Toothpaste –Which is the right one for you, and how do you decide?
When there are hundreds of toothpaste brands and types as you walk down the oral health care isle in your local pharmacy, how do you know what to choose? I will discuss the types of toothpastes available, and tips on how to pick the right one.
Back to the basics: What is in my toothpaste?
– Abrasive agents: used to gently remove plaque biofilm effectively, as well as light stain
– Flavouring: artificial sweeteners are often used to ‘flavour’ the toothpaste, leaving a refreshing taste in your mouth, enticing you to continue brushing on a regular (2x/day) basis
– Humectants: this ingredient is often added to prevent the toothpaste from drying out
– Detergents: that foaminess that comes from your toothpaste comes from a detergent that is added
– No matter which toothpaste you end up opting for, the most important ingredient to look for is fluoride
– Fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral, and has been proven to reduce the acidity that come from the bacteria that live in the plaque on your teeth – most provinces have even implemented a system to which it is added to our water supply
– Fluoride both remineralizes enamel that has already begun to deteriorate due to acid wear, as well as help as a barrier to any additional acid that may be lurking on your teeth
– Everyone develops plaque on the teeth if sufficient oral health care is not followed – this plaque can solidify over time and produces a calcified form of plaque called ‘calculus’, better known in laymans terms as tartar. If left untreated, this tartar build up will cause gingivitis (gum disease) which can lead to periodontal disease (loss of bone depth) in the jaw.
– For individuals who have sensitive teeth (to hot or cold for instance) there are specifically designed toothpastes to help eliminate this irritation. The toothpaste fills the tubules (pores) in the teeth to BLOCK the effects of sensitivity. The paste does take several weeks in some cases to become effective, but the result is very relieving
– Whitening toothpastes have recently become more accessible and popular. They do not contain bleach, as you would find in common in office teeth whitening procedures, however, they usually contain an abrasive or chemical component that either polishes the teeth, or binds to the stain and effectively removes it.
Tips to choosing the RIGHT toothpaste for you
– Opt for a toothpaste who has gained ADA approval – you’ll know it’s safe for you and your family
– Beware of imposters – toothpastes from foreign countries may contain toxic chemicals, which are NOT safe
– Consider the needs of your whole family – children should not be using the same toothpaste as yourself, you may want a whitening toothpaste which may not be suitable for an individual who requires a higher fluoridated paste