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Choosing a Toothpaste: What’s the Big Deal?


Shelly L. Campbell, RDH, MPH

Credit Hours:

2 Hour(s)


This course will establish why all fluoride toothpastes are NOT the same and assist the learner in understanding what differentiates them and makes a particular toothpaste the best fit for an individual patient. Despite the widespread perce...

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This course will establish why all fluoride toothpastes are NOT the same and assist the learner in understanding what differentiates them and makes a particular toothpaste the best fit for an individual patient. Despite the widespread perception that toothpastes are relatively interchangeable, their benefits and clinical effectiveness vary, being highly dependent upon active agent efficacy and the precise formulation and compatibility of all ingredients. Deciding between the plethora of marketed toothpastes with competing claims can be confusing to consumers, and even to clinicians who find it challenging to keep up with new product introductions and clinical research.

Toothbrushing with a dentifrice is the most widely practiced means of oral hygiene and foundational to home care practice. Toothpaste is a cost-effective vehicle for the incorporation of therapeutic agents: historically fluoride for caries prevention, and more recently cosmetic whitening ingredients, as well as chemotherapeutic active agents that target gingivitis emanating from the lack of complete plaque removal common to the average brusher.

  • Intended Audience:

    Dentists, Dental Hygienists, Dental Assistants, Dental Students, Dental Hygiene Students, Dental Assisting Students

  • Date Course Online:

    Dec 15, 2020

  • Last Revision Date:

    Dec 14, 2023

  • Course Expiration Date:

    Dec 13, 2026

  • Cost:


  • Method:


  • AGD Subject Code(s):

    10, 490, 780

  • Technical Requirements:

    Stable internet connection and the latest version of browser and device software are recommended.

Learning Objectives

Upon the completion of this course, the dental professional should be able to:

  • Discuss the importance of toothbrushing, based on current oral disease prevalence, and the criticality of plaque removal in disease prevention.
  • Explain the basis for the incorporation of agents in toothpaste formulation for disease prevention and treatment.
  • Review the differences between the common fluorides found in commercial toothpastes.
  • Describe the method of action and benefits of stannous fluoride as an antimicrobial chemotherapeutic agent in dentifrice.
  • Identify other common toothpaste agents that address patient indications, both therapeutic and cosmetic.
  • Describe how abrasivity is related to toothpaste safety.
  • Recognize the importance of laboratory and clinical research in establishing and supporting toothpaste claims.
  • Apply the understanding about toothpastes’ relative benefits to assist patients in selecting the best dentifrice to meet their unique oral health needs.


  • P&G is providing these resource materials to dental professionals. We do not own this content nor are we responsible for any material herein.
  • Participants must always be aware of the hazards of using limited knowledge in integrating new techniques or procedures into their practice.  Only sound evidence-based dentistry should be used in patient therapy.

Note:  Registration is required to take test.


Conflict of Interest Disclosure Statement

  • Ms. Campbell has done consulting work for Procter & Gamble. She has no relevant financial relationships to disclose.

Shelly L. Campbell, RDH, MPH received her BS in Dental Hygiene from the University of Iowa and MPH from St. Louis University. She has worked in private practice, the UMKC School of Dentistry’s clinical research center, and for the last three...

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Submission Information

Academy of General Dentistry (AGD) Submission For credit transfers to appear in your AGD account in real time, make sure to add your AGD membership number in the field provided on the “Share Your Test Score” page.

CE Broker For all states that use CE Broker for licensure, “proof of completions” are electronically reported the first of every month. If a course was taken in November, the “proof of completion” will be submitted the beginning of December.


AGD Pace Logo

Approved PACE Program Provider


Nationally Approved PACE Program Provider for FAGD/MAGD credit.

Approval does not imply acceptance by any regulatory authority or AGD endorsement.

8/1/2021 to 7/31/2027

Provider ID# 211886


AADH Approved Program Provider

Procter & Gamble is designated as an approved Provider by the American Academy of Dental Hygiene, Inc. #AADHPGC (January 1, 2024-December 31, 2025). Approval does not imply acceptance by a state or provincial Board of Dentistry. Licensee should maintain this document in the event of an audit.