Help me find a toothpaste that doesn’t sting or slightly burn.
January 23, 2014 7:28 AM   Subscribe

I’m looking for a toothpaste that feels somewhat bland and creamy when used. All too often when I use the toothpastes available there is a slight burning sensation that I assume comes from the chemicals in it. The sensation is not unlike the unpleasantness one initially feels when gargling and swishing with listerine mouthwashes--a kind of stinging that lists for maybe 5-10 seconds and that abates quickly. Is there a toothpaste (not a DIY variety which some have offered as an option) that feels gentle on the mouth without trading off effectiveness and decent cavity protection.

Colgate Total which is by most estimations an excellent toothpaste is just a bit too stingy for me. The one I currently use is the Red Optic White which for some reason doesn’t leave my mouth slightly stinging during the initial ten seconds of brushing. Sensodyne has been fine in the past but it’s a bit more expensive. Also, I have used small quantities of the toothpastes above in an attempt to ameliorate the discomfort of using them. However, this has had a limited effect.
posted by RapcityinBlue to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (37 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Have you tried Tom's of Maine? I love it but my husband and sister complain that it tastes like nothing, which may be exactly what you're looking for.
posted by something something at 7:32 AM on January 23 [5 favorites]

i came in to say tom's of maine as well. we're currently using the "wicked cool!" with flouride flavor. it tastes like almost nothing to me, which i don't like because i don't feel minty fresh after. it's pretty cheap too, so you won't be out too much if you turn out to hate it.
posted by misanthropicsarah at 7:34 AM on January 23

You can buy off-brand sensodyne with the same active ingredients at half the price.

I would not recommend Tom's of Maine since they don't put fluoride in their toothpaste (except for one flavor), and you need fluoride for cavities.
posted by St. Peepsburg at 7:35 AM on January 23 [2 favorites]

oh, also, whitening toothpastes will make your sensitive teeth more sensitive, if that's an issue for you too.
posted by misanthropicsarah at 7:35 AM on January 23

I don't like the strong-ass mint that most toothpaste companies flavor their products with, but I've found Aqua Fresh (especially the Extreme Clean line) to be the least offensive.
posted by General Malaise at 7:39 AM on January 23

Tom's of Maine is not the best option for me because as one contributor mentioned it tends to not have flouride which is crucial for preventing for cavities.
posted by RapcityinBlue at 7:41 AM on January 23

Have you tried Pepsodent? It's mint-ish, but not ka-pow flavored. The Complete Care kind has flouride.
posted by WeekendJen at 7:45 AM on January 23

Actually in general i find any cheapie toothpaste to be less stingy, just read the label to make sure it has flouride.
posted by WeekendJen at 7:47 AM on January 23

Forget toothpaste.

Use ACT Flouride Mouthwash twice daily with brushing for a thorough teeth cleansing without the sting. Dentist recommended.
posted by Kruger5 at 7:48 AM on January 23

Sensodyne. My dentist gives it out free with their little sample pack thing you get when you visit. I put it in my travel bag and use it on the road. It's very creamy feeling and not harsh.
posted by sanka at 7:49 AM on January 23

Sensodyne should not be used as your daily toothpaste because you build tolerance for its anti-sensitivity properties, making it less effective when you need it. Use it sparingly.
posted by Kruger5 at 7:53 AM on January 23

"Macleans Mild Mint." I can only find it being sold in Australia, but there are Australian on-line pharmacies happy to ship overseas.
posted by kmennie at 8:01 AM on January 23

Try the "for kids" version. It is milder.
posted by erst at 8:01 AM on January 23 [3 favorites]

If you generally like Colgate have you tried Colgate Sensitive?
posted by COD at 8:02 AM on January 23

Many flavors of Tom's of Maine do have fluoride. At my Kroger, I think that there are regularly 3 flavors with and 3 without--you just have to read the front of the box, where "Fluoride" or "Fluoride free" are written prominently. As someone who hates regular toothpaste, I have happily been using Tom's with fluoride for 10+ years.
posted by hydropsyche at 8:02 AM on January 23 [10 favorites]

As one data point, you could be reacting to triclosan, which is in Colgate Total but is not in Sensodyne or Red Optic White. I'd avoid anything with triclosan. (I loved the mouth feel of Colgate Total, but the triclosan exposure is... problematic.)
posted by pie ninja at 8:03 AM on January 23 [2 favorites]

Agreed about the triclosan, came here to suggest it. You could have a triclosan sensitivity. Toothpastes don't burn my mouth at all like Listerine does.
posted by the young rope-rider at 8:05 AM on January 23

Check out kids toothpastes. They come in milder flavors, some avoid mint altogether, not expensive and have fluoride.
posted by wwax at 8:10 AM on January 23 [2 favorites]

Are you familiar with Biotene toothpaste? They have a "gentle mint" flavor. It is, indeed, gentle, and it contains fluoride.
posted by wondermouse at 8:32 AM on January 23 [1 favorite]

nthing Tom's of Maine (and seconding that many, if not most, of their toothpastes do have fluoride), but specifically the cinnamon clove flavor, because the mint has a stronger flavor in a way that can feel slightly reminiscent of the regular toothpaste feeling.
posted by dizziest at 8:41 AM on January 23

Crest Pro Health is aggressively bland.

But if I were you I'd just try out kids' toothpastes.
posted by phunniemee at 8:42 AM on January 23

I don't know if they have Arm & Hammer where you are, but in the UK it's a brand that includes bicarbonate of soda, has fluoride plus this "liquid enamel" that's all the rage these days, and it has kind of a salty taste that takes some getting used to but which I also prefer to the minty stingingness.

On looking it seems it's an American brand, so you may be in luck!
posted by Drexen at 8:43 AM on January 23

Try children's toothpaste. They aren't as strong.
posted by windykites at 8:47 AM on January 23

Yeah, Nthing Tom's for Kids - the one WITH fluoride. It's extremely mild.
posted by BlahLaLa at 9:05 AM on January 23

This is not a toothpaste recommendation, but have you considered trying to reframe it in your mind? Based on your question, it seems like you may be thinking "Argh.. chemicals burning my mouth!". But, of course, your mouth is made up of cells and what is a mild stinging to those cells is a vicious attack on all the bacteria that is hanging out in your mouth. If you can convince yourself to rethink "Hah! Take that, you nasty little buggers!" maybe the stinging will bother you a bit less. Or maybe it's only my mind that works that way :)
posted by valoius at 9:57 AM on January 23 [1 favorite]

I have a tube of Colgate "Dora the Explorer" Colgate Bubble Fruit at home which I have used in a pinch, and it is quite bland. My daughter doesn't like tooth paste that is "too minty" or "too grown-up". If you don't like pink, there is a blue Spongebob version.
posted by Lazlo Hollyfeld at 10:57 AM on January 23 [1 favorite]

When I complained to my dentist of a similar problem, she wrote me a prescription for a toothpaste called Prevident. The spearmint flavor is mild and inoffensive, and with the co-pay on my prescription coverage it's actually quite a bit cheaper than many other toothpastes. Lots of fluoride. My teeth are happy. Like all the ads say, "ask your doctor if it's right for you."
posted by Corvid at 12:45 PM on January 23

Tom's of Maine is not the best option for me because as one contributor mentioned it tends to not have flouride which is crucial for preventing for cavities.

Tom's of Maine has 11 varieties of toothpaste with fluoride, out of 19 varieties total.

It seems like you are willing to choose specific varieties of brands, so I'm not sure why this would be an issue.

Most toothpastes are designed to tingle for marketing reasons, which is probably what you are perceiving as stinging or burning.

Almost all toothpastes contain additives with the sole job of making your mouth tingle after you brush... The tingling doesn't make the toothpaste work any better.

Also, I don't care how people spell things, but it's possible that your switching the letters in fluoride is making it difficult to search for the toothpaste you want.

posted by yohko at 12:50 PM on January 23

Nth-ing the "kids stuff". Much milder. I can't stand the adult stuff now after switching to kid's.
posted by The otter lady at 1:35 PM on January 23

Another recommendation here for Biotene. It's marketed toward people with dry mouth because it contains anti-bacterial enzymes -- it doesn't actually make you salivate!
posted by wryly at 2:37 PM on January 23

Trader Joe's makes some mild toothpastes. The peppermint ones have fluoride, but no triclosan or sodium lauryl sulfate (the latter of which irritates my mouth - it's in Colgate).
posted by bluefly at 4:52 PM on January 23

Desert Essence Natural Tea Oil & Neem toothpaste. Heard about this from a Dentist on the Dr. Oz show. I was skeptical but my wife bought some and, after trying it, I immediately threw my old toothpaste away.
posted by websailor at 4:54 PM on January 23

Another recommendation for Tom's of Maine's Wicked Cool Mild Mint toothpaste. Here's how they describe it: "NEW Wicked Cool!™ fluoride toothpaste features a mild mint flavor for kids who have outgrown fruit or bubblegum flavors but don't like the strong mint flavors in many adult toothpastes." I got some for my kid and have been using it myself. It's very mild. (But it's new and may not be available everywhere.)
posted by Redstart at 7:10 PM on January 23

I switched to SLS free toothpaste after Crest and Colgate started giving me mouth lesions; I've been using JASON Sea Fresh flavor, which has fluoride and does well by my sensitive teeth and mouth.
posted by Jeanne at 7:28 PM on January 23

I switched to SLS free toothpaste after Crest and Colgate started giving me mouth lesions; I've been using JASON Sea Fresh flavor, which has fluoride and does well by my sensitive teeth and mouth.

A quick look at the JASON products -- I'm not seeing that is has fluoride -- I'm only seeing nonfluoride versions?

I'm with the OP - everything burns, I'd like something with no SLS but WITH fluoride. Watching this thread closely...

(I've also tried a fluoride rinse to give me my fluoride, and although it promised to be nonburny - it burned.)
posted by vitabellosi at 6:28 AM on January 24

Never mind -- I did find a JASON toothpaste with fluoride!
posted by vitabellosi at 6:30 AM on January 24

If you happen to be near a Whole Foods they generally have a large selection of toothpaste, with and without fluoride, from Tom's of Maine and Jason and a lot of other less well-known brands. I've been using Tom's with fluoride for years, and my kid likes the strawberry or orange mango Tom's with fluoride.

If you aren't near a Whole Foods, they generally sell Tom's with fluoride in places like Target. It's about the only non-chemical laden toothpaste that you will be able to find in the average store. The adult versions are usually MUCH easier to find with fluoride than are the kids flavors, but the newer gentle mint w/fluoride for people ages 6-8+ is showing up in my local Target now, so that may also be an option.

I have used the Arm and Hammer baking soda stuff in the past. It is very much like brushing your teeth with slightly minty baking soda. But it works. Worth a try, especially if you can find a trial or travel size... (Tom's sells a 99 cent trial size of at least one flavor, it might be a good idea to look at trial sizes before committing to a $5 tube of toothpaste you might throw away after one or two uses!)
posted by caution live frogs at 7:34 AM on January 24

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