Toothpaste, Toothbrush, Mouth Rinse: What Are the Best Choices?

Mother and Daughter Brushing Teeth

There are hundreds of toothpaste, toothbrush and mouth rinse products sold in stores. They all claim to help fight tooth decay and kill mouth germs and bacteria. So how do you know what are the best choices? Ask your dentist for recommendations and review these tips to learn about the differences in toothpaste, toothbrush and mouth rinse.


When shopping for new toothpaste, look for four things:

ADA seal

Look for toothpaste with the American Dental Association (ADA) seal, so you know that the product meets specific criteria for health, safety and effectiveness. Not every toothpaste manufacturer requests ADA approval.


Toothpaste with fluoride helps strengthen tooth enamel while fighting bacteria that can cause decay. Some toothpaste products contain high amounts of fluoride, which only should be used if recommended by a dental professional.


Select a toothpaste flavor that appeals to your taste buds in either a gel or paste formula.

Sensitive teeth

If your teeth hurt when using your current toothpaste brand, look for a different product made for sensitive teeth. One in eight people has oversensitive teeth. Learn seven reasons why your teeth may hurt.


Before buying a new toothbrush, review these guidelines:

Soft bristles

Toothbrushes are made with bristles in different levels of firmness. But most dentists recommend soft bristles to avoid damaging tooth enamel. Brush gently in circular motions for 2-3 minutes twice a day for the best results.

Manual or electric

Both toothbrush styles will remove plaque and food particles from teeth. Your toothpaste can help lift debris away from your teeth and reduce plaque, too. Ask your dentist to recommend what’s best for your teeth.

Correct brush size

If using a manual brush, select one with a head that fits comfortably in your mouth and touches one or two teeth at a time.

Replace frequently

Use a new manual toothbrush or electric toothbrush head every three months, or sooner if the bristles are worn. Also, replace your manual toothbrush or brush head after having a cold or the flu. Keep those germs out of your toothpaste as well.

Most people think they do a good job of brushing their teeth. Find out if you are by reviewing these tips.

Mouth rinse

Mouth rinse (or mouthwash) can help freshen breath, kill germs, and wash away bits of food dislodged while brushing and flossing. Like toothpaste, the right mouth rinse can improve your oral health. Here are two tips to find the right product:


Designed to freshen breath, some rinses may contain fluoride to fight tooth decay. Others may fight tartar (hardened plaque)or gingivitis that can cause gum disease.


Avoid using rinses made with alcohol. They can dry out oral tissues, but that’s not all. Alcohol-based mouth rinses can contain more than 20% alcohol by volume, which is 40 proof. This is especially dangerous for children if it’s swallowed.

Watch these videos to learn the best way to care for your family’s teeth and how often to visit the dentist.


Mouth Healthy