/ Health, Shopping

How do you choose your toothpaste?

Choosing toothpaste should be one of life’s simpler decisions. But with more than a hundred varieties on sale promising everything from cavity prevention to teeth whitening, how do you decide which is best?

And is it better to splash out on a more expensive brand or will a cheaper one do the job just as well?

Our new research takes a look at the science behind the claims, and whether you can really trust them.

I’ve always been sceptical about those claims you see on toothpaste packaging. Enamel protection? Relief for sensitive teeth? Really? Instead I tend to look for discounts and offers when choosing which one to buy.

Usually I stick to chemist or supermarket own brands to get the best price, and if they proffer the words ‘teeth whitening’ or ‘total’ – well that’s a bonus.

I use an electric toothbrush at home and I like to think that thorough brushing, coupled with regular visits to the dentist, will give me all the protection I need.

Can you trust teeth whitening and other claims?

How important are those toothpaste claims to you? Well, 54% of you told us you opt for a sensitive toothpaste, with 46% looking for ‘complete’ or ‘total’ claims, and 36% buying teeth whitening toothpastes.

Of the claims we looked at, fluoride is one key ingredient that science seems to support. There’s significant evidence to prove that it protects from decay and prevents against acid erosion.

But it also matters how much of it there is in your toothpaste. You can look on the pack for one that contains more than 1,450 parts per million of fluoride (ppmf) to make sure you’re getting a good level of protection.

There is also some evidence to suggest that ingredients for reducing sensitivity can help. But experts told us that different things will work for different people, so you might have to try a few to find what works for you.

And teeth whitening claims? Our experts compared two toothpastes that claim to give whiter teeth in a week, but saw no evidence to support the claims. There’s limited evidence to buy a whitening toothpaste instead of a standard fluoride one, and they won’t be as effective as teeth whitening (bleaching) or a clean by your dentist.

So how do you decide which toothpaste to choose? Do you look for a certain claim or favour a brand? Or like me, do you simply go for the cheapest on offer?

hSt33 says:
19 August 2015

No ignorant statements on fluoridation here yet so I hope Dr Paul Connett vid can keep that from happening.


My niece hates toothpaste and only uses a brush and water obviously there are very good soladey ionic brushes out there that don’t require any toothpaste.

Mark L says:
5 October 2016

I was staggered to learn a few things about fluoride recently. A very important point to know on Fluoride is that it’s not the amount that’s there at the beginning (eg 1,500ppm) but what is actually available to the teeth from the moment you brush. You actually only need a very small amount of fluoride at any moment in time to make a difference (I think it’s less than 10ppm!!). Most toothpastes put very large amounts in purely because it washes away so quickly..usually in around 1.5 hours and reduces by hald every minute eg after 1 minute is down to 750 from 1,500 !! so the VAST majority of the fluoride actually ends up ingested. Look out for toothpastes that give longer periods of fluoride protection. The ideal is a small amount over a long period of time.