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13 best toothpastes for every concern: From whitening to treating sensitivity

Keep your grin happy with our hard-working top picks

Tamara Hinson
Tuesday 03 May 2022 12:41
<p>Top tip: Don’t rinse your mouth immediately after brushing for the best results  </p>

Top tip: Don’t rinse your mouth immediately after brushing for the best results

These days, toothpastes do almost everything barring a deep clean of the kitchen sink. In fact, some of them would probably do that particular task pretty well, too.

Our top tips for anyone on the hunt for the perfect paste? Fluoride is an essential ingredient when it comes to preventing cavities and strengthening teeth.

Love a stat? The NHS’s official advice states that adults should use a toothpaste which contains at least 1,350 parts per million (ppm) fluoride. Children can use the same toothpaste as their parents, although kids aged three and under should just use a pea-sized blob. Don’t rinse your mouth immediately after brushing, because this will rinse away the fluoride used in the toothpaste, and will limit its beneficial effects. For the same reason, don’t use mouthwash immediately after brushing.

When searching for a whitening toothpaste, remember that you’re not looking for a toothpaste which will change the colour of your teeth – just one which will remove stains, which is normally achieved through the use of a paste with a slightly abrasive formula.

If you’re prone to sensitivity, look for whitening toothpastes which use naturally-derived silicas or hydrated silica to provide the abrasion, rather than overly granulated formulas.

Read more:

How we tested

This wasn’t exactly the hardest testing session considering (like most people, we hope) we brush our teeth at least twice a day. The silver lining to our addiction to both tea and anything sweet meant our mouths were the perfect testing ground for these toothpastes.

We honed in on a number of aspects, including stain removal, irritation reduction and mouth freshness. Aspects like long-term stain removal and plaque reduction were harder to prove, but our testing sessions – which took place over several weeks – provided more than enough time to evaluate claims relating to these issues. In short? Our teeth have never looked better.

The best toothpastes for 2022 are:

  • Best overall – Hello naturally whitening fluoride toothpaste: £3.49, Superdrug.com
  • Best for whitening – Polished London ultra white LMD toothpaste: £11.99, Polishedlondon.com
  • Best for sensitive gums – Oral-B sensitivity & gum calm original toothpaste: £2.49, Superdrug.com
  • Best for eco-warriors – Gallinée prebiotic toothpaste: £12, Cultbeauty.co.uk
  • Best for gum protection – Arm & Hammer 100% natural gum protection toothpaste: £4.50, Boots.com
  • Best for clean-feeling teeth – Oral-B 3DWhite clinical whitening restore diamond clean toothpaste: £16, Boots.com
  • Best for stye-savvy teeth brushers – Icy Bear diamond dust whitening toothpaste: £17.99, Icybeardental.com
  • Best budget option – Oral-B pro expert professional protection toothpaste: £2, Boots.com
  • Best all-round protection – Corsodyl complete protection toothpaste extra fresh: £4.50, Boots.com
  • Best value – Colgate gum invigorate revitalise toothpaste: £4, Boots.com
  • Best bacteria busting toothpaste – Luvbiotics whitening toothpaste with probiotics & xylitol: £7.95, Amazon.co.uk
  • Best for natural ingredients – Atomy green tea and propolis toothpaste: £5, Atomy.uk
  • Best non-minty toothpaste – Buly 1803 opiat dentaire mint coriander toothpaste: £21, Selfridges.com

Hello naturally whitening fluoride toothpaste

Best: Overall

Rating: 10/10

Want whiter brighter teeth but don’t want to slather them in chemicals or undergo expensive professional treatments? Hello’s toothpaste might just be for you. No, it won’t give you the ridiculously whitened smile of celebs like Simon Cowell or Rylan Clark, but what it will do is remove light stains for lighter, brighter teeth. It’s a great option if you’re looking to incorporate whitening power into a toothpaste which is also a brilliant all-rounder – the paste, which is described as containing farm-grown mint (although we’re not sure where else mint would be grown) left our mouths feeling wonderfully fresh, and the consistency was spot-on – thick enough for it to feel as though it was sloughing away stains, but easy to rinse away after brushing.

Polished London ultra white LMD toothpaste

Best: For whitening

Rating: 9/10

This is another great all-rounder which is ideal for anyone who wants to combine powerful cleaning action with whitening power. With its metallic letters and sleek tapered tube, it also provides a designer-inspired upgrade for your bathroom cabinet. Our first thoughts on the formula? It’s very white and rather drippy – you’ll need to start brushing as soon as you’ve loaded up your toothbrush unless you want to leave toothpaste trails all over your sink. That said, it left our mouth and teeth feeling fantastically clean. Sodium bicarbonate helps lift away light stains, while a combination of natural flavour oils – including wild mint and peppermint – provided a wonderful freshness free from the artificial tang found in many toothpastes. It’s vegan-friendly and PETA-approved, too.

Oral-B sensitivity & gum calm original toothpaste

Best: For sensitive gums

Rating: 9/10

This bright white toothpaste didn’t offer the overload of mint we’re increasingly coming across in our toothpastes – which is a good thing in our book, because as brushers prone to gum sensitivity, we often find it’s the mintiest toothpastes that irritate our gums the most. Don’t assume this means compromising on cleaning power though – this toothpaste left our teeth feeling amazingly clean and, when used during a sensitivity flare-up, there was a definite soothing effect (apparently thanks to something known as “ActivCalm technology”).  We were initially concerned about the mention of the light foam used to calm sensitivity, but the foam was minimal, which came as a relief – nobody likes the frothing-at-the-mouth look, after all.

Gallinée prebiotic toothpaste

Best: For eco-warriors

Rating: 8/10

We’re not going to lie – the colour of this toothpaste was a bit off-putting, thanks to its off-white hue. Then again, perhaps we should be wondering why we’ve become so accustomed to dazzlingly white toothpastes, and should be questioning which ingredients are used to create this effect. Either way, this is a product packed with natural goodness. There’s only a hint of mintiness to this toothpaste, which relies on the approach we’re increasingly seeing in skincare – that it’s important to protect the biome, which is the flora and fauna which thrives not just on our skin, but in our mouths. The 95 per cent-natural formula keeps teeth clean while helping the mouth achieve optimal bacterial balance, rather than relying on chemicals to blast baddies (and goodies) into oblivion. Whether this particular bit stacks up is hard to prove, but it definitely did a fantastic job of giving our teeth a deep clean while helping to reduce light stains, and the flavour – a combination of verbena and mint – was rather lovely, too.

Arm & Hammer 100% natural gum protection toothpaste

Best: For gum protection

Rating: 8/10

This toothpaste had Arm & Hammer’s trademark thickness – this stuff feels like you could use it on your oven to slough away burned-on stains – without the irritation which often comes with toothpastes with cranked-up cleaning power. It’s incredibly minty – something we didn’t expect, given our previously mentioned issues with gum irritation when using ultra-minty toothpastes – but surprisingly, our gums weren’t irritated at all, and the paste’s almost granular-consistency did a fantastic job of deep cleaning our teeth.

Oral-B 3DWhite clinical whitening restore diamond clean toothpaste

Best: For clean-feeling teeth

Rating: 8/10

This is another toothpaste with a slightly granular look and feel – it’s not only bright white but really thick, which made keeping it on our toothbrush a breeze. Quantifying the claims about whitening is hard to prove when so many pastes offer whitening power, but we certainly felt this did a fantastic job of lightening certain stains (we’re avid tea drinkers, and these are the stains we’re most likely to suffer from). Our teeth not only looked cleaner, but felt cleaner too, and we suspect this is down to Oral-B’s four-pronged approach – the brand claims this toothpaste doesn’t just loosen, lift and lighten stains, but polishes and protects teeth, too. Yes, this toothpaste is on the pricey side, but we also feel that when it comes to whitening toothpastes worth splashing out on, ones by Oral-B – a brand with decades of experience in this field – is probably a pretty safe bet.

Icy Bear diamond dust whitening toothpaste

Best: For style-savvy teeth brushers

Rating: 8/10

First things first. Our main gripe with this fluoride-heavy toothpaste relates to the dispensing mechanism, which squirts out long, thin strands of toothpaste which we then had to balance on our toothbrush. We’re all in favour of giving the humble toothpaste tube a style makeover, but not if it compromises practicality. That said, this is a wonderfully minty toothpaste which left our teeth – and mouth – feeling fabulously, thoroughly clean. Whether that was really down to the crushed diamond particles remains to be seen (there’s frustratingly little information about the key ingredients on the website), but this is a toothpaste which we’d definitely make room for in our bathroom cabinet.

Oral-B pro expert professional protection toothpaste

Best: Budget option

Rating: 8/10

This bright blue toothpaste comes with a long list of claims – it will, according to the blurb, prevent cavities, prevent plaque, protect against sensitivity, prevent tartar, prevent enamel erosion, freshen breath and whiten teeth. Some of these claims are hard to quantify, but we loved the £2 price tag, and Oral-B’s history in the world of oral hygiene admittedly provides some reassurance when it comes to whether these claims can be trusted. We were seriously impressed with the long-lasting freshness offered by this toothpaste, and how its thick consistency did a great job of fading light stains from the outset.

Corsodyl complete protection toothpaste extra fresh

Best: All-round protection

Rating: 8/10

As brushers with a history of gum sensitivity, we’re huge fans of Corsodyl mouthwash, and although, as with any toothpaste, many of the claims are hard to quantify, we’ve no doubt that this toothpaste does what Corsodyl promises. We do, however, wish it had a different colour to the rather odd, pale pink hue of this thick toothpaste, which had a taste packing a hint of mint alongside a slightly salty note. That said, we’re firm believers that the toothpastes which offer the best cleaning power are unlikely to be the ones which have the most delectable tastes, and given the post-brushing freshness and the lack of gum irritation, a pink paste seems like a small price to pay.

Colgate gum invigorate revitalise toothpaste

Best: Value

Rating: 8/10

We loved Colgate’s decision to offer a nod to old-school toothpastes by creating a toothpaste with dual stripes built into the paste – in this case, pale orange and white stripes. Will it improve performance? No – but what definitely will do is the use of bacteria-busting ginseng (which left our mouth feeling fabulously fresh) and a combination of minerals chosen to protect, strengthen and deep-clean teeth. This is a toothpaste which left our mouth and teeth feeling brilliantly clean without the irritation we’ve come to associate with pastes that double down on the cleaning power.

Luvbiotics whitening toothpaste with probiotics & xylitol

Best: Bacteria busting toothpaste

Rating: 7/10

Luvbiotics claims to be the first brand to rely on dental probiotics in its formulations – an approach which (in theory) improves oral hygiene through balancing oral flora. It’s proof that toothpastes free from nasties don’t mean inferior cleaning power – after prolonged use we noticed a definite reduction in tea-related stains, and we loved the sensation of freshness. We also loved the hit of natural mint – unlike with many toothpastes, it lacked the sickly sweet mintiness which appears to be increasingly common, and which is almost certainly down to Luvbiotics greater reliance on xylitol as a natural sweetener.

Atomy green tea and propolis toothpaste

Best: For natural ingredients

Rating: 7/10

This toothpaste is thicker than most formulas – a thick transparent gel which was slightly minty but surprisingly sweet. The sweetness comes from propolis – the sticky brown resin deposited near the entrances of beehives. It’s used here for its anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties, and a host of other ingredients cover various bases. These include green tea, used for its deodorising action and extra fluoride to prevent dental cavities. We’d have loved to see more information about the other ingredients used – information listed on the website and packet is generally sparse – but this is a great option for anyone keen to take a more natural approach to oral hygiene, and who isn’t a fan of the mint overload offered by a growing number of toothpastes.

Buly 1803 opiat dentaire mint coriander toothpaste

Best: Non-minty toothpaste

Rating: 7/10

Can any toothpaste really be worth £21? This fluoride-free (and at this point we’ve got to point out that we’ve yet to find a dentist who will suggest that skipping fluoride is a good thing) toothpaste is undeniably aimed at brushers who want their bathroom cabinets to look as stylish as their shiny white teeth. The chunky metal packaging was a source of frustration – it will undoubtedly contribute more to landfill than the average toothpaste tube, and we had to rummage around our bathroom cabinet to find something to pierce the metal seal. That said, it’s a great option for brushers keen to avoid an overdose of mint, although it’s an acquired taste – or smell, to be more precise, given the blast of coriander we were treated to when squirting the paste onto our brush. It’s a love/hate toothpaste – when sniffing it for the first time, a fellow tester commented “why do I want to taste like a naan bread?”. There’s depressingly little information about the ingredients on either the packaging or the website, barring some blurb about inclusion of French spring water. In summary? It’s one of the most stylish toothpastes out there, but probably not the best option if you’re expecting a deep clean. This one is expected back in stock soon.

The verdict: Toothpastes

Hello naturally whitening fluoride toothpaste is proof that toothpastes packed with natural ingredients can provide unbeatable cleaning power, taste delicious and look pretty stylish, too. Polished London’s ultra white LMD toothpaste is a great whitening toothpaste which will also keep breath fabulously fresh, and Oral-B’s sensitivity & gum calm original toothpaste is a godsend for anyone who struggles with gum sensitivity but doesn’t want to compromise on cleaning power.

Voucher codes

For the latest discounts on toothpaste and other oral health products, try the links below:

We compared the Oral-B iO7 and Oral-B iO9 to find out: Which smart electric toothbrush is best?

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