New cavity-fighting molecule, plus top 4 toothpastes


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The first mention of toothpaste was found in fourth-century Egyptian manuscripts, and we bet people have been forgetting to brush and floss since then.

If you’re not the most diligent about your dental hygiene, you’ll be excited to hear this: Researchers have found a molecule that kills cavity-causing bacteria. Nicknamed “Keep 32” after all of the teeth researchers hope it will protect, the molecule has a patent pending and should move into human trials soon.

But until then, brush up on your dental hygiene with these super-powered toothpastes that get the job done.


Best all-round
Crest Pro-Health is the only brand that gets the American Dental Association’s seal of approval in six categories. It reduces sensitivity, fights cavities and gum disease, whitens and more — plus, it’s easy to find at your local drug store ($3.99; Drugstore.com).


Best for sensitive teeth
Special toothpastes help sensitive teeth by building a protective barrier that blocks the pain caused by cold, hot, sweet and other trigger sensations. Try American Dental Association-approved Sensodyne ProNamel toothpaste ($5.49; Drugstore.com).


Best for whitening
Unfortunately, the toothpastes that are most effective at removing stains are also the most abrasive on tooth enamel. Worn-away enamel can reveal the yellowish dentin part of the tooth underneath, making teeth look even less white than before. Researchers use a scale that measures relative dental abrasion — look for toothpastes with scores below 150. Tom’s of Maine Simply White Whitening toothpaste ($4.49; Drugstore.com) is one safe pick, scoring 130 to 139 on the RDA scale.


Best for going green
Try Burt’s Bees Natural toothpaste ($5; Burtsbees.com) for clean teeth without a ton of chemicals. Made with 99.2% all-natural ingredients, this toothpaste cleans teeth, prevents cavities, freshens breath and promotes whitening.