If you value your smile (and overall oral health), then you should know that the type of toothpaste that you use can have an impact on your pearly whites. Because there are literally hundreds of options available when you shop for toothpaste, it can be daunting to figure out which toothpaste best fits your needs. We hope this guide will make that decision-making process a little less stressful and more productive.
So why is toothpaste necessary? There are four key reasons why toothpaste is critical to your oral health, even if you use the most basic type:
It improves abrasion, which means it is more efficient and thorough in removing plaque than just water on your toothbrush.
It generally contains fluoride, proven by research to fight cavities and reverse tooth decay.
It can prevent tooth discoloration.
It can discourage excess snacking by refreshing your palate.
When you are purchasing toothpaste, you will often find shelf after shelf of different types of toothpaste from the same manufacturer (Colgate and Crest being the two largest toothpaste manufacturers). If you have some basic facts, it doesn’t have to be as daunting as it might appear. Toothpastes generally fall into these categories:
Anti-cavity toothpaste: All toothpastes are anti-cavity, but the ones with more fluoride as super cavity fighters. They remineralize teeth and prevent decay. This is the best toothpaste if you’re looking for general maintenance or to prevent further tooth decay because of extensive past oral health issues. Always be sure it has the ADA (American Dental Association) seal on the packaging.
Sensitive teeth toothpaste: If hot or cold foods bring discomfort to your teeth, you may be able to find relief with this type of toothpaste. They use blocking compounds like strontium chloride and potassium nitrate to reduce your sensitivity and protect and strengthen your tooth enamel. Don’t forget that it usually takes several weeks for you to see a reduction in your tooth sensitivity. If you want to shorten that time span, don’t rinse your mouth out after you brush with this type of toothpaste. Just spit it out which will leave your teeth coated with the sensitivity-reducing toothpaste.
Tartar-control toothpaste: This type of toothpaste is especially helpful for folks who have gum disease. The tartar-control properties reduce excess plaque buildup (which leads to cavities). Rather than one bacteria-fighting agent, you’ll find that tartar control toothpastes may use multiple ingredients to battle the problem. These may include triclosan, pyrophosphates, and/or zinc citrate. However, if you already have a large amount of tartar (hardened plaque), you will need to have your dental hygienist remove the tartar.
Whitening toothpaste: A whitening toothpaste can visibly brighten teeth that are stained or yellow. These types of toothpastes achieve their results because they have more abrasive substances combined with compounds that specialize in stain-fighting. If you are dealing with tooth sensitivity, this may not be the best solution for you. And don’t forget that a whitening toothpaste won’t produce the same whiteness as a whitening gel that you can get in your dental office.
Be sure to check with your dentist at Personal Care Dentistry if you have additional questions or for a recommendation based on your oral health and specific needs.