Walking down the toothpaste aisle can be quite overwhelming. There are so many options. Gel… paste … powder. Tatar control… fluoride… extra sensitive… super whitening… oh my! They all make great claims, but what’s best for your oral health?
First, we need to get the basics down. Most toothpastes have common variables. These elements offer various benefits that will keep your smile healthy and bright.
There are usually abrasive elements that include calcium carbonate and silicates. These ‘scratchy’ materials help remove food, bacteria and stains from your teeth.
Most toothpaste has flavoring. Typically, these are artificial sweeteners, which includes saccharin, to make the paste taste better. Most flavors center around mint, however, there are many other flavors that include cinnamon, fruit flavors and even bubblegum for kids.
Toothpastes also contain humectants, thickeners and detergents. Humectants are for moisture retention – keep the paste moist. Thickeners are to add thickness to the paste and detergents creates the suds you see when you start to brush.
These are all things you’ll find in most toothpaste, but how to toothpastes differ? This is where the big question lies and where you’ll have to make your best decision.
One of the most important ingredients in toothpaste is fluoride. The natural occurring mineral has been instrumental in the drop of tooth decay and cavity occurrence over the past 50-plus years. Bacteria feed on sugars and starches that are in your mouth. Fluoride then helps product your teeth from the acid released when bacteria feeds. The fluoride makes your teeth stronger and reversed early stages of acid damage by re-mineralizing enamel areas that have started to decay.
Using fluoride toothpaste is an important key of daily fluoride intact. Studies have shown that using fluoride toothpaste helps increase the fluoride concentration in your teeth, even if you live in an area that fluoridates its water.
Tartar Control Toothpaste
There are plenty of tarter control pastes on the market and most of these also contain fluoride.
Every person has a layer of bacteria on their teeth called plaque. If the plaque isn’t removed with good hygiene habits, it then hardens into tartar. These hard to remove deposits can then build up on your teeth and under your gums, thus leading to gum disease.
Tartar control toothpastes aim to fight this buildup by using pyrophosphates and zinc citrate. Some even add an antibiotic called triclosan, which kills some of the bacteria in your mouth.
Sensitive Teeth Toothpaste
Are your teeth sensitive to hot or cold? Then maybe a sensitive teeth paste will work for you. These toothpastes typically contain potassium nitrate or strontium chloride. These compounds can take up to four weeks for relieved and reduced sensitivity by blocking paths through the teeth that attach to the nerves.
This section of toothpastes seems to be growing exponentially every day. There are promises of turning your smile into a Hollywood smile. But actually whitening pastes do not typically contain bleaches. Instead, they have abrasive particle or chemicals that polish the teeth or bind to stains and help pull them off the tooth surface.
This may be concerning that abrasives could damage teeth. Studies have suggested that whitening toothpastes are no harder on enamel than any other toothpaste, though.
So how do you choose toothpaste?
First look for an ADA approval. The seal should be labeled on the packaging because these toothpastes have been evaluated for safety and effectiveness by an independent review board. All toothpastes under ADA approval contain fluoride.
Secondly, watch out for imposters. Some imported toothpastes contain toxic substances such as diethylene glycol.
Finally, consider your needs. You’re on the right path if you select toothpaste with fluoride. Many people opt for taste, which is a good thing because you won’t brush as often if you hate the taste of toothpastes. This is especially important to children when they are developing good oral hygiene habits. So in the end, pick toothpaste that caters to your needs. Do you want a brighter smile? Or do you have sensitive teeth? There is a paste out there for you no matter your preference.