When it comes to putting your best face forward, there’s one aspect of your beauty routine that should never be neglected: brushing your teeth. And while natural and green products for your lipstick or hairstyle may abound, the options for making your selfie smile its whitest can be a challenge.

Not all pastes are created equally, even if they describe themselves as natural. Your toothpaste should always be effective in completely cleaning your teeth.

According to Dr. Tyrone Rodriguez, spokesperson for the American Dental Association, all toothpastes should be able to “clean the surface of the tooth.” He recommends looking for toothpaste that has grit and that foams when applied. While you may enjoy a natural toothpaste, you’ll also want to consult your doctor or dentist to see if the product will actually help your teeth.

For example, toothpastes that contain baking soda can contain added salt and might be harmful for those with certain heart conditions or high blood pressure, Rodriguez notes. He also suggests steering clear of citrus elements, as these ingredients are acidic and can wear down the teeth or aggravate symptoms of acid reflux.

Looking to jazz up your teeth cleaning routine, and try out a new toothpaste? Here are eight natural toothpastes to consider.

Should you avoid fluoride?
In short,
no. “It’s vital that everyone uses a toothpaste with fluoride,” Dr. Rodriguez says. “Fluoride is a natural cavity fighter that helps strengthen tooth enamel and fight tooth decay. In fact, it has been responsible for a significant drop in cavities since 1960. This is why all toothpastes with the ADA Seal of Acceptance contain fluoride.”
The American Dental Association (ADA) published an article in 2018 stating
there is no link between fluoride and
adverse health effects
. These findings are verified by U.S. and European researchers. While a
2016 study reports that side effects can happen with
unsupervised overingestion in a short period of time
, toxicity only occurs in very
high concentrations. Avoid applying fluoride topically as it can dry and
irritate the skin.

Online reviewers applauded Hello for creating a product which they say is appropriate for the “whole family.” Made from vegan products that are free of dyes, artificial sweeteners, and artificial flavors, Hello’s fluoride-free toothpaste relies on hydrated silica, calcium carbonate, peppermint, tea tree oil, and coconut oil to keep your pearls clean.

Additionally, ingredients like zinc citrate, sodium cocoyl, and erythritol are known to help with plaque and creating a clean oral environment.

Cost: $4.99

Available: Hello

Made with fresh peppermint, Public Goods Toothpaste doesn’t include fluoride, parabens, phthalates, or anything from formaldehyde. For folks wary of those ingredients, Public Goods relies on grit and coconut properties as alternatives to keeping plaque and stains at bay.

Available in large and travel-size versions, Public Goods earned top marks from online reviewers for creating a minty formula that left mouths feeling “clean.”

Cost: $5.50

Available: Public Goods

For those with an extra sensitive smile, Wildist Brillimint could be the perfect option. Online reviewers frequently note that the all-natural toothpaste doesn’t irritate their teeth or gums.

Made with peppermint and spearmint oil, Brillimint toothpaste leaves your mouth feeling fresh, and comes in a smooth, foam-like formula.

Cost: $8

Available: Wildist

Clear up some space on your bathroom counter and say farewell to toothpaste residue with Bite Toothpaste Bits. The zero-waste product comes in capsule form, which you first put in your mouth and then brush around with a wet toothbrush.

While ingredients differ depending on the type you choose, these bits can still be used twice a day. Online reviews warn of adjusting to the taste of the bits, but many note they work as well as toothpaste.

Cost: $12

Available: Bite

Free of fluoride and sulfate, Davids Premium Natural Toothpaste comes in the perfect peppermint flavor for fighting plaque. Made from a recyclable metal tube, the toothpaste uses premium natural ingredients, meaning this one is free of artificial coloring, flavoring, and sweetener.

Plus, thanks to its list of all-natural ingredients, this toothpaste is verified by the Environmental Working Group, a nonprofit organization that specializes in researching and informing the public about the crossover between human health and pollutants in everyday products.

Cost: $10

Available: Davids

Dr. Bronner’s may already occupy a spot in your shower or bath, as the brand is known for its all-natural line of soaps. So of course, the brand would have its very own Organic Toothpaste. Available in three flavors and made of 70 percent organic ingredients, the toothpaste earns top marks from online reviewers for its “fabulous” taste and ability to leave some mouths feeling fresh.

Cost: $6.50

Available: Dr. Bronner’s

This toothpaste, tasting of mint and green tea, prides itself on ditching the fluoride in favor of nano-hydroxyapatite (n-Ha). Early research shows that n-Ha may help compose what our teeth are made of. Also, n-Ha may contribute to increase in micro hardness of your teeth.

Reviewers love the fresh taste of the toothpaste, and some reported that their teeth were less sensitive after use.

Cost: $10

Available: Boka

Like Ela Mint, RiseWell is also made with hydroxyapatite. Flavored with essential oils, including peppermint and mint, the product has earned appreciation from its users for leaving teeth feeling refreshed and extra clean. Others praised the product for being easy to brush and rinse without leaving behind any sticky residue.

Cost: $12

Available: RiseWell

Just like your favorite brand of shampoo or makeup, choosing your perfect toothpaste ultimately remains up to you. Whether you choose an all-natural formula or not, remember to maintain proper oral hygiene:

  • Brush your teeth at least twice a
    day, including your tongue.
  • Floss every day for gum health.
  • Use mouthwash to prevent
  • Schedule regular cleaning
    appointments with your dentist.

“Brushing your teeth is just one part of oral hygiene,” says Rodriguez. “A lot of times, people overlook getting in between the teeth. Flossing is great to get in between those areas.” (Floss regardless of your toothpaste preferences!) He also stressed the importance of brushing your tongue.

Sensitive teeth?
Most of
these products contain hydrated silica and calcium carbonate to help clean your
enamel. While the grit in your natural toothpaste may feel like you’re doing a
serious job, research suggests that calcium carbonate and silicon
dioxide can also wear down enamel and soften surface
. Meaning: Dental abrasion could
further damage your enamel and increase sensitivity. Talk to your doctor before
switching to natural toothpaste.

“We live in a day and age where information that’s out there isn’t always accurate,” Rodriguez points out, noting the variety of online sources. “People should understand that the goal of their dentist or doctor is to keep patients healthy, so we won’t recommend anything that we ourselves were not going to use.”

And again, especially for the folks with sensitive teeth, ask your dentist before making changes in your oral hygiene habits. Dental products that are approved as safe and effective will have the ADA seal.

Lauren Rearick is a freelance writer and fan of coffee. You can find her tweeting at @laurenelizrrr or on her website.