A Toothpaste Guide

by Morgan Fulton, RDH, BSDH

As a hygienist, one of the questions I am asked most often is, “what type of toothpaste do you recommend?” I don’t blame anyone for having questions about this. There are so many different variations of toothpastes that it can be overwhelming when you walk down the dental aisle in the store. And it doesn’t help that the marketing we see in magazines and on TV can be misleading about what the toothpastes can actually do for our teeth. So let’s see if I can break it down for you!


Who doesn’t want a whiter smile, right? First off, whitening toothpastes are not going to dramatically whiten your teeth by themselves. They are good for maintenance after whitening your teeth with bleach trays or whitening strips.

Also, if you drink a lot of coffee or tea, these can help remove the brown stain these drinks can leave behind. Toothpastes like Crest ProHealth and Crest 3D White have little beads or silica particles that help remove the stain from our enamel.

However, you should stay away from these abrasive pastes if you have areas of gum recession, because the abrasive particles could worsen the recession over time. A great choice for those with gum recession is Sensodyne ProNamel toothpaste. It is one of the least abrasive options on the market today.


Some toothpaste claim to help with tooth sensitivity, but they might not have any active ingredients other than fluoride, which is in most toothpastes already. I would recommend the Sensodyne brand for anyone with generally sensitive teeth. Using Sensodyne as their everyday toothpaste has made a difference for many patients who experience sensitivity.


Any toothpaste that contains fluoride is offering cavity protection for your teeth. The CDC claims that 95% of toothpastes today contain this mineral. Fluoride is absorbed into the enamel of your teeth, making it stronger and more resistant to the decay-causing acids in your mouth. There are a few different types of fluoride that are used today:

  • Sodium fluoride is the most commonly used, and offers great benefits to prevent tooth decay.
  • Stannous fluoride is also in some pastes, but this particular type can cause some staining of tooth-colored composite fillings. Therefore, it’s probably not the best for individuals with many composite fillings, especially if they’re on the front teeth. Stannous fluoride can also help reduce gingivitis.

If you are very prone to cavities, we might recommend using a high-fluoride toothpaste that will offer additional protection for your teeth. Fluoride is the best cavity fighter to help keep the whole family’s teeth strong!


Toothpastes containing triclosan have been shown to reduce plaque and gum inflammation caused by gingivitis. The Colgate Total line of toothpastes is the only brand in the U.S. that includes triclosan. This is a good option for patients with gum disease.

Never be afraid to ask your dental hygienist which kind of toothpaste they’d recommend for your mouth! We are happy to point you in the right direction.

Cedar Lodge Dental

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Whether you need a Hays dentist to provide your children with routine dental exams and professional cleanings or are interested in implant dentistry to fill the gaps in your own smile, you can rest assured that we have the dental services you need to achieve and maintain your best possible smile! To schedule an appointment with us, please give our office a call at (785) 625-7369 or complete the Appointment Request form. We look forward to meeting you soon and welcoming you to our practice where we give our patients plenty of reasons to smile!