothpaste is necessary to improve your oral hygiene, it is essential to find one that works best to prevent cavities, and disease but also gives you fresh breath and a dazzling white smile.

“When you’re shopping for toothpastes, you want to make sure that you are looking for ingredients that make you healthier,” saysErinne Kennedy, DMD, a dentist and spokesperson of the American Dental Association (ADA). Dr. Kennedy also recommends looking for active ingredients like fluoride and hydrogen peroxide, which will keep your mouth clean and free from disease.

We researched dozens of toothpastes and evaluated them for key ingredients, flavor, cavity prevention and other dental benefits, and price.

Based on our research, we’ve narrowed down the best toothpastes to help you find one that works for you.

Best Overall Toothpaste

Colgate Cavity Protection Toothpaste with Fluoride


The 8 Best Toothpastes of 2023 for Healthy Teeth and a Dazzling Smile (1)


  • Highly recommended by dentists

  • Great value for the price

  • Long-lasting, pleasant taste


  • Not a whitening formula

  • Thin consistency

We chose Colgate Cavity Protection Toothpaste as the best overall because it addresses the main uses of an effective toothpaste. It contains fluoride, the leading active ingredient recommended by dentists to strengthen teeth and prevent tooth decay. It thoroughly cleans teeth and removes harmful bacteria. The regular flavor freshens breath and leaves your mouth feeling clean. Plus, Colgate Cavity Protection Toothpaste is an affordable option for most budgets.

Price at publication: $10

Active Ingredients: Sodium Fluoride | Benefits: Cavity prevention, strengthens enamel, freshens breath | Flavor: Regular | Size: 6 ounce

Expert Insight

"The ADA seal means that toothpaste has been independently tested to ensure that the ingredients in it are not only safe, but efficacious." Julius Manz, DDS, ADA Spokesperson

Best Budget Toothpaste

Crest Pro-Health Pro Active Defense Deep Clean Toothpaste

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  • Foaming action for deeper cleaning

  • Clean feeling lasts hours after brushing


  • May have drying effect on the lips

  • Tacky consistency

Colgate vs. Crest Toothpaste

If you're undecided between Colgate and Crest, our top two picks, a Dentist's View of Colgate vs. Crest Toothpaste may help you decide.

Protecting your teeth should not come with a hefty price tag. Crest Pro-Health Pro Toothpaste is an economical way to fight plaque build-up and prevent cavities. The foaming action helps the active ingredient reach every surface. After spitting out the excess, make sure to leave the remaining foam on your teeth so that the active ingredients can work as intended.3

Price at publication: $6

Active Ingredients: Stannous Fluoride | Benefits: Cavity, Gingivitis and Sensitivity Prevention, Freshens Breath | Flavor: Mint | Size: 4 ounce

What the Experts Say

“I typically have my patients use a new toothpaste for a couple weeks then report back to me on how they think that product is performing. However, if you have a reaction or any discomfort to using a new product, stop using that product right away and contact your dentist.” – Dr.Erinne Kennedy, DMD


  • Whitens teeth using baking soda and peroxide

  • Neutralizes harmful acids that weaken and erode enamel

  • Prevents new stains from setting in


  • May cause or exacerbate tooth sensitivity

  • Baking soda may cause irritation

Teeth that are discolored can put a damper on any smile. Luckily, there are a plethora of toothpastes on the market that make whitening your teeth at home easy and affordable. We like Arm & Hammer Advance White Extreme Whitening Toothpaste. The toothpaste contains baking soda and peroxide, which work together to remove unwanted stains and whiten the teeth, making it a great pick to maintain bright teeth after using a teeth whitening kit.

Like most conventional toothpastes, this one uses sodium fluoride as an active ingredient. So while the toothpaste is working to whiten your teeth, it is also strengthening them and preventing tooth decay. Customers say they are left with a whiter smile after using Arm & Hammer Advance White Extreme Whitening Toothpaste and it typically doesn’t cause sensitivity.

Price at publication: $10

Active Ingredients: Sodium Fluoride, Baking soda, Peroxide | Benefits: Whitening, Removes and prevents set-in stains, Cavity prevention | Flavor: Mint | Size: 6 ounce

What the Experts Say

“Hydrogen peroxide is a common ingredient that helps eliminate bad breath by reducing the bacteria in your mouth and it whitens your teeth from the inside out. It's the best of both worlds.” – Dr. Erinne Kennedy

Best Toothpaste for Gum Disease

Parodontax Toothpaste

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  • Treats gingivitis and bleeding gums

  • Uses anti-bacterial stannous fluoride to protect against gingivitis, plaque and tooth sensitivity


  • May cause or exacerbate tooth sensitivity

  • Some users complained of a burning sensation

The first signs of gum disease are often bleeding gums, tenderness, and a receding gum line. Leaving it untreated can cause more harm to the mouth, so it is important to visit a dentist if you're experiencing symptoms. However, toothpastes such as Parodontax along with flossing regularly may help treat gum disease. Parodontax is formulated with stannous fluoride, which works to strengthen your teeth and keep the seal between the teeth and the gums tight.

Price at publication: $7

Active Ingredients: Stannous Fluoride | Benefits: Cavity and Gingivitis prevention, Improves gum health | Flavor: Mint | Size: 3.4 ounce

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The Best Toothpaste for Sensitive Teeth

Sensodyne Repair & Protect Teeth Whitening Sensitive Toothpaste

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  • Sensitivity relief and protection

  • Relieves dentin hypersensitivity


  • Some users complain of an unpleasant aftertaste

  • Mild mint flavor does not provide lasting freshness

Sensitive teeth can make eating and drinking uncomfortable. You may experience discomfort when your teeth come in contact with hot or cold foods and drinks. Sensodyne is the most recommended brand by dentists for treating sensitive teeth. Sensodyne Repair & Protect Whitening Toothpaste is formulated with stannous fluoride to relieve sensitivity and to repair and strengthen enamel. Sensitivity can also be caused by cavities and other factors, so it is best to consult a dentist if you're experiencing pain.

Price at publication: $13

Active Ingredients: Stannous Fluoride | Benefits: Whitening, Cavity and Gingivitis prevention, Strengthens enamel | Flavor: Original and Extra Fresh | Size: 3.4 ounce

What the Experts Say

“If you have sensitivity from using whitening products, try using one with gentler ingredients such as hydrogen peroxide.” – Dr. Erinne Kennedy

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Best Toothpaste for Bad Breath

TheraBreath Fresh Breath Toothpaste

The 8 Best Toothpastes of 2023 for Healthy Teeth and a Dazzling Smile (6)


  • Freshens breath for 24 hours when used as directed

  • Foam-free, no sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS)

  • Approved for diabetics


  • Some users complain that the mint flavor is too mild and doesn't last

  • Higher price point per ounce

Worried about bad breath? TheraBreath Fresh Breath is dentist-formulated to stop halitosis. It whitens teeth and helps prevent cavities and canker sores too. The main ingredient is sodium fluoride, but it also contains xylitol and soothing aloe. Xylitol is a sweetener that reduces plaque and inhibits the bacteria that cause bad breath. Use TheraBreath Fresh Breath to brush your teeth and tongue 2-3 times a day, especially after meals for lasting fresh breath.

Price at publication: $19

Active Ingredients: Sodium Fluoride, Xylitol | Benefits: Cavity and canker sore prevention, Freshens breath | Flavor: Mild Mint | Size: 4 ounce

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Best Toothpaste for Dry Mouth

Biotene Fluoride Toothpaste

The 8 Best Toothpastes of 2023 for Healthy Teeth and a Dazzling Smile (7)


  • Helps alleviate symptoms of dry mouth

  • Alcohol-free and sugar-free

  • Sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) free


  • Some users complain that the gentle formula doesn't clean thoroughly

  • Mint flavor is too mild, unpleasant aftertaste

The discomfort of dry mouth can occur when the salivary glands don’t produce enough saliva to keep the mouth moist. Symptoms of dry mouth may include bad breath, stickiness in your mouth, even difficulty swallowing. It can be caused by a number of reasons such as medication, tobacco and alcohol use, cancer therapy, or health conditions. Since saliva is vital in helping to prevent tooth decay and for overall well-being, consult your care provider to determine the root cause.

Biotene Fluoride Toothpaste can help make symptoms of dry mouth manageable while preventing tooth decay and freshening breath. The non-irritating formula is alcohol-free and sugar-free. The active ingredient is fluoride to prevent cavities and strengthen enamel. Biotene is the number one brand recommended by dentist for dry mouth.

Price at publication: $7

Active Ingredients: Sodium Fluoride | Benefits: Cavity prevention, Helps combat dry mouth | Flavor: Fresh Mint | Size: 4.3 ounce

Best Natural Toothpaste

Tom's of Maine Fluoride-Free Antiplaque & Whitening Natural Toothpaste 2 Pack

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  • Fluoride-free

  • No artificial flavors or colors

  • Natural whitening


  • Contains sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS)

  • Contains carrageenan

  • Unpleasant aftertaste

Tom’s of Maine Fluoride-Free Antiplaque & Whitening Toothpaste is a more natural alternative to conventional toothpastes. Calcium carbonate is used as a mild abrasive to gently remove plaque buildup, while hydrated silica cleans and polishes teeth. Naturally-derived zinc citrate and sodium bicarbonate freshens your breath and xylitol fights bacteria. In addition to peppermint, Tom’s of Maine Fluoride-Free Antiplaque & Whitening Toothpaste is available in spearmint and fennel flavors.

Price at publication: $16

Active Ingredients: Calcium Carbonate, Xylitol, Sodium Bicarbonate | Benefits: Cavity and plaque prevention, Whitening, Freshens breath | Flavor: Peppermint, Spearmint, and Fennel | Size: 5.5 ounce

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How We Selected the Best Toothpaste

When determining the best toothpastes, we spoke with dentists and spent hours reviewing dozens of toothpastes from the top oral care brands. We evaluated them based on their key ingredients, packaging, price, and ADA recommendations.

What to Look for when choosing a Toothpaste

Ingredients and Benefits

Flashy packaging won’t make your teeth healthy and sparkling, what matters is what’s inside the tube. Per the American Dental Association, specific ingredients can help improve tooth sensitivity, reduce gingivitis, prevent tartar buildup and enamel erosion, whiten teeth, and freshenbreath. Following are some of the active ingredients to look for.

Fluoride: This is the single most important ingredient in conventional toothpaste. “Fluoride is going to be the primary active ingredient,” says Dr. Manz.Dr. Kennedy adds, "[Sodium fluoride] is a safe way to strengthen your teeth and to prevent tooth decay or cavities.”

Dr. Manz advises, "The fluoride in toothpaste prevents the demineralization of enamel due to acid attack from food and drink. If you have fluoride in your tap water and fluoride from toothpaste, the enamel remineralizes more rapidly and you're less likely to develop cavities. The simplest explanation is that fluoride makes the teeth stronger.”

There are different types of fluoride, but stannous fluoride and sodium fluoride are most commonly used in toothpaste. Stannous fluoride acts as an antibacterial agent, which can help eliminate bad breath and plaque buildup. It can also help reduce tooth hypersensitivity when brushing. Sodium fluoride strengthens teeth and helps protect them from decay and cavities.

Most fluoride-based toothpastes contain a concentration of at least 1,000 parts per million (ppm) of fluoride. For people with severe tooth decay, a dentist may recommend a toothpaste with a concentration of up to 5,000 ppm.

Surfactant: Most Americans are accustomed to sudsy toothpaste. Sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) creates the foaming action in conventional toothpastes. Some dentists believe it helps to clean teeth and the mouth more thoroughly.

Hydrogen Peroxide: Hydrogen peroxide removes both surface and intrinsic stains, leaving noticeably brighter, whiter teeth.

Xylitol: Another beneficial ingredient often found in toothpaste is xylitol. It's a sweetener that “not only makes toothpaste taste good, it helps eradicate bad bacteria that cause tooth decay,”

Abrasives: “Toothpastes may also contain calcium carbonate, silicate aluminum carbonates, or aluminum hydroxide; those things are abrasives,” says Dr. Manz. “I think most of the data really indicates that the action of the bristles of the toothbrush on our tooth is what really removes the majority of the plaque in the calculus.” These are cleaning and polishing agents added to toothpaste to remove surface stains and break up bacterial colonies. According to the ADA, toothpaste with a relative dentin abrasion of 250 or below is safe to use for daily brushing with appropriate techniques.


Although most toothpastes are some variation of a mint flavor, there are other options available such as cinnamon, tea tree oil, even fennel. The only real way to know if a toothpaste passes your taste test is to try it out. Luckily, many retailers have a return policy, because chances are, if you can’t tolerate the taste, you’re not going to use it.

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. If you're unsure which toothpaste will best fit your individual needs, ask your dentist for guidance.

Although the ingredients in toothpastes should be your top consideration, it is also important to make sure that you’re brushing your teeth correctly with a pea-sized amount of toothpaste. “Often patients rinse with water right after brushing. But when you do this, you actually rinse off all the active ingredients that we just talked about,” Dr. Kennedy says. Instead, she recommends spitting out the excess toothpaste and leaving the rest of the product to linger around the teeth.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Does toothpaste expire, and can you use expired toothpaste?

    Toothpaste does come with an expiration date stamped on the end of the tube. It’s usually two years out from the date of purchase and plenty of time to brush through every ounce before the date rolls around. Expired toothpaste may harden over time, making it harder to use effectively.

  • How much toothpaste should you use when brushing?

    The recommended amount of toothpaste to use when brushing varies by age. The ADA recommends that children use a smear of toothpaste (the size of a grain of rice) from the time the first tooth erupts until they're three years old. From three years through adulthood, a pea-sized amount of toothpaste is sufficient. These small amounts help ensure children don't ingest unsafe amounts of fluoride.

    As tempting as it may be to squeeze a large swirl of toothpaste as seen on commercials, adults don’t actually need that much. “For adults, you want to use about a pea-sized amount of toothpaste,” Dr. Kennedy says. “Remember, it is not about how much toothpaste that you’re putting in there because you’re going to spit out all of the extra. It is about allowing it to stay on after you have brushed your teeth so that the active ingredients have time to work.”

  • How does the ADA choose which products make the seal of acceptance?

    The ADA has a set requirements that toothpastes must meet to earn the seal of acceptance. The ADA uses the requirements listed in the ANSI/ADA Standard No. 130 for Dentifrices - Requirements, Test Methods and Marking to analyze each product, and uses additional lab studies to determine whether or not a toothpaste is fit for the seal. While the process of getting a toothpaste accepted is extensive, one general requirement of all products on the seal of acceptance list is that they must all contain fluoride.

  • How much does toothpaste cost? Are more expensive brands better?

    Colgate Cavity Protection Toothpaste with Fluoride is our overall best pick and a great bargain. Available on Amazon in a package of six 6 ounce tubes for $10, that’s just $0.28 per ounce.

    The price of toothpaste can range from under $5 to over $10 per tube on the higher end. Many brands fall somewhere in the middle. Typically toothpaste costs less per ounce when you buy in bulk, such as the two to six tube packs. Don’t be afraid to shop around to price compare. Several options may be available on Amazon and drug store websites. In person, you may find the best bargain on your favorite toothpaste at the grocery store. Sometimes manufacturer coupons are available to help you save more money. We’ve even found name brands at the dollar store, TJ Maxx and similar retailers.

    Toothpastes targeting a specific issue, such as whitening are often more expensive due to added ingredients like charcoal or peroxide. Other times we’re paying for options such as a different flavor or a gel versus paste. Look beyond flashy packaging and read the label to ensure the toothpaste meets your needs. ADA-accepted toothpastes will contain fluoride, the main active ingredient for cavity prevention and healthy teeth. Beyond that, it’s a matter of personal choice or following your dentist’s recommendations.

    Learn More:How to Keep a Healthy Smile Into Old Age

"One of the biggest myths about aging and oral health is the belief that losing teeth is a normal part of getting older. This is absolutely not true—your teeth should last you a lifetime. The status of your dentition and mouth are paramount to your overall health and will contribute to your overall longevity. Translation? If youlook after your teeth, you’re looking after the rest of your body and setting yourself up for longer-lasting and far better quality health."


Why Trust Verywell Health

Danielle Zoellner knows the importance of finding just the right product to fit your medical needs. Throughout her career, Danielle has interviewed a variety of experts in the medical and health fields while reviewing dozens of products. Her experience and knowledge in the field work together to help readers like you find the best products for your daily life.

Additional reporting to this story by Jennifer Nied

As a seasoned health writer, Jennifer Nied understands how vital quality product recommendations are for treating symptoms safely and effectively at home. For over 10 years, she has reviewed products, interviewed experts, scrutinized ingredients, and poured over research studies and claims, to help readers like you understand what works for your specific conditions. Every product in this piece was selected taking into account recommendations from doctors, published research, and real customer reviews.

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