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Easy Tips for Choosing the Right Toothpaste

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Even just a few years ago choosing the right toothpaste was a much simpler experience. Often the local drug store or supermarket would only have a few options. Nowadays, the choice is considerably larger. While it’s always nice to have the extra choice, it can be confusing deciding which is best. Do you need toothpaste for tartar control? Perhaps you want a toothpaste that promises to whiten your teeth? Maybe all-natural ingredients are better for your dental health? Or do you just grab the toothpaste that is on special offer that week?

Understanding what constitutes a good toothpaste will help you make an informed choice!

Fluoride Toothpaste

Most toothpaste contains fluoride, especially brands that have been endorsed by the American Dental Association. It is highly likely that your dentist will recommend you brush at least twice a day using flouride toothpaste as this ingredient has cavity-fighting properties.  Fluoride is a beneficial ingredient in fighting tooth decay because it helps to strengthen tooth enamel. It can also help to reverse some of the early stages of tooth decay or tiny lesions in teeth.

When you brush your teeth with fluoridated toothpaste, spit out the excess but don’t rinse with water. This approach will ensure a thin layer of fluoride will still coat your teeth, giving you just a little more protection for a bit longer during your day. Some dentists might not recommend fluoride toothpaste for very young children and who do not have the ability to spit out the excess paste, but fluoride is perfectly safe for adults.

Tartar Control Toothpaste

Most tartar control toothpaste contains fluoride and there are many different brands which claim to help fight tartar. Each day, a layer of sticky plaque and which consists of bacteria will build up over your teeth surfaces and most plaque is removed with regular brushing and flossing. If you don’t remove plaque, it soon hardens into tartar, a hard substance which can inflame and infect your gums.

In time tartar can cause gum disease. Tartar control toothpaste can contain a variety of different ingredients including pyrophosphates and zinc citrate. Some also contain an anti-bacterial called Triclosan. If you do want to use a tartar control toothpaste, look for one with several active ingredients as this can be more effective than choosing a toothpaste containing only one ingredient to fight tartar.

Toothpaste for Tooth Sensitivity

Lots of people have sensitive teeth and where eating an ice-cream or even enjoying a hot beverage can be a painful experience, causing a throbbing pain or sharp shooting pains in one or more teeth. Toothpaste made to decrease tooth sensitivity can be very useful and here is how it works.

Your teeth are normally protected with tooth enamel, a tough substance that prevents cavities from forming in teeth. Tooth enamel is incredibly hard, but it can be worn away by acid in the mouth or simply by over brushing your teeth! When tooth enamel is eroded then it exposes the dentin underneath, which is much softer. Tooth dentin is made from a bone-like substance and consists of lots of very tiny tube-like structures. If you eat something hot or cold then these substances can penetrate these tiny tubes, causing sensations which will travel to the very center of the tooth which contains the nerve, prompting tooth pain.

A toothpaste which prevents tooth sensitivity works by gradually blocking up these tiny tubes, so it must be used for several weeks for you to get the full benefits. However, if you do have sensitive teeth you should always check first with your dentist just to make sure the problem isn’t due to a cavity or a failing filling, or to another dental problem requiring treatment. Otherwise, your toothpaste could just mask the problem.

Teeth Whitening Toothpaste

Teeth whitening toothpaste will promise to remove stains from your teeth, leaving them looking considerably whiter. It can work by using mild abrasives to scrub away the stains while some can contain a small amount of peroxide to bleach away the stains. However, it is worth being cautious about these claims because a tooth whitening toothpaste will not significantly whiten your teeth.

Any bleach in the product will not be in contact with your teeth long enough to make a significant difference, while toothpaste that relies on abrasives could damage your teeth. If you do want to use a whitening toothpaste, ask your dental office for advice to see which brand they recommend so you can choose a make which will not damage your teeth.

Anti-Bacterial Toothpaste

Some toothpaste contains Triclosan, an anti-bacterial agent which could help to protect you against gum infections such as gingivitis. Triclosan can be a useful ingredient in toothpaste and especially if you have a history of gum problems and want a little extra protection.

Always Choose a Reputable Toothpaste Brand

It is always safest to choose toothpaste made by a brand you recognize. In the past, some brands imported from China have been found to contain harmful ingredients. If toothpaste has received ADA approval, then it will have been thoroughly tested to ensure it is safe and effective.

Buy Different Toothpaste for Different Family Members

If you have young kids, you will probably need to purchase a different toothpaste for them, especially if your dentist has advised a non-fluoridated toothpaste for their first few years. Kids toothpaste generally comes in a range of flavors which seem unappealing to adults, but which can help encourage children to brush regularly. Your choice of toothpaste can be quite personal, and some family members will have different oral health needs or even different tastes so buying separate brands makes more sense.

Don’t Forget Your Toothbrush

Finally, make sure you regularly replace your toothbrush. Even the most expensive and fantastic toothpaste in the world will not clean your teeth effectively if you use an old and shabby brush. If your toothbrush bristles look worn and splayed, then it is past its sell-by date. When replacing your toothbrush, choose soft to medium bristles because a hard-bristled toothbrush could damage your teeth and gums. Pick a brush head small enough to reach right to the back of your mouth, so you can thoroughly clean your back teeth.

If you are ever in doubt about which toothpaste or toothbrush to pick, ask your dentist.

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