I have long advocated that when you brush (& floss!) your teeth it is the brushing/flossing action that is removing bacterial plaque build up on your teeth. This study done by the Journal of Clinical Periodontology confirms that observation.
The selection of toothpaste is not cleaning your teeth. The dentifrice that you select however has very beneficial additional help in maintaining and preventing dental troubles.Dentifrices should contain fluoride, which helps remineralize your bacterial acid attacked enamel. It is very beneficial on the smooth surfaces of your teeth and also helps make them more resilient to bacterial produced acid. Additionally, dentifrices can contain antibacterial agents, breath freshening compounds, whitening agents, and flavoring agents that help make for a more pleasant experience.
Using a dentifrice will help with these additional prevention abilities, but it is your brushing and flossing that is going to keep that plaque under control for you.
Invest in a high quality sonic technology brush like the Phillips Sonicare, and select a dentifrice that works for your needs. An ADA accepted dentifrice is always a good choice. Wear out some brushes to maintain your oral health.
Keep them clean to keep them smiling! http://www.ada.org/sitecore/content/home-ada/publications/jada/jada-specialty-scans/periodontics/011317_perio#one