Join 3,514 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


Toothpaste quandary
December 7, 2005 10:23 AM   Subscribe

What toothpaste is the best for the health of my teeth and gums?

Please limit your answers to toothpastes that are widely available in the US, not too expensive, made by Colgate, Crest, Close-up, etc.
posted by riffola to Health & Fitness (42 answers total)
 
from The Straight Dope: What's the best toothpaste?

in short: just get the cheap shit!
posted by mcsweetie at 10:26 AM on December 7, 2005


The best stuff is the stuff that gets you to brush your teeth two to three times a day (and encourages you to floss.)

That said, since I am not a dentist, I can say that the dental office I work for gives away the small tubes of Colgate Total toothpaste, and we have to pay to get it into our office, no freebie samples are given to us.

Beyond that, I need to tell you that you should see a dentist, because the health of your teeth and gums can be in any state right now, and only a professional exam can reveal that. So, make an appointment!
posted by bilabial at 10:29 AM on December 7, 2005


Oh yeah dentists are a given, and stuff. I just meant in general what is the best toothpaste to maintain good health?
posted by riffola at 10:32 AM on December 7, 2005


My dentist only recommends Sensodyne. Frankly however after changing away from Colgate Total my teeth feel crappier for the experience. (I.e., not properly clean)
posted by biffa at 10:42 AM on December 7, 2005


It's not a big deal (I prefer Arm & Hammer, but that's just a matter of taste).

How you brush is more important than the paste (45' angle, scrub area between the gums and the teeth, flick up/downwards - too much rubbing can damage the enamel, stimulating the gums strengthens them and protects the very delicate bone under them).
posted by PurplePorpoise at 10:42 AM on December 7, 2005


Anything that contains flouride is fine - there are brands, but honestly they all do the same thing.

And as bilabial said, anything that gets you to brush your teeth - for me, it's children's toothpaste. You can get stuff that comes in melon, banana, orange, candycane flavours, and they also come in smaller tubes so i can keep one at work, one in the car, one at home, etc. Instead of thinking about which toothpaste to use (just look at the back - has flouride in it), pick a good toothbrush instead and change it every three months.
posted by Sallysings at 10:45 AM on December 7, 2005


VITA-MYR herbal, clove- myrrh, great stuff.
posted by hortense at 10:49 AM on December 7, 2005


I read a long time ago that there have been no conclusive studies that toothpaste does anything to prevent tooth decay - it's the actual brushing that does that. They say you should use the softest toothbrush you can find and never put more pressure than that of an orange (I still can't figure out how to do that short of taping an orange to the end of my toothbrush!)

One question I've always had is this. I floss, mouthwash and brush - in that order. Is there an order that is recommended for maximum effect? Is it better to floss after you brush? I always feel that if I did that I might push the loosened pieces back in between my teeth if I didn't use the mouthwash to remove it before I brushed.
posted by any major dude at 10:50 AM on December 7, 2005


any major dude, I have fought with a friend about this- I say floss before brushing- so you can get the junk out and brush it away. She says, floss after.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 10:55 AM on December 7, 2005 [1 favorite]


My routine?

1. Sonicare Elite Toothbrush - it has a two minute timer, so for the past eight months I've been guaranteed the proper amount of brushing - any toothpaste with the ADA seal will do. As recommended above, just make sure to brush properly (I'm still not sure that I'm doing it right)

2. Spray my tongue with a prep; scrape until most of the white stuff (that's the stuff that causes bad breath) is gone.

3. Floss.

4. Mouthwash (making sure to gargle because much of the bacteria that causes bad breath hangs out in the back near the tonsils).

5. Repeat at least once a day; twice if I'm bored.
posted by SeizeTheDay at 10:56 AM on December 7, 2005


Stuff with baking soda and peroxide always makes my teeth feel cleaner. I have the vague notion that it's also more efficient and cleaning. Not sure. Mentadent "advanced cleaning with breath freshening" tastes the best out of any of the ones I've tried.
posted by rxrfrx at 10:57 AM on December 7, 2005


WARNING: VITA-MYR toothpaste does not contain an approved cavity prevention agent (in this case, it lacks FLUORIDE), and therefore is not approved (and is likely illegal) in most countries to be sold as a cavity prevention measure.

(which probably explains why the website curiously lacks "FIGHTS CAVITIES" in the description for the toothpaste)
posted by shepd at 10:57 AM on December 7, 2005


Semi-tangental: anyone else ever been given a prescription for "Prevident" by their dentist? Did it seem to actually make a difference?
posted by PinkStainlessTail at 11:06 AM on December 7, 2005


Contrary to others' experience, I found that the non-sweet toothpastes (eg, Tom's of Maine) are actually more pleasant to brush with. But I really hate the taste of all toothpastes, so I think this is because the Tom's is more neutral.

Floss after you brush. That way you get the bits your brush can't. If you are really worried about lurking pieces, rinse your mouth after, but I know that when I floss, most of the pieces stick to the floss.
posted by dame at 11:09 AM on December 7, 2005


A long time ago (1985?) I read in The Secret House that most toothpastes contained formaldehyde. So I switched to Tom's. It took a little getting used to, but I've used it ever since (only one cavity, Mom!).
posted by ObscureReferenceMan at 11:22 AM on December 7, 2005


I'm not asking about how to brush or whether I should floss twice or anything. Just recommend toothpases please. :)
posted by riffola at 11:22 AM on December 7, 2005


Toothpastes even!
posted by riffola at 11:23 AM on December 7, 2005


I like Topol
posted by matteo at 11:33 AM on December 7, 2005


I was raised on Tom's of Maine toothpaste. Once I had to use a sweet toothpaste and I didn't feel like my teeth were cleaned. I usually floss before I brush.
posted by vkxmai at 11:34 AM on December 7, 2005


I've been using Biotene since I read about it here in some other context. I quite like it because it's non-foaming and doesn't leave my shirt or bathrobe looking like the closing scene of some pr0n movie should I dribble a bit.
posted by cairnish at 11:37 AM on December 7, 2005 [1 favorite]


Riffola, someone else asked the other question. I was always under the impression that reasonable piggybacking was okay in AskMe.
posted by dame at 11:38 AM on December 7, 2005


Based on advice from my dentist, I started using CloSysII lately, toothpaste and mouthwash. That, and a SonicCare and careful flossing. My wife tells me my Horrible breath is now just normal.
posted by soundslikeobiwan at 11:40 AM on December 7, 2005



WARNING: VITA-MYR toothpaste does not contain an approved cavity prevention agent.....uhhmmm
both myrh and clove are anti bacterial, flouride is posion.
posted by hortense at 11:48 AM on December 7, 2005


I say floss before brushing

Me too.

Floss after you brush. That way you get the bits your brush can't.

But what difference does it make if you get them out before or after you brush? If you do it after, then you're left with that slight leftover-food taste in your mouth. I want to be left with that clean, bright, fresh toothpaste taste! (I use Crest because I like the taste, but I'm well aware it doesn't make a bit of difference.)
posted by languagehat at 12:09 PM on December 7, 2005


Other than getting one that contains flouride, it makes absolutely no difference to the health of your teeth and gums which toothpaste you use (IANAD).
posted by winston at 12:12 PM on December 7, 2005


dame, it might be ok in most threads, but in this one right from the get go was meant to focus only on toothpastes. It adds to the noise, helpful to some comments, but noise in terms of the topic of the thread.
posted by riffola at 12:12 PM on December 7, 2005


Colgate Sensitive with Whitening works great.
posted by jazzman at 12:28 PM on December 7, 2005


Given that I agree with the answer about whatever toothpaste gets you brushing the most, I share this story:

I always found that toothpastes made me gag horribly. It was murder to get myself motivated to go make myself sick, er, I mean, brush.

Until I found the Crest Citrus Flavour which I find is wayyyy less gag-inducing than anything I have ever used. I now have no problem brushing twice daily...thankfully.

Sorry if that sounded like an ad.
posted by Richat at 12:30 PM on December 7, 2005


The Academy of General Dentistry has both some good info pages (here's the one on toothpaste) and a forum where your questions will be answered by Real Live Dentists who are members of the AGD.

They say you should look for something with both fluoride and the ADA seal of approval (if you're in the US; not sure whether other countries have similar things). They also seem to be unimpressed with the baking soda and hydrogen peroxide whitening agents (potentially abrasive/damaging, with no clear benefit).
posted by needs more cowbell at 12:49 PM on December 7, 2005


It's about focus LH. Zero in better. Now I will stop since riffola asked nice, even if I disagree. Sorry, dude.
posted by dame at 12:50 PM on December 7, 2005


My dentist gives me a tube of Sensodyne or Total, and has just given me a tube of Tooth Mousse.
posted by obiwanwasabi at 1:12 PM on December 7, 2005


I work in health care PR, specifically dental, and get lots of toothpaste freebies and whatnot. I've sampled a ton of stuff and found Crest's Cinnamon Rush to be my favorite. It's mildly gritty and tastes kind of spicy, like cinnamon red-hots.

My husband is nuts for Aquafresh Extreme Clean Citrus, though, which is really foamy. And I know someone who is addicted to the strawberry kiddie toothpaste from Tom's of Maine.

So I guess it all depends what flavors you like. (Although I don't know how anyone can stand brushing with Crest's Vanilla toothpaste, which looks and tastes like canned frosting, but anyway.) As everyone else here has said, just look for a fluoride toothpaste, preferably with the ADA seal.

By the way, Fructodent, which is produced by an Italian company, is now selling "gourmet" (their word, not mine) toothpastes in green apple, mint chocolate, lemon-sage and strawberry-mint, among other flavors. They were supposed to be distributed to drugstores this fall, although I have yet to come across any and I don't know if they contain fluoride.
posted by Sully6 at 1:19 PM on December 7, 2005


I went to one dentist who insisted that toothpaste doesn't do anything for you at all, other than make the experience more pleasant.

The next dentist said that brushing with toothpaste is less abrasive than brushing with water alone, but that was the only benefit.

My current dentist believes that fluoride in toothpaste is an important benefit.
posted by wryly at 1:35 PM on December 7, 2005


both myrh and clove are anti bacterial, flouride is posion.

Wow, I hardly even know where to start.

1) Fluoride is not in your toothpaste to kill bacteria but to harden your teeth.

2) Your toothpaste need not be anti-bacterial. In fact that may be a bad idea.

3) Fluoride has been clinically proven to reduce the occurrence of cavities. If you are aware of any studies proving the efficacy of myrrh and clove, I'd like to hear about them.

4) If you think it's poison (which it is not in the concentrations in toothpaste, but wtf-ever) then don't eat your toothpaste, spit it out like normal people do.
posted by kindall at 1:41 PM on December 7, 2005


WARNING: VITA-MYR toothpaste does not contain an approved cavity prevention agent.....uhhmmm
both myrh and clove are anti bacterial, flouride is posion.


(I enjoy a challenge of this nature). Lest we forget that DHMO is a poison too.

From wikipedia: "A "certainly lethal dose" [of fluoride] is estimated to be 32-64 fluoride mg per kilogram of body mass". An average male person weighs about 75 kg. That means 2.4 grams of fluoride, taken at once, is entering the toxicity zone (that's low, many sources put the number as high as 5 grams, but I'll play fair). From the earlier article, almost all fluoridated toothpasts have 1,000 ppm fluoride, or 1 mg per gram of toothpaste. To risk death from fluoride in toothpaste this adult must consume (not just brush, but swallow) a minimum of 2.4 kg of toothpaste. For the American in you all :-) that's over 5 pounds of toothpaste. The average tube costing about 1 cent per gram, that means you must eat $24 in toothpaste to die from the fluoride in it, or, another way, 32 tubes of average sized toothpaste. IN ONE SITTING!

Recall also from that atricle "the half life for concentration of fluorine compounds is on an order of hours.", ie: Lethal concentrations must be ingested completely within a matter of a few hours, similar to the lethal properties of DHMO.

Basically, I think it's a risk I'm willing to take. I tend to try not to consume even a full tube of toothpaste in one sitting, never mind my avoidance of consuming the pea sized dot that ends up on my brush.

Now, of course, Eugenol, a main dental component of clove based toothpaste carries the following warning: Overdose is possible, causing a wide range of symptoms from blood in the patient's urine, to convulsions, diarrhea, nausea, unconsciousness, dizziness, or rapid heartbeat. Nassssstayyyy...

For more fun, Samantha Heller of the NY University Medical Center warns: "...there has been little to no research on toxicity of myrrh in humans..."
posted by shepd at 2:30 PM on December 7, 2005


"Mandrake, do you realize that in addition to fluoridating water, why, there are studies underway to fluoridate salt, flour, fruit juices, soup, sugar, milk... ice cream. Ice cream, Mandrake, children's ice cream."

just trust your feeling after brushing and don't overdo the whitener
posted by suni at 2:44 PM on December 7, 2005


I've been using Rembrandt Intense Stain for a while with good results, but it's expensive stuff. CunningLinguist's recommendation in this thread will work almost as well, and it's absurdly cheap. (Downsides: no flouride, tastes like sweaty toe.)
posted by maryh at 3:40 PM on December 7, 2005


Dental carries are caused(complex acids formed) by the ecrement of bacteria, bacteria cannot adhere and reproduce on teeth treated with Fl. Flouride is anti bacterial . Myrrh was one of the gifts for Baby Jesus and is time honored gift of nature, and it comes from a plant. Koldgate Napalm Olive Gel is a gift from the chemical factory (but you can get a tour of their plant) I know all the benefits of flouride but choose instead to use herbal based products .
I rather my money go to Dr.Bronner or some health food nut mixing toothpaste an a bath tub in Vegas. than some huge corporation.
posted by hortense at 9:18 PM on December 7, 2005


Tooth decay is caused mostly by lactic acid, which is produced by a few different kinds of bacteria in your mouth. This is why many dentists are into Colgate Total, as it contains triclosan, a frighteningly effective anti-bacterial agent. Kill the bacteria, less lactic acid is producted, less tooth decay.

You all may now chime in about the hazards of putting triclosan in your mouth.

I use Peelu Cinnamon toothpaste.
posted by trevyn at 11:59 PM on December 7, 2005


Dental carries are caused(complex acids formed) by the ecrement of bacteria, bacteria cannot adhere and reproduce on teeth treated with Fl. Flouride is anti bacterial .

Nothing personal, but I would not take dental advice from someone who can't spell "caries", "fluoride," or "anti-bacterial." I'm the last guy to make a spelling flame, though bad spelling does drive me to distraciton, but I'll bet people who actually know what they're talking about can spell these words correctly.

Your "Flouride [sic] is anti [sic] bacterial" link, by the way, goes back to this very thread; it can hardly be considered supporting evidence for your comment. Also, it is simply wrong:

[Fluoride] makes the tooth structure stronger, so teeth are more resistant to acid attacks. ... Fluoride also acts to repair, or remineralize, areas in which acid attacks have already begun. The remineralization effect of fluoride is important because it reverses the early decay process as well as creating a tooth surface that is more resistant to decay. -- the American Dental Association, who I'd wager know what they are talking about, and who somehow negelect mention fluoride's alleged anti-bacterial properties anywhere on their page about the substance's tooth-saving abilities.

By the way, "anti-bacterial" generally means a substance kills bacteria, not that it merely prevents them from sticking somewhere.

Myrrh was one of the gifts for Baby Jesus and is time honored gift of nature, and it comes from a plant.

And next time we have a Messiah on the planet, I'm sure it'll be a great thing to give him. That doesn't mean it's any good for your teeth.

Koldgate Napalm Olive Gel

I don't know what this is, but I doubt I want to put it in my mouth either. Anyway, I thought we were talking about toothpastes.

I rather my money go to Dr.Bronner or some health food nut mixing toothpaste an a bath tub in Vegas. than some huge corporation.

Personally I'd rather choose my health-care products based on their clinically-proven efficacy rather than on who will benefit from my money. If two products are equal in efficacy, then I'll maybe think about politics. Putting politics before health is a good way to lose all your money to charlatans and, incidentally, get yourself dead.

People who don't know what they're talking about should not be giving advice on Ask MetaFilter. Normally I would not be so harsh, but there is some danger that people might actually take your advice, as you have persisted in giving it after being corrected at least once.

Moving on...

This is why many dentists are into Colgate Total, as it contains triclosan, a frighteningly effective anti-bacterial agent.

Wow, I did not know this at all. It strikes me as a not-so-great thing, frankly. Of course, it means that fluoride doesn't have anti-bacterial properties, otherwise they wouldn't add the triclosan.
posted by kindall at 12:44 PM on December 8, 2005


People who don't know what they're talking about should not be giving advice on Ask MetaFilter. Normally I would not be so harsh, but there is some danger that people might actually take your advice, as you have persisted in giving it after being corrected at least once.
Thank you, I stand corrected (spell check) I still think the paste I recommended is just fine, but missed just what toothpaste you recommend.?
posted by hortense at 6:44 PM on December 8, 2005


One with fluoride. Maybe not so much the triclosan, I don't really trust that stuff not to evolve superbugs in America's mouths. Last thing I need is to get flesh-eating bacteria from kissing.
posted by kindall at 1:04 AM on December 9, 2005


« Older ISO Lakka (Finnish cloudberry ...   |  I have an old (200+ years?) Bi... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.