What Is Non-Abrasive Toothpaste?

Have you ever wondered how toothpaste actually helps your teeth stay strong and healthy? I know I have. Luckily, it’s not rocket science, so please let me try to explain. It basically works in two ways:

  1. An abrasive element mechanically scrapes away plaque and tartar.
  2. Fluoride rebuilds and strengthens the outer layer of the tooth.

#2 will have to be discussed another time. Instead, we will look at how abrasion plays a key role in cleaning your teeth, and help you find a highly rated non-abrasive toothpaste. With that being said, let’s start.

How Abrasion Both Cleans And Damages Your Teeth At The Same Time

Toothpastes clean your teeth by the use of an abrasive element. The most commonly used elements are calcium carbonate, silica, aluminum hydroxide and phosphates of aluminum or calcium. They will scrub and scrape away plaque and tartar – and thereby give you cleaner and whiter looking teeth.

Now that’s all good, but unfortunately the scrubbing and scraping also removes some of the outer layer of your teeth. This protective outer layer, called the enamel, is therefore at risk of being permanently damaged. To avoid this from happening, many people prefer to use a non-abrasive toothpaste. But before we move on to discuss that, let’s first look at this…

The 5 Things That Affect Enamel Health

It’s important to know that the choice of toothpaste isn’t the only thing that affects the wear on your teeth. There are actually several other things that all affects your dental health. Here are the five most important:

  1. What you eat and drink
  2. Brushing technique
  3. Type of toothbrush
  4. How often you brush your teeth
  5. Choice of toothpaste

The first four points are all pretty logical and straightforward, so we will not go into any specific details about them. But what we will say is this. The harder the toothbrush and your brushing technique is, and the more often you brush, the more your teeth will be eroded.

As for foods and their impact on dental health, read this.

In this article, we will focus on the last point (#5), Choice of toothpaste.

Why Non-Abrasive Toothpastes Don’t Exist

It’s important to tell you right away that the term “non-abrasive” is actually not at an accurate term to use when it comes to toothpastes, because there are no toothpastes that are truly non-abrasive. In fact, all toothpastes are abrasive to some degree, and even brushing your teeth without any would still cause some abrasion. Now, all toothpastes are not created equal; Some are better than others. So if you are concerned about this, what you really should be looking for is a low-abrasive toothpaste.

Radioactive Dentin Abrasion Index

Thanks to the Radioactive Dentin Abrasion (RDA) measuring method (don’t worry, although radioactivity is used, it’s completely safe!) each toothpaste gets an RDA value, which allows us to compare them against each other. The American Dental Association (ADA) has set the following RDA value recommendations:

RDA ValueAbrasion
0-70low-abrasive
70-100medium abrasive
100-150highly abrasive
150-250extremely abrasive
250ADA recommended upper limit

To give you an idea of the big spread between the different brands and products, take a look at this list of toothpastes and their RDA values. As you can see, the least abrasive toothpaste is the Elmex sensitive toothpaste with an abrasivity of only 30, while other brands are as high as 200. For comparison, using only toothbrush and plain water has an RDA value of 4.

If your toothpaste isn’t on the list, and if it’s not specified on the box or tube, here’s an easy way to determine if it’s high-, medium- or low-abrasive:

Popular Non-Abrasive Toothpaste Brands

To help you find the best and most sensitive toothpaste for you, we have selected three very popular products that are all highly rated by Amazon customers. To find customer reviews and more information about them, click the images or product names!

Product ImageProduct NamePrice ($/oz)Rating
Tom's of Maine SensitiveTom's of Maine Sensitive1.324.6
Colgate Sensitive Enamel ProtectColgate Sensitive Enamel Protect.754.4
Sensodyne SensitiveSensodyne Sensitive1.314.6

I think you could choose anyone of the above products and be happy with the results. But don’t take my word for it, check out what the customers are saying! Good luck!

Best Selling Toothpastes