The number of toothpaste options available in today’s market can be overwhelming. There are so many to choose from; tartar control, fluoride and then numerous ones offering to whiten your teeth plus many more. To choose the best toothpaste for your teeth, you have to consider what your unique oral health requires.
The Basics of Toothpaste
Toothpaste is offered either as a paste or a gel. The ingredients in toothpastes are generally the same:
- Abrasive agents- most include a scratchy agent that will remove food and bacteria from your teeth. This contains calcium carbonate and silicates which will also remove some stains.
- Humectants- this is for moisture retention. Most paste and gels have glycerol in them to prevent the toothpaste from drying out.
- Detergents- sodium lauryl sulfate is what creates the bubbles you see when brushing your teeth.
- Flavoring- saccharin, an artificial sweetener is often added to toothpaste to make it taste better. Most people think mint when they think about toothpaste flavor; however it also can be found in; cinnamon, lemon-lime and for kids there is bubble gum.
- Thickeners- molecules found in seaweed are the agent in toothpaste to add thickness to it. The seaweed helps toothpaste to maintain its proper texture.
How to Choose the Right Toothpaste
Your teeth are ultimately what you brush them with and are an extremely important part of your oral hygiene routine. With so many varieties available, it is best to talk to your dentist to find which one will work best with your teeth. Some teeth cannot handle the abrasive material found in most whitening toothpastes; or if you are cavity-prone, you may require fluoride toothpaste. What to consider when choosing the toothpaste that is right for you:
- Fluoride- almost every toothpaste in the United States contains fluoride. The American Dental Association says we should brush twice a day with fluoride toothpaste as it is a proven cavity fighting ingredient. There are some natural toothpastes on the market that do not contain fluoride. The American Journal of Pediatrics states there are problems with fluoride for young children and do not recommend it for those under the age of six.
- Whitening toothpaste- these toothpaste options contain powerful ingredients to give one a brighter smile. They are generally safe; however if you have sensitive teeth, the chemicals it contains may irritate or worsen your symptoms. Your dentist may be able to offer an alternative.
- ADA approval- a lot of toothpastes carry the approval of the American Dental Association which means it meets the approval and stringent requirements they demand in toothpaste.
- Natural or home-made- a lot of the natural toothpastes do not contain fluoride which is highly recommended by the ADA. Many of the home-made or natural toothpastes also contain ingredients that have not yet been tested for safety so you should only use the toothpastes that contain ingredients you are familiar with.
The type of toothpaste you use does matter. Finding the one which will work best for you should not take too much research. If you know your teeth and check the ingredients found in the toothpaste you should be able to match the toothpaste best for your teeth. Your dentist would be an excellent person to ask for a recommendation if you are unsure.