Buying a tube of toothpaste can seem overwhelming. The toothpaste aisle easily has a hundred different options. There’s tartar control, whitening, mint flavored, bubble gum toothpaste, natural toothpaste, fluoride toothpaste, and more! Did you know that you can even get powder toothpaste?

To save you the stress, we’ve compiled the Ultimate Toothpaste Guide to help you pick your next tube.

Sensitive Toothpaste

Sensitive toothpaste has a unique formula that is less abrasive than many other pastes. It is good for people who are extremely sensitive to hot or cold foods. Sensitive pastes tend to contain strontium chloride or potassium nitrate, inhibitors that block the passageways from the teeth to the nerves, making the brushing process more gentle.

Whitening Toothpaste

Tooth whitening toothpastes tend to have hydrogen peroxide in them to whiten teeth. However, whitening pastes are over-hyped. While whitening toothpaste does clean surface stains, they have not been proven effective in changing the actual tooth color. If you are looking for whiter teeth, talk to your dentist.

Tartar Control Toothpaste

Some people are particularly prone to tartar, and tartar-control paste is great if this is a problem that you have. The active ingredient, tetrasodium pyrophosphate, will help prevent tartar, but cannot remove the tartar already on the teeth (you’ll have to schedule a cleaning for that).

Children’s Toothpaste

It is important that you begin brushing your child’s teeth with children’s toothpaste. The special formula contains less fluoride, and many times, the paste is made safe to swallow. Children’s toothpaste comes in more kid-friendly flavors like bubblegum, strawberry, blue-rasperry, and even cupcake.

Quick Tips

Look for ADA Approval

Make sure that the toothpaste that you want to purchase is approved by the American Dental Association. That means that the product has been deemed safe and effective by a board of scientific experts. All ADA approved toothpastes contain fluoride. Avoid purchasing toothpastes that were made in China, as some contain diethylene glycol, a toxic substance.

Fluoride Content

You should always look for toothpaste that contains fluoride, a naturally-occurring mineral that helps prevent cavities and strengthens enamel. However, too much fluoride can stain teeth, so make sure that you don’t get one with an excessive amount, and use children’s toothpaste for your kids.

It’s Really a Preference

When it comes down to it, what toothpaste you buy is based on personal preference. There are many toothpastes that will do the job effectively, and the flavor, brand, and substance is up to you.