How to Choose the Right Toothpaste
Shopping for a brand of toothpaste that best suits your needs can be difficult due to the sheer amount of choices. There are hundreds of brands which come in the forms of gels, pastes and powders that are used for different purposes. Even though they are all labeled and placed accordingly people still struggle over which one to get. Now, you no longer have to spend hours searching for a toothpaste because this ultimate toothpaste guide will help direct you to the toothpaste that best suits you.
What’s in Toothpaste?
Before we begin our journey discovering the different types of toothpastes we need to know the ingredients that are in them. All toothpastes contain these essential ingredients, “fluoride, abrasives, flavorings, humectants and detergents” (Freeman, 1).
Fluoride is a natural mineral that protects your teeth by strengthening your enamel to combat erosive foods.
Abrasives are non-active ingredients that clean and polish your teeth without damaging them. The flavorings in toothpaste are usually saccharin and sorbitol.
Saccharin is an artificial low-calorie sweetener that is used in many sugar free products.
Sorbitol is another sugar-free sweetener that does not cause tooth decay and is also a humectant.
Humectants are ingredients that keep the moisture in toothpaste and prevent it from hardening.
Detergents (usually sodium lauryl sulfate) in toothpaste cause it to foam, which helps loosen plaque.
Choosing Your Toothpaste
When you are choosing a specific brand of toothpaste it isn’t difficult, just make sure it has the ADA (American Dental Association) seal of approval. This ensures that it has been tested, approved and is safe to use. You are more likely to find this seal on big company names, such as Crest and Colgate than generic brands. Now, you can figure out what kind of toothpaste you need according to what it does.
Types of Toothpastes
There are seven types of toothpastes that are approved by the ADA, which can help to protect your oral health. According to the ADA, the types of toothpastes are: fluoride, sensitivity control, plaque control, gingivitis control, tartar control, whitening and bad breath control” (ADA, 3). By looking at these specific types of toothpaste you will be able to figure out what kind you need to take care of your oral health.
Most toothpastes have fluoride in them, but some don’t and instead contain natural ingredients, such as peppermint oil or baking soda. However, most natural toothpastes don’t have the ADA seal of approval due to the ingredients that are in them. Using toothpaste with fluoride will help keep your enamel strong by making your teeth more resistant to acidic and erosive foods. If you would rather buy a natural toothpaste it’s best to do research on it to make sure the ingredients will protect your teeth.
Whenever you eat something hot or cold and you feel that sharp twinge of pain in your teeth you most likely have sensitive teeth.The cause of sensitive teeth can be a multitude of things, such as tooth decay or cracks in your teeth. Usually your regular dentist will diagnose and treat you for your sensitive teeth, but if you can’t see a dentist soon then you can look for a toothpaste for sensitive teeth.
Sensitivity control toothpastes have high levels of fluoride that helps reinforce your enamel or weakened areas. According to Colgate these toothpastes, “contain ingredients that block off nerve-enriched tubules in the exposed dentin” (Pleis, 4). After you brush your teeth with this toothpaste you won’t feel any pain next time you eat or drink.
When we eat food there is a bacteria in our mouth called, plaque, that can eat away at our enamel causing cavities and tooth decay. It is a “sticky, colorless film of bacteria and sugars that constantly develops on our teeth” (Colgate, 5). It spreads using components in our saliva and food that we have consumed. Plaque tends to forms on and around your teeth and by not brushing or flossing it can grow and cause gum disease.
Plaque control toothpastes have sodium fluoride (usually used to prevent cavities) that will help loosen plaque and prevent tooth decay. If you brush and floss after you eat for two minutes every day it will help keep the plaque from growing and becoming tartar.
After not brushing for a while plaque can turn in tartar (a hardened version of plaque), which is much harder to get off with just a toothbrush. Tartar control toothpaste is made to brush as much tartar off as possible until you can see a professional to make sure none of it stayed.
This kind of toothpaste contains more sodium fluoride in it than the regular plaque control. By using this toothpaste and flossing it will help prevent the tartar from getting worse. To get rid of the tartar completely your regular dentist will do a deep cleaning called, scaling, on your teeth.
If you do not floss or brush your teeth the plaque or tartar that has been building up around your teeth and gums can cause them to become inflammed. This is usually when the beginning stages of gum disease called gingivitis begins and if not treated it can eventually become periodontal disease (advanced gum disease).
This toothpaste has the active ingredient triclosan in it, which is an antibacterial chemical that helps fight gum disease. Using a regular toothpaste with fluoride in it will not work because it will not give you the gum disease fighting components. For more information on gingivitis go to Colgate’s website.
If you’d rather not buy tooth whitening products you can go the easier route of whitening your teeth while you brush with toothpaste. This toothpaste has the ability to get rid of stains on your teeth because of the abrasive ingredients found in them such as silica, which is a natural mineral made of silicon and oxygen. Whitening toothpastes also have sodium fluoride, which will help protect your teeth against tooth decay.
Bad Breath Control
Bad breath can happen to anyone if they don’t properly take care of their oral hygiene. It can be caused by a multitude of reasons such as, bacteria, food and even halitosis, which is a fancy term for bad breath. Halitosis may be caused by not brushing or flossing properly, gum disease, smoking, etc. A toothpaste to best combat this would be one with scope in it because it kills the bacteria. Don’t forget to floss and brush your tongue as well because that is where most of the bacteria that causes halitosis is.
The Next Step
After figuring out what type of toothpaste you need you are ready to go pick one out. Don’t forget that flossing is important even after you brush your teeth because it gets rid of the particles that could cause gum disease. Even if you do floss and brush every day you still need to visit your regular dentist every six months. If you are exhibiting any symptoms of gum disease you should consult your regular dentist about it before buying a specific toothpaste.
If you are in the area and would like to make an appointment with a dentist call us at 912-353-9533 or go to our website, Savannah Dental Centre, also, check out our Facebook @CohenDental to see what’s going on in our neck of the woods.
- Freeman, A. (2014, August 01). What Is in Toothpaste? Five Ingredients and What They Do. Retrieved March 07, 2017, from http://www.colgate.com/en/us/oc/oral-health/basics/selecting-dental-products/article/what-is-in-toothpaste-five-ingredients-and-what-they-do-0814
- Dental Health Foundation. (2015, February 19). Dental Health Foundation. Retrieved March 07, 2017, from http://www.dentalhealth.ie/dentalhealth/teeth/toothpaste.html
- ADA. (n.d.). ADA Seal Product Category. Retrieved March 8, 2017, from http://www.ada.org/en/science-research/ada-seal-of-acceptance/ada-seal-products
- Pleis, D. (2014, March 01). Toothpaste for Sensitive Teeth Can Help Relieve the Pain. Retrieved March 08, 2017, from http://www.colgate.com/en/us/oc/oral-health/conditions/tooth-sensitivity/article/toothpaste-for-sensitive-teeth-can-help-relieve-the-pain-0314
- What is Plaque? (2010, November 15). Retrieved March 08, 2017, from http://www.colgate.com/en/us/oc/oral-health/conditions/plaque-and-tartar/article/what-is-plaque