The 10 Best Natural Toothpastes for a Healthy Smile, According to Dentists
If you've felt like your pharmacy's oral care aisle has seemingly exploded with "natural" toothpaste options over the past few years, you're not imagining things. As the global toothpaste market is expected to grow to $18 billion by 2025, natural and organic options are a major rising trend in the industry, according to Global Industry Analysts, Inc. It's only natural—no pun intended—that your interest might be piqued by these trending options.
But what does "natural" actually mean in this context? As with natural skincare, it's really up to interpretation. There are no precise regulations that determine whether toothpaste is adequately "natural" or not—oftentimes, it's simply marketing. However, there are a few reasons why a brand may tout their product as "natural," and one of the most common (and controversial) factors for toothpaste is whether or not it contains fluoride.
Many dentists advise only using toothpaste that contains fluoride, as the mineral has proven cavity-fighting benefits. But some consumers have become wary of it. "Fluoride can cause brain damage when consumed in high concentrations, but it is also known to prevent dental caries, or decay, and help remineralization of enamel," says Los Angeles-based cosmetic dentist Mansour Zakhor, DDS. "It is important not to swallow fluoride in toothpaste or fluoride treatment, but it should also be noted that the concentration of fluoride in most toothpaste is nowhere near what it takes to cause this kind of harm."
The American Dental Association recommends the use of fluoride toothpaste for everyone, including children. And by the way, as of 2018 in the United States, 73% of the population has access to running water that contains fluoride, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as a result of public health initiatives that began in the 20th century—so chances are, you consume fluoride each day and benefit from its enamel-strengthening properties regardless of your brushing habits.
The ADA, however, does note that young children who consume an excessive amount of fluoride (from any source) may experience dental fluorosis, or the appearance of white spots on the teeth, which do not have any negative effects on dental health. That's in part why the ADA recommends using just a smear of toothpaste no larger than a grain of rice for children 3 and younger, and no larger than a pea for those ages 3 to 6.
Ben ElChami, DDS, chief dental officer of New York City's Dntl Bar, also says that fluoride is a natural mineral and that ingesting it through drinking water does not offer the same benefits as brushing your teeth with it. However, he understands that not everyone may want the ingredient in their toothpaste. "Having an allergy or a medical condition that may indicate avoiding the use of fluoride would be a reason not to use toothpaste with fluoride and your physician should be consulted," he says.
Fluoride aside, there are other reasons why you may consider a "natural" toothpaste: if you have sensitive gums, if you're prone to canker sores, if you simply want to cut out as many artificial ingredients as possible in your hygiene routine. Henry Hackney, DDS, a Chicago-area dentist, member of the American Dental Association, and content director of Authority Dental, advises: "If you want to switch to natural toothpaste, avoid ingredients such as sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS), preservatives, and artificial flavors or sweeteners (especially saccharin). Instead, look for aloe vera and coconut oil. Activated charcoal gets mixed opinions—I consider it too abrasive for everyday use."
Since the experts know best when it comes to your dental health, we tapped a few dentists to share their top recommendations for natural toothpastes.
- Best Overall: Tom's of Maine Fluoride-Free Antiplaque & Whitening Natural Toothpaste
- Best Whitening Toothpaste: Hello Naturally Whitening Toothpaste with Fluoride
- Best Organic: Dr. Bronner's All-One Toothpaste
- Best Plant-Based: TheraNeem Neem Toothpaste
- Best Fluoride-Free: Risewell Natural Hydroxyapatite Toothpaste
- Best for Gum Health: Jason All-Natural Toothpaste
- Best for Sensitivity: Hello Vegan Sensitivity Relief Fluoride Toothpaste
- Best for Dry Mouth: Cleure Original Flavor-Free Toothpaste
- Best SLS-Free Option: Hello Fluoride-Free Antiplaque & Whitening Toothpaste
- Best for Fresh Breath: Revitin Natural Prebiotic Oral Care Toothpaste
But before you throw out your still-full tube of toothpaste, know that "non-natural" options are still perfectly healthy and safe to use. If you're still interested in making the switch to something with simpler, fewer ingredients, these are your best options.
Best Overall: Tom's of Maine Fluoride-Free Antiplaque & Whitening Natural Toothpaste
Best Whitening Toothpaste: Hello Naturally Whitening Toothpaste with Fluoride
Best Organic: Dr. Bronner's All-One Toothpaste
Best Plant-Based: TheraNeem Neem Toothpaste
Best Fluoride-Free: Risewell Natural Hydroxyapatite Toothpaste
Best for Gum Health: Jason All-Natural Toothpaste
Best for Sensitivity: Hello Vegan Sensitivity Relief Fluoride Toothpaste
Best for Dry Mouth: Cleure Original Flavor-Free Toothpaste
Best SLS-Free Option: Hello Fluoride-Free Antiplaque & Whitening Toothpaste
Best for Fresh Breath: Revitin Natural Prebiotic Oral Care Toothpaste
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