The 10 Best Enamel Toothpastes
This wiki has been updated 21 times since it was first published in December of 2017. If you want to keep your teeth looking and feeling their best, you should consider picking up a tube of enamel toothpaste. They are designed to protect and repair the surface of teeth, which can break down over time with exposure to things like acids, carbonation, and sugar. We've also included formulas created to address other concerns, such as sensitivity and stains. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki.
November 28, 2020:
While it may seem like you can pick any old toothpaste of the shelf and your teeth and gums will be fine, this actually isn't the case. In fact, some are so abrasive that they can actually damage the protective enamel of your teeth, which will leave them susceptible to germs, decay, and cavities. So, if your dentist has recently mentioned to you that your teeth are feeling rough or the enamel looks worn, it is probably a smart idea to give one of the options on this list a try.
Speaking of dentists, many often recommend Sensodyne for those who are having enamel issues, which is why we have included two options from them here. Sensodyne Pronamel Gentle Whitening is great because it offers enamel protection and can also help give you a brighter smile, while Sensodyne Pronamel Intensive Repair actively works to mend damage, making the former better as a preventative and the latter better as an after-the-fact solution. Both can also help with sensitivity.
Since we always appreciate natural products, we are big fans of Jason Nutrismile Anti-Cavity and Tom's of Maine Natural, both of which are free of artificial ingredients. Kiss My Face Enamel Xtra has naturally-derived flavors and boasts the addition of tea tree oil, aloe vera, and olive leaf extract, which offer various benefits from fighting harmful bacteria and gum disease to lessening inflammation. However, it is worth noting that it does contain sodium lauroyl sarcosinate.
Squigle Enamel Saver has a high concentration of xylitol, which some studies show can reduce tooth decay and the incidence of gum disease. It accomplishes this by slowing the growth of S. mutans on the surface of the teeth, inhibiting the formation of tooth decay-causing acid, and neutralizing the pH level in saliva.
June 10, 2019:
When choosing an enamel toothpaste, there are many variables to consider, which is why we've tried to create a diverse selection of formulas. All of these products help protect and restore enamel, but many have additional appealing qualities, such as whitening properties, gingivitis control, cruelty-free certification, and more. For those skeptical of artificial ingredients, we've made a point of including several all-natural formulas.
With regard to updates, Theodent Classic has been removed from this list due to quality concerns and complaints about its unusual flavor. Crest Gum & Enamel Repair is a new addition, chosen for its popularity and gingivitis-fighting formula. Moved to the top spot is Jason Nutrismile Anti-Cavity, which users love for its natural ingredients and effectiveness in cleaning and protecting enamel.
What Is Enamel, Anyway?
Consistently cleaning your teeth helps to crack down on biofilm and food particles that hang around and wreak havoc in your mouth.
Found in humans and many animals, enamel is the first line of defense our teeth have against the rigors of daily use. Harder than bone and consisting almost entirely of minerals, it's a calcified substance made from crystalline calcium phosphate that covers the outer layer of each tooth. This semi-translucent barrier safeguards against acids and plaque and keeps the inner layers of our teeth protected from food and beverages that are extremely hot and cold. Formed while the teeth are still developing in the jaw bone, it contains no blood vessels, nerves, or living cells. This means our bodies cannot regenerate any more once it’s destroyed.
Enamel may be tough, but it’s not invincible. Its high mineral content makes it susceptible to demineralization processes that break it down, and it has a similar brittleness to glass that leaves it vulnerable to fractures. The sugar and acids in fruit juices, soft drinks, and candies are some of the biggest perpetrators of decay, but you can also crack enamel from excessive grinding, too.
This is where good oral hygiene practices come into play. Many dentists will tell you that prevention is the best method for managing enamel health, which is why regular brushing and flossing is vital. Consistently cleaning your teeth helps to crack down on biofilm and food particles that hang around and wreak havoc in your mouth.
After prevention comes remineralization. In 2011, scientists from the United Kingdom developed a calcium phosphate-based hydrogel that can regenerate enamel and combat the effects of acid erosion while providing relief to sensitive teeth. A few years later, researchers from California engineered a gel that traps some of the phosphorus and calcium in our saliva and uses it to restore up to 80 percent of the hardness of normal enamel.
While this is good news for soda-drinkers and tooth-grinders everywhere, it’s still important to resist the temptation to throw your floss out the window and stock up on Mountain Dew. If you combine a good enamel toothpaste and a balanced diet with the proper oral care practices, your mouth will stay in top-notch condition for years.
How Can Toothpaste Help Enamel?
Not every enamel toothpaste is created equal. Some use patented formulas, clinical tests, and carefully researched chemicals while others are completely natural and rely on vitamin C or fluoride derived from fluorspar. The thing to bear in mind is that while toothpastes differ in what they use to fight decay, they're formulated to achieve the same goal. How well they can do that depends on their ingredients, your habits, and the state of your oral health.
The thing to bear in mind is that while toothpastes differ in what they use to fight decay, they're formulated to achieve the same goal.
Take, for example, pastes that use fluoride. Fluoride combines with the minerals in your mouth to create a crystal on the surface of your teeth called fluorapatite. This extra protection ends up making your pearly whites more resistant to the acids that cause the bulk of the damage. Some brands take things a step further by using stannous fluoride. On top of forming that same crystallized barrier, this particular type of fluoride has a toxic effect on the types of bacteria that produce acid, and helps alleviate sensitivity by blocking small tunnels in the teeth.
There's also sodium hexametaphosphate, an ingredient that leaves behind a film that lasts for six to seven hours. This layer serves as a sacrificial one that degrades throughout the day as you eat and drink. The idea is that it will bear the brunt of any erosion, leaving the surface beneath untouched.
Some formulas actively help the calcium in your saliva penetrate the surface of your teeth to fortify enamel. Many are also developed to be less abrasive so they don't cause additional harm.
Sadly, no toothpaste can bring back enamel once it has been destroyed — they can only strengthen weakened enamel that already exists. There are certain actions you can take to help your toothpaste do its job, though. One of the main things is to limit your intake of sweets and sugary drinks. If you're dead set on enjoying a coke or slice of cake, it's best to rinse your mouth out with water or an acid-neutralizing mixture of one part baking soda and eight parts water directly after consumption. And while it may be tempting brush immediately after a meal, that can do more harm than good by pushing acid further into your teeth. Instead, wait at least 30 minutes before reaching for that electric toothbrush.
A Very Brief History Of Oral Care
Regardless of the era, a dirty set of chompers doesn’t bode well for your overall health. To tackle this pesky problem, our ancestors decided that using abrasive concoctions was their best chance at scraping away the bad stuff. To this end, the Ancient Egyptians developed a dental cream of powdered ashes, ox hooves, eggshells, myrrh, and pumice. It was likely applied directly to the teeth by hand, a cloth, or the frayed end of a twig, with water added to help spread it around.
In 1914, fluoride was introduced, and as the decades wore on, the abrasiveness factor was diminished in favor of a smoother consistency.
Greeks and Romans upped the cleaning power of their formulas by adding crushed bones and oyster shells. They also flavored them with charcoal and bark. The Chinese used powders around this general time as well, but they were a bit more innovative when it came to taste, opting for ginseng, herbal mints, and salt instead.
Naturally, like everything else throughout history, these special powders and brushing apparatuses were mostly the domain of the wealthy. Many lower-class people didn’t or couldn’t bother with teeth cleaning to the same extent. This status quo of oral care would go unchallenged for centuries.
The crude powders of yore finally started seeing some tweaks in the 1800s, with the addition of soap. In the 1870s, Colgate began to mass-produce pastes in jars, with lead and tin alloy tubes following shortly thereafter. In 1914, fluoride was introduced, and as the decades wore on, the abrasiveness factor was diminished in favor of a smoother consistency.
Modern society can now enjoy toothpastes with whitening agents, creamy gels for sensitive teeth, special formulas for kids, and much more, and it only took a few thousand years of tinkering to get us there.