Not all toothpastes are created equal. “When a person considers the steps most dentists reinforce, finding a great toothpaste doesn’t normally come to mind,” says Marianna Weiner, DDS, a leading cosmetic dentist in Brooklyn, New York. “But I believe a healthy mouth starts with your toothpaste. I say this because when you brush you are either helping your enamel protect your teeth or harming it.”
The toothpaste industry is pretty saturated these days. And plenty of options you’ll find on store shelves simply aren’t good for your teeth, says Dr. Weiner. But with more than 26 years of experience as a dentist, recommending a favorite or two is easy. While she loves Flouridex, a prescription-grade toothpaste that “reduces bacterial activity that causes teeth erosion and prevents and controls cavities,” she’s also a huge fan of Sensodyne Rapid Relief ($5), which you can find at any drugstore.
While Sensodyne is targeted at people with sensitive teeth, don’t let that stop you from grabbing a tube for yourself. “Sensodyne is recommended for everyone to use due to the high content of fluoride that strengthens teeth,” says Dr. Weiner. It’s also gentle, helps prevent cavities, freshens your breath, and reduces tooth sensitivity if you have it (which, FYI, involves experiencing tooth pain when you drink hot or cold beverages).
Shop now: Sensodyne Rapid Relief ($5)
If you’re looking a dentist-recommended toothpaste to whiten your teeth while protecting against cavities, Dr. Weiner swears by Crest 3D White Luxe Glamorous Toothpaste ($8). “If you want to bleach teeth white with toothpaste, this should be your go-to,” she says. The enamel-safe toothpaste uses a polishing agent to remove surface stains from things like coffee, tea, and certain foods, which whitens your teeth. Aside from giving you a brighter smile, it also protects against future stains as well as cavities.
Whichever dentist-recommended toothpaste you choose to buy, be sure to brush with it three times a day. “Once when you wake up, once during the day after eating lunch, and once at night before bed,” says Dr. Weiner. “When brushing, use a circular motion to make sure you get all of the surfaces of your teeth, and make sure to get those gums. Your gums are secret holders of plaque. Brush at a 45-degree angle so you don’t irritate the gum line, creating smoother strokes of your toothbrush for the best clean possible.” And get ready to smile thanks to your new toothpaste and brushing technique.
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