We know that daily brushing lays the foundation for healthy teeth (along with flossing and regular dental visits, of course). But shopping for toothpaste can be overwhelming. Entire aisles are devoted to the many iterations of this seemingly-simple tooth-cleaning gel in grocery stores, drug stores, and just about every other kind of store. With all of these potential choices, it’s easy to get confused.
So which type of toothpaste is right for you and your family?
Before delving into the many types of toothpaste out there, let’s start with the basics:
- Be sure to look for the ADA Approval Seal. This seal indicates that the American Dental Association has deemed the product to be safe and effective after careful review by their independent board of dental science experts.
- Avoid imposters. The ADA recommends avoiding toothpastes made in some foreign countries, where production regulations may be a bit more lax.
- Select what’s best for you and your family. With toothpastes as with life, one size rarely fits all. Be sure you’re choosing your family’s toothpaste(s) based on each individual’s oral health needs. For further details, see below!
So what toothpaste is right for your pearly whites?
While some whitening toothpastes contain only baking soda, which is gently abrasive and binds to stains on the surface of your teeth, others contain harsher chemicals. If used for extended periods of time, these highly abrasive chemicals, such as hydrogen peroxide or calcium peroxide, can wear away the enamel of your teeth and result in an unpleasant yellow color. For safer, cost-effective options, check out our latest post on Whitening Essentials.
Tartar Control Toothpastes
We all experience plaque build-up after eating. Over time, however, this bacteria-filled layer can harden into tartar deposits, which are difficult to remove. While your dentist can remove tartar deposits during a regular cleaning, you can control the build up and avoid gum and gum-line cavities. These types of toothpastes can also help control bad breath. Look for a toothpaste that contains fluoride, though pyrophosphates and zinc citrate are also common. If you’re looking to control bad breath, look for a product that contains triclosan, an oral antibiotic.
Sensitive Teeth Toothpastes
There are many causes of tooth sensitivity, but only two ingredients – strontium chloride and potassium nitrate – have been recognized by the ADA as effective treatments for sensitive teeth and gums. When used as directed, these substances can build up blockages between the tooth’s surface and inner nerves. And, though effective, relief may take some time as the blockages build up. In addition, those with sensitive teeth, or those who are prone to canker sores, should generally avoid toothpastes containing sodium lauryl sulfate.
It is incredibly important that children have their own, age-appropriate toothpastes while learning the ropes of oral hygiene. Toddlers should start out with a toothpaste that is safe to swallow, as the first years of toothbrush training are rarely without an accidental swallow. Or fifty. Furthermore, children’s toothpastes are specially formulated to contain less fluoride, which can stain developing teeth. If you’re unsure which brand is best for your children’s health needs, don’t be afraid to ask your dentist!
Remember, your toothpaste is only part of a complete dental health regimen. Regular flossing and dental checkups are absolutely essential to maintain the health of your teeth. If you are concerned that your toothpaste may not be right for you or your loved ones, feel free to contact Dr. Rowell at firstname.lastname@example.org, or make an appointment at a time that is convenient for you.