Home for the Holidays: The ultimate toothpaste guide


Thanksgiving is quickly approaching bringing on the flurry of the holiday season. Whether you are having out of town guests, children home from college, or just cozying up at home, chances are you are going to have to buy toothpaste within the next few weeks. With so many different types on the market today it may be somewhat confusing to know what is best.

Every person and every mouth is unique, so keep in mind that no one type of toothpaste will address the needs of all. Here is a handy guide to types of toothpaste we hope will help you make good decisions for you and your loved ones:

Tartar control toothpaste: If you have buildup of tartar on your teeth and gums and you want to prevent it from getting worse, this type might be right for you. A reminder in case you have forgotten: tartar is basically the plaque that wasn’t removed from the teeth and has now hardened onto them. If too much tartar builds up under your gums, it creates the potential danger of gum disease. Most of these types of toothpaste have fluoride and other useful ingredients.


Baking soda toothpaste: the name says it all. If you prefer a different flavor than typical mint varieties, baking soda toothpaste might be an option. Baking soda based toothpaste is great for effectively removing any surface stains. It will help reduce gum irritation and pain, and it is definitely less abrasive than other types.

Smoker’s toothpaste:  This type is specially designed to remove nicotine and tar stains from your teeth as well as bad breath caused by smoking. A note of caution: this toothpaste may be particularly abrasive.

Sensitive teeth toothpaste: If you experience sharp pain when consuming hot or cold foods and drinks, sensitive teeth toothpaste and its active ingredients will help desensitize the nerve endings and reduce tooth sensitivity. They are also less abrasive and designed to be gentle to your teeth and gums.

Teeth whitening toothpaste: The question is:  do they really work? Actually, different types vary in results and strength. The key ingredients of most types of whitening toothpaste are hydrogen peroxide or calcium peroxide, and they are both highly abrasive. That is why dentists consider many of them too harsh for teeth. And the constant use of this type of toothpaste might cause tooth sensitivity. And most significantly – they do not actually whiten your teeth; they only polish them by removing surface stains. Before buying teeth whitening toothpaste, keep in mind that some brands are too aggressive and may damage your teeth. And definitely consult your dentist first.

Children’s toothpaste: Many children are put off by the taste of mint or baking soda, so a special type of toothpaste has been designed to make your job as parent easier and the child’s brushing routine more enjoyable. These tend to be fruity and sweet.

As you can see, there are so many choices. Brushing the teeth with toothpaste that suits your needs at least twice per day, plus flossing, plus seeing us regularly for your professional cleaning, is the best recipe for healthy, beautiful white teeth.

Enjoy the holidays, and please don’t hesitate to ask us about any aspect of your oral care. We welcome your questions and your feedback!

All the best,

Dr. Jim