Have you ever sat in the toothpaste aisle reading labels, considering flavors and trying to decide which specific dental concern you are trying to address? With the growing number of toothpaste brands and “formulas” on the market this can be a daunting decision, one that may leave you grabbing the box on sale and moving on! To assist in your next toothpaste mission, we’ve gathered some important information so you know what to look for.
When choosing the right toothpaste for your smile, there are a few important things to take into consideration.
The most important factor in choosing a toothpaste is choosing one with the American Dental Association (ADA) seal of acceptance. Products that have the ADA seal have undergone independent clinical studies to ensure they meet the standards and are effective in their claims.
Make sure your toothpaste has fluoride or xylitol. Fluoride, a naturally occurring mineral is an important ingredient necessary in cavity protection. Although some argue against fluoride, Dr. Finkelstein stresses that over the past 50 years tooth decay has decreased significantly due to fluoride toothpaste. You can also use xylitol as an alternative to fluoride. It is just as effective in fighting cavities. Brush twice a day to help protect the surface of your teeth.
Teeth have plaque, plaque forms a hardened build up called tartar. Choosing a tartar control toothpaste can slow tartar from forming on your teeth between dental cleanings. It is important to have a professional in-office cleaning every six months to remove existing tartar.
Toothpastes that claim to whiten and brighten teeth will lighten stains caused by things like coffee and smoking, but will not actually whiten teeth. You may see some improvement, but because the whitening agents are abrasive, using a tooth whitening paste may harm tooth enamel. The only way to truly gain whiter teeth is through professional bleaching systems prescribed by a dentist.
If you find your teeth are sensitive to hot or cold beverages and food, you may find relief from a desensitizing toothpaste. Receding gums can also make teeth more sensitive. Certain “sensitive” pastes containing potassium nitrate or strontium chloride, can help the discomfort by shielding nerve endings and shutting off pain signals. It can take up to four weeks to feel relief.