Young woman is squeezing a toothpaste on a brush

Tooth Powder vs. Toothpaste: What's Right For You?

Published date field Last Updated:

Medically Reviewed By Colgate Global Scientific Communications

Toothpaste has been sold in tubes for several decades, and toothpaste dominates the oral care section in stores. However, it isn't the only product option for brushing your teeth. Tooth powder is becoming more popular because it's usually packed in glass jars instead of plastic tubes. But how does powder compare to toothpaste? Find out the similarities and differences and see if you want to try a new product.

Tooth powder vs. toothpaste

Tooth powder is powdered toothpaste. Tooth powder has similar ingredients to toothpaste but should have been mixed and dried out to powder form. Some tooth powders are reshaped into tablets for less mess. Both toothpaste and tooth powder can have enjoyable flavors like mint, similar cleaning detergents like sodium laurel sulfate, and abrasives like silica. These ingredients work together to remove plaque and freshen breath.

A lot of tooth powders have fluoride too. Fluoride strengthens your teeth and protects them from decay. Although a toothpaste or powder needs to contain fluoride to get the seal of approval from the American Dental Association, not every product contains it, so you'll have to check the ingredients.

Differences between toothpaste and tooth powder

There are a few differences between toothpaste and tooth powder. Toothpaste often contains thickeners and humectants, which keep them consistently moist and smooth. Tooth powders are meant to be dry, so they don't contain humectants. Depending on the brand, some tooth powders also contain charcoal, clay, herbs, or other natural ingredients to promote whitening.

Tooth powders are becoming more popular and more available online. However, you may not find them as widely available on store shelves just yet.

Should I use tooth powder instead of toothpaste?

Toothpaste is the golden standard that has been shown to clean your teeth effectively. But you can use tooth powder or toothpaste, as long as the toothpowder has similar ingredients. To use tooth powder, run your toothbrush's bristles under water and shake the tooth powder over the bristles. Once you have a small amount of powder coating, the bristles, brush your teeth as usual.

Effectiveness of tooth powder

There haven't been many clinical studies on the effectiveness of tooth powder compared to toothpaste. One 2017 study in the Compendium of Continuing Education in Dentistry examined toothpaste and tooth powder's effectiveness by measuring the amount of plaque and gingivitis. Researchers reported that the tooth powder group was significantly superior to the toothpaste group in controlling dental plaque and gingivitis for six months.

The good news is that you can use the product that you enjoy using! If you want to try tooth powder, go ahead and try it. As long as it has ingredients known to fight plaque and gingivitis, and you use it according to directions. You can always talk to your dental hygienist for recommendations.


Want more tips and offers sent directly to your inbox?

Sign up now

This article is intended to promote understanding of and knowledge about general oral health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your dentist or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment.

Mobile Top Image
Was this article helpful?

Thank you for submitting your feedback!

If you’d like a response, Contact Us.

Mobile Bottom Image