Despite what many people may believe, keeping your teeth properly brushed is a major part of maintaining optimal health. As long as you’re brushing and flossing twice a day, you are well on your way to ensuring good oral health. There is, however, something else you can do to ensure that your oral health is as good as possible: choose the proper toothpaste. With the various types of toothpastes on the market, it’s often difficult to determine which would be best for you and your family. The following list gives you information about the most common types of toothpastes and under which circumstances each type should be used.
Fluoride – This is a naturally occurring mineral that is a very important ingredient to look for in toothpaste. Tooth decay occurs when bacteria from eating and drinking certain foods and beverages literally decay the teeth. Fluoride not only prevents the bacteria from accumulating in the mouth and resulting in decay, but it can help reverse damage from bacteria and decay in its earliest stages. Dentists recommend choosing a high quality toothpaste that contains fluoride, so you may want to keep this type of toothpaste at the top of your list.
Tartar Control – Toothpastes in this category often contain extra ingredients to help eliminate the buildup of plaque, a bacteria-containing substance that leads to tartar, and therefore tooth decay. You might want to consider a tartar control toothpaste if you have had an increase in cavities or even gum disease.
Sensitive Teeth – Some people have teeth that are more sensitive than others, causing the consumption of hot and cold foods and drinks to result in pain and discomfort. Many people have sensitive teeth and gums that cause great discomfort because of exposed dentin, or nerves inside the teeth. Toothpaste made specifically for sensitive teeth works by creating a protective barrier around the exposed nerve, minimizing pain and sensitivity. The more you brush with this type of toothpaste, the more protection you have.
Toddlers & Young Children – If you’re purchasing toothpaste for a young child who is just starting to get used to the idea of brushing their teeth, you may be more successful if you use a kid-friendly toothpaste which is usually bubblegum- flavored. Young children have sensitive taste buds, and many of them complain that “adult” toothpaste is simply too spicy and strong.
Whitening – If your teeth are discolored or stained from coffee, tobacco, or other reasons, there are various brands of whitening toothpastes available that can dissolve these stains and return your teeth to the white color that they were in the past, or as close as possible. Toothpastes that whiten teeth often contain hydrogen peroxide, a popular whitener, which is usually quite successful at whitening teeth.
When you’re choosing the proper toothpaste for yourself and your family, it’s also good to remember to make sure that whatever brands you ultimately decide on are American Dental Association (ADA) approved and recommended. Toothpastes approved by the ADA are guaranteed to contain all of the components necessary to promote the healthiest teeth and gums possible. You need to be wary of imposters, as there are many imitation toothpastes that claim to be equivalent to the ADA-approved toothpastes, yet this is quite often not true.