Is picking out a tube of toothpaste giving you pause? With all of the flavor and ingredient options available to you it’s no wonder what seems like a simple decision becomes one of the most difficult when it comes to oral hygiene. Below we’ve listed a few of the most common toothpaste options and provided descriptions. Remember that it’s always safer to go with a product that has received the ADA’s seal of approval. Asking a trusted dentist to narrow down your options is another way to ensure that you’re matched with a toothpaste you love.
Whitening– Many of these whitening toothpastes contain abrasive ingredients, like baking soda, meant to polish the surface layer of the teeth and buff off any stains. While these toothpastes can be effective in removing surface stains they often can do very little for set in stains, which instead require a whitening treatment that bleaches through the enamel. If you choose to use one of these toothpastes be sure to first speak with your dentist. Many of the abrasive ingredients can actually aggravate and wear down necessary enamel, which in turn can make you more susceptible to staining. Viscious cycle!
Fluoride– A fluoride toothpaste contains a fluoride component (very low dosage) to help prevent decay and tooth loss. While many of the benefits of fluoride can be had from ingesting it (when contained in water), there are separate benefits to be had from topical application to the teeth. While you should be careful not to swallow any toothpastes, this is especially true of toothpastes containing fluoride, especially when used by young children. The ADA has recently suggested that children up to the age of two use a rice sized portion of fluoride toothpaste when their teeth are brushed. After this and up until the age of six the amount should be pea-sized. Following brushing with a toothpaste that contains fluoride gently rinse with water.
Tartar control– This type of toothpaste aims at controlling tartar buildup and plaque production. Some of these toothpastes contain a very small amount of an antibiotic that kills bacteria in the mouth that makes it easier for plaque to build up and calcify into tartar. Many toothpastes can be considered tartar control because of common ingredients like pyrophosphates and zinc citrate.
Many toothpastes include other necessary ingredients like thickeners, which make the product stick to your toothbrush more easily. Some contain detergents or sulfates that help the product to sud when brushed into the teeth. This effect is just that: an effect. Some people instead opt for sulfate free products because the ingredient isn’t completely necessary. Many of the toothpastes available to you include flavoring. Most people agree that brushing your teeth isn’t quite the same without that minty aftertaste. However, if for whatever reason you would like a flavorless toothpaste they are available.
Don’t get on yourself for spending too much time in the toothpaste aisle; we know it’s a tough decision! Call Dr. D’Alfonso of Lakeway Cosmetic Dentistry today and schedule an appointment!