When trying to pick a toothpaste from a supermarket shelf we are struck with numerous possibilities – different colours, different flavours, those promising sparkling whites and those claiming to be the most natural and additive-free. So what is the difference and what should we look out for when choosing a toothpaste?


This is the most important ingredient in a good toothpaste. Fluoride strengthens enamel and protects your teeth from decay (cavities). It is important to pick the correct, age-appropriate toothpaste for kids, as too much fluoride (especially when swallowed) may lead to adult teeth developing with brown/yellow/white marks-this is called Fluorosis.

The correct concentration of Fluoride does not harm the teeth in any way, only protects them. It is important to teach the kids to spit the toothpaste out and not swallow it to prevent any risks of Fluorosis.


This seems to be the new fad, claiming to be a more natural ingredient that strengthens the teeth. Charcoal toothpastes have not been shown to be more superior/beneficial. They may also be more abrasive, causing the enamel to wear down if used routinely instead of a normal fluoridated toothpaste.


These are very effective in reducing tooth sensitivity. They contain certain ingredients that when used routinely, form a barrier over the tooth’s surface, preventing cold air and water from travelling into the tooth and irritating the tooth nerve, which usually causes sensitivity. These can also be rubbed directly onto the sensitive teeth and left in place to reduce severe sensitivity.


These contain a type of bleaching agent, which may help to remove stains from the teeth. Because it is very mild, the result is often also mild, if not negligible.

These toothpastes also include abrasive particles like silica, so if used routinely can wear down the enamel, causing sensitivity.


Sodium lauryl sulphate is a common ingredient which helps toothpaste to foam up in the mouth. Some people are allergic to it or simply don’t like the frothing sensation, thus may be best to look for sulphate-free options

Still confused and unsure of which one is best for you? Discuss it at the next appointment with your dentist, we are always happy to help!