With hundreds of toothpastes out there, how do you choose the right one to meet your needs? While all of them claim to give you the world when it comes to having beautiful, clean teeth you’re proud to show off, it really can’t be as simple as that, can it? Here’s how to choose a toothpaste that will do the job well.
To choose the best toothpaste for you, you need to think about what you want from toothpaste. Consider how important the following factors are for you.
Relieving tooth sensitivity
Improving gum disease
Reducing cavities and decay
If you’re not sure what you need from your toothpaste, the best thing to do is discuss it with your dental team. After your regular checkup, we can offer suggestions based on the condition of your oral health and the goals you’ve specified.
Types of Toothpaste
Toothpastes fall into several categories. While every toothpaste company makes claims that its brand is the best, you need to look closer and ask yourself if it’s really best for you. Next, you’ll find some of the most popular types of toothpaste and their benefits and drawbacks.
Most people want their teeth to look as white as possible. Whitening toothpaste can help to remove stains and discoloration. However, there is a significant risk that these whitening products can cause damage. They can contribute to tooth sensitivity and weaken the enamel of your teeth. The problem is that they are more abrasive than ordinary toothpaste.
If you do use a whitening toothpaste, look for a product containing peroxide but be sure to follow the directions carefully. Avoid using this type of toothpaste too often or scrubbing with it too vigorously. Or you can talk to your dentist about professional whitening treatments, which can safely and significantly whiten your teeth – going beyond mere surface stains.
Tartar Control Toothpaste
Tartar is a cement-like coating that develops if you don’t remove plaque well enough or brush your teeth often enough. Most adults do have some tartar. With regular brushing and flossing, you will have less of a tartar problem. Tartar control toothpaste can help, too. It won’t completely stop the formation of tartar, but it will delay it to give you more time to brush away the plaque before it can become tartar.
There are three kinds of tartar control toothpaste. Some contain anti-calculus agents, such as zinc ions or pyrophosphate. Others use harsh abrasives. Finally, fluoride toothpastes can help reduce tartar. Unfortunately, your toothpaste probably won’t help enough if the tartar has already formed. If so, the best thing to do is go to your dentist for a cleaning.
Toothpaste to Strengthen Your Teeth
If you drink a lot of coffee or other acidic drinks, you may benefit from using a re-mineralizing toothpaste. Highly acidic drinks like coffee can lead to cavities and a wide range of other dental issues. Sugar can also cause demineralization. These special toothpastes include calcium phosphate or stannous fluoride. They can help strengthen your teeth; but remember, they can’t reverse cavities or replace enamel you’ve already lost.
Toothpaste for Sensitive Teeth
If you have sensitive teeth, which can be caused by an issue like gum recession or gum disease, it makes sense to use a toothpaste that addresses that issue. Be careful of the ingredients in self-professed sensitive teeth toothpastes. They typically have one or more of the following three ingredients:
Whichever active ingredients the toothpaste uses, its goal is to calm the nerves inside your mouth to desensitize them. You probably won’t notice the difference until you’ve used it for a few weeks. There are a few things to watch out for in sensitive tooth toothpaste. Avoid toothpastes with a high baking soda content. Baking soda is abrasive, so a high proportion of it in your toothpaste can actually make your teeth more sensitive. If OTC toothpaste doesn’t reduce the sensitivity, your dentist can prescribe a stronger product.
Toothpaste for Gum Disease
If you have gum disease, you might want to choose a toothpaste that helps with that. There are special anti-gingivitis toothpastes that help reduce the signs of gum disease, such as bleeding, red, or swollen gums. Some anti-gingivitis toothpastes contain the ingredient Triclosan. It’s best to avoid this ingredient, as it can damage your endocrine system and disrupt your hormone function.
However, gum disease toothpastes with other ingredients may be helpful, and your dentist can recommend the one that’s best for you.
Toothpaste for Children
If you’re a parent choosing toothpaste for your child, you can benefit from a two-pronged approach. Certainly, you should consider whether the taste will encourage your child to brush more often. However, you need to make sure that the toothpaste will protect your child’s oral health.
We understand that there is much debate around fluoride use for children, and we encourage you to talk with your child’s dentist for guidance in making this decision, based on your child’s age and dental health. Generally, we recommend getting a fluoride toothpaste approved by the ADA and to avoid very abrasive toothpaste ingredients – especially for young children.
It pays to read the ingredient label before you buy any toothpaste. Certain ingredients have become very popular lately, and many people buy these toothpastes for no other reason than the buzz surrounding one specific ingredient. Let’s take a look at some of the up-and-coming toothpaste ingredients.
Aloe vera toothpastes are touted as a germ-killer and gum-soother. If you know that aloe vera can help speed healing, that probably seems to make sense. Indeed, aloe vera toothpaste may reduce inflammation, make your breath fresher, and reduce gum pain. However, this type of toothpaste typically doesn’t have fluoride, so you need to be extra careful to brush and floss thoroughly and visit your dentist regularly.
Charcoal-containing toothpastes are all the rage these days. This ingredient is extremely abrasive, so it can damage the enamel of your teeth. What’s more, there’s no evidence that brushing your teeth with a charcoal toothpaste is safe or effective.
Fluoride, of course, is an ingredient that will help protect your teeth and gums. Most but not all toothpastes on the market have fluoride. One thing to remember about fluoride is that it only helps if you leave it on your teeth long enough. So, don’t rinse your teeth until 30 minutes after you brush.
Toothpastes to Avoid
While some kinds of toothpaste might be better for you than others, there are two types of toothpaste you should always avoid.
Toothpastes made in China – Many of these contain diethylene glycol, a toxic substance that is often used in solvents and antifreeze.
Toothpastes without the ADA seal of approval.
Toothpastes with Triclosan – This type of toothpaste can increase allergies and skin irritations, along with the systemic effects on your endocrine system.
If you’re unsure whether you have a safe and effective toothpaste to meet your needs, talk it over with your dentist. We are always happy to point you to the healthiest option for you!
South Anchorage Dental Center: Your Dental Care Pros
At South Anchorage Dental Center, we put your oral health first. We not only provide top-notch preventative care but also professional cosmetic, restorative, and family dentistry. Whenever you have a question about how to keep your teeth whiter, cleaner, and safer, we can give you the best answers based on our expertise and your goals.
At South Alaska Dental Center, we make going to the dentist affordable by accepting most dental insurance and offering a dental savings program. More importantly, we provide high-level care to help you keep a beautiful smile that lasts for a lifetime!