We’re confronted with dozens of choices of toothpaste when we go shopping. They all say they keep your teeth clean and prevent cavities. Others say they help whiten, reduce gum disease, help with teeth sensitivity, or use natural ingredients. Does it really matter what kind of toothpaste you use? *Quick answer: yes, yes it does.
It matters what kind of toothpaste you buy, because certain ingredients are necessary in order to maintain a healthy mouth and cavity-free teeth. Knowing the facts behind some basics of toothpaste can help you make a better-informed decision about what kind of toothpaste to buy.
What’s in Toothpaste?
Nearly all toothpastes contain these ingredients:
- Fluoride – This strengthens teeth to prevent tooth decay and can sometimes remineralize enamel in the beginning stages of tooth decay.
- Humectants – Prevents water loss in the toothpaste.
- Abrasive agents – These help to remove surface stains on the teeth.
- Coloring agents and binders – Helps the toothpaste retain its consistency and formula.
- pH buffers – helps balance the pH balance of the toothpaste to make it more efficient at cleaning
- Foaming agents – Help to break down plaque and make it easier to brush off the teeth.
- Flavoring agents – Sugars or sugar alcohols that help improve taste, usually making toothpaste mint-flavored.
What Ingredients are Good
Fluoride is the single most important ingredient in a toothpaste. Fluoride helps rebuild weakened tooth enamel and reverses early signs of tooth decay. When you use a fluoride toothpaste, the fluoride is applied to the surface of your teeth and the rebuilding starts.
Another important group of ingredients is pyrophosphates, which help prevent build-up of calculus on the teeth, which can eventually harden into plaque and then lead to tooth decay. These are usually labeled as “tartar fighting” toothpastes.
* Helpful tip: If you need a tooth sensitivity toothpaste, look for ingredients such as “strontium chloride” and “potassium nitrate.” This works to calm the nerve of the tooth and make it less painful to ingest hot or cold things.
If you’re looking for a whitening toothpaste, keep in mind that the abrasive ingredients will only remove surface stains, not ones that are years old. Those will require different treatments, such as bleaching ones done by a dentist or whitening strips or trays. If you’re looking for dental whitening services in the Pensacola area, call us today at (850) 542-4428.
What to Avoid in a Toothpaste
While we all want whiter teeth, getting that from your toothpaste may not be the best idea. Some whitening toothpastes contain abrasive materials that are meant to remove surface stains from the teeth can actually wear down enamel and cause teeth sensitivity. You may then end up needing a toothpaste for tooth sensitivity.
For children, it may be tempting to get them a toothpaste that is flavored and tastes sweet to get them to brush their teeth routinely. But too much sugar is bad for the teeth and can cause decay and cavities, so steer clear of any overtly sugary toothpastes for kids. The most important ingredient in toothpaste for kids (and adults alike) is fluoride, as it helps fight plaque and cavities.
If you want to use a natural toothpaste, be careful. While you may be avoiding some irritating chemicals, these toothpastes may not be cleaning your teeth or preventing cavities. A lot of natural toothpastes do not contain fluoride. Treat natural toothpastes like you would an herbal supplement–know that it is not regulated or approved by health or dental governing bodies. One way to ensure you’re getting a quality toothpaste without unnecessary additives is to look for the American Dental Association seal of acceptance on whatever toothpaste you choose to purchase. The ADA has strict requirements to issue their seal, and only those with beneficial ingredients will receive it.
If you’re located in the Pensacola area and needing to schedule a professional cleaning, call us today at (850) 542-4428. Dr. Djuric is one of the leading dentists in the Pensacola area.