A search on the internet is likely to turn up around 200 results for different types of toothpastes you can easily purchase. With so many types, brands and flavors to chose from, how can you know which is best toothpaste for your oral health? In years past, consumers could simply look for a paste endorsed by the ADA. Today, however, it seems that most stores carry a wide array of ADA-approved brands. From a dentist’s perspective, patients should choose a toothpaste/dentifrice they like. Sounds simple, doesn’t it? After brushing, you should feel like your mouth is clean and your breath is fresh. However, there are many other bells and whistles you can consider.
Your best bet for keeping your teeth and gums healthy between dental appointments is by having thorough at-home dental hygiene habits. This all starts with quality toothpaste.
Half of the ingredients in a typical toothpaste is made up of abrasives. These tiny materials scrub your teeth of plaque and food particles much like abrasives can exfoliate your skin. Whitening toothpastes may contain extra abrasives to polish your teeth and remove some surface stains. While using toothpastes with whitening claims is not bad for your teeth, excessive use can wear away enamel and create tooth sensitivity.
One of the most popular ingredients in toothpaste, fluoride helps prevent cavities. This mineral can be found naturally in some plants, animals, and water sources. Fluoride is also added to public water supplies, mouthwashes, and can be applied in treatments. Enamel benefits from the mineral strengthening substance, creating a better shield for your teeth against tooth decay.
This ingredient allows toothpastes to foam. When the paste foams it spreads throughout the mouth evenly. Surfactants also allow the dentifrice to reach between teeth and into small crevices where toothbrushes may not be able to clean. Surfactants can also be found in other hygiene products that foam, like shampoo, face wash, and hand soap.
Toothpastes Contain Oils
Freshening breath and encouraging people to brush more are the two main goals of flavoring. Peppermint, spearmint, and wintergreen oils are the most popular flavor ingredients. However, toothpaste developers are getting creative. Exotic flavors like apricot, cinnamon, lavender, ginger, bubblegum, and orange are becoming more widely available. Alternative flavors often encourage children and people who do not like to brush to keep a daily oral hygiene routine.
Toothpaste Types and Special Features
While aisles and aisles of dentifrices in the drug store may seem overwhelming, there’s a perfect “cheat” to help you out. Just look for the ADA seal of approval. This symbol means that the toothpaste manufacturer has participated in a voluntary testing program conducted by the ADA to test the product’s safety and effectiveness. Pastes that don’t do what they claim to do, contain sugar, etc. will not get the label.
If your tooth enamel tends to soak up staining agents (like tea, coffee, and tobacco) consider a whitening toothpaste. Most of these toothpastes combine the bleaching action of baking soda with mild abrasives to whisk away surface stains.
Sensitive Teeth Paste:
Do hot or cold foods make you cringe? You may have thin/damaged tooth enamel, or maybe your gums have receded so that your teeth roots are exposed. Some people are genetically predisposed to tooth sensitivity. Regardless of why your teeth hurt, a type of toothpaste specially made for sensitive teeth may help. The most common brand is Sensodyne, though there are many brands on the market.
Tartar Control Paste:
If you’re one of the many people who tend to accumulate plaque and tartar easily, regardless of how often you brush and floss, try tartar control type of toothpaste. When plaque hardens into tartar, it’s not water soluble so it’s very difficult to remove. Tartar control toothpaste contains sodium pyrophosphate, which is water soluble. Tartar is attracted to and bonds with sodium pyrophosphate on teeth. The tartar can be easily removed because it’s bonded to a water soluble material. Generally, toothpastes should include gentle abrasives (magnesium carbonate, dehydrated silica gels, calcium carbonate, hydrated aluminum oxides, phosphate salts), substances that keep the toothpaste from drying out (glycerol, sorbitol, or other “humectants”), and thickeners to give the toothpaste a homogenous appearance and texture (seaweed, mineral colloids, synthetic cellulose, natural gum).
Most toothpaste contains fluoride, but un-fluoridated toothpaste (sometimes termed “toddler” or “training” toothpaste) does not contain fluoride. Children under two years of age often swallow toothpaste and over time, fluoride can build up to cause bright white, horizontal lines on permanent teeth. This is called fluorosis.
Cavity preventing paste:
Quality pastes should also contain fluoride to help make tooth enamel stronger and more resistant to decay, flavoring agents that do not cause tooth decay (saccharin, for example), and detergents, such as sodium lauryl sarcosinate, to make the toothpaste foamy.
Learn more about which types of toothpaste are best for you
Do you have questions about dental products? Visiting the dentist every six months for regular dental exams and cleanings is the best thing you can do for your oral health, but at-home dental hygiene is just as important. Call our office today 847.234.0517. Dr. Fondriest and our team serves patients in the North Shore and greater Chicago area.