Choosing a toothpaste is a personal decision based on your unique needs, which is why when patients ask us how to select the best toothpaste in NZ, we tell them that there is no “best” toothpaste in the country! Instead, you need to find the best toothpaste for you. Additionally, you must use the toothpaste correctly because otherwise, the best feature of the toothpaste is going down the drain. Below, we discuss some of the factors you should consider when buying your next tube of toothpaste.

What is the RDA of the toothpaste I choose?

Every toothpaste is abrasive and manufacturers usually display the RDA score on the packet (abrasiveness on dentine score). This is a score between RDA 4 (brushing with plain water), and 250 ( the highest permissible by the American Dental Association). Regular toothpastes can have an RDA score between 40 – 70, Desensitizing toothpastes 70 – 90 and whitening or tartar control toothpastes have an RDA between 100 – 140. Smoker’s toothpastes and some more aggressive whitening toothpastes can have an RDA between 150 upwards. 

We all must know the RDA of the toothpaste we are choosing and where the RDA is not advertised, a quick search online can bring this detail up. Brushing with a highly abrasive toothpaste may cause serious wear damage to your teeth. Choose your toothpaste carefully and discuss this with your dentist. 


Fluoride is a natural mineral that protects and repairs the tooth enamel, as well as strengthens teeth. We recommend that you always seek out a toothpaste option that contains fluoride, as this is one of the best ways to protect your teeth from dental caries. Fluoride treatments at our office during your preventive care visits also strengthen the teeth and prevent decay, but a small, daily application of fluoride to the teeth in the form of toothpaste goes a long way towards a healthy smile. Caution: Kids who have not learnt to rinse and spit out should not use a Fluoride toothpaste as they may swallow it. Fluoride varnishes are used in these children.

Teeth Sensitivity

Do you have sensitive teeth? You will have to make some special considerations when choosing the best toothpaste for your needs. First, avoid toothpaste that is meant for teeth whitening. These toothpastes may include ingredients that cause sensitivity; some may have abrasives like baking soda or charcoal that have the potential to wear away enamel, which can make sensitivity worse. The best toothpaste for sensitive teeth will provide immediate relief for sensitivity, while also helping remineralize the teeth for long-term results. Sensodyne & Colgate Sensitive Pro-Relief are excellent options.

Teeth Whitening

Perhaps your teeth aren’t sensitive, but you’ve noticed that they appear yellowed or stained. In this case, you’ll want to choose a toothpaste that contains hydrogen peroxide, a teeth bleaching ingredient that will help your discolored teeth return to their natural white color—or even be whiter. Whitening toothpastes may also contain carbamide peroxide, which degrades to hydrogen peroxide. We recommend avoiding toothpastes that use abrasive ingredients to brighten your smile to prevent damage to the tooth enamel. Talk to your dentist.

Tartar Control

Plaque can solidify into tartar, which includes bacteria that causes dental caries and gum disease. Most toothpastes contain gentle abrasives like silicates (as opposed to the harsher abrasives found in some whitening toothpastes) to remove plaque, but there are also specialized toothpastes that have ingredients that promise to reduce tartar buildup, including zinc citrate or pyrophosphates. A tartar control toothpaste can be beneficial for patients with a history of gum disease or frequent dental caries, but if you don’t notice tartar buildup on your teeth, there’s no need to get a special toothpaste for it.

To avoid buying toothpaste that could irritate or harm your teeth and gums, or toothpaste that has no benefits for your oral health, you should always choose a fluoride toothpaste from a trustworthy brand. Whether it’s whitening your teeth or alleviating the discomfort caused by tooth sensitivity, your toothpaste should help you achieve your goals while also preventing gum disease and dental caries.

Learn More About Choosing the Best Toothpaste for Your Needs

If you’d like a personalised toothpaste recommendation, ask your dentist during your next appointment at our office or contact us today at 09 631 5416.