What’s Up With All Those Toothpaste Choices?
Everyone uses toothpaste every day – ideally twice a day – so how in the world are you supposed to choose from all those different varieties? Manufacturers haven’t exactly made it easy to distinguish one from another, and with buzzwords like “anti-cavity,” “anti-plaque,” and “whitening” what exactly should you believe?
Choosing the right toothpaste doesn’t have to be rocket science, at least not as far as our New Albany team is considered. A lot of finding the right toothpaste comes down to preference, but there are some things you should know when you go to pick your new favorite.
There are a few basic elements that all toothpastes share. Without these common ingredients they’re pretty much useless, and don’t do much better than brushing with a dry brush!
- Abrasives help scrub bacteria and food remnants away from your teeth. They’re soft enough not to damage enamel but tough enough to attack bacteria effectively.
- Detergents allow your toothpaste to foam up, which helps it pull bacteria away from your teeth so you can spit it out.
- Fluoride is in almost every toothpaste out there, and for good reason. It rebuilds enamel lost to plaque acid attacks. If your toothpaste doesn’t have fluoride in it you should really find a new brand!
Beyond these few basics things get pretty varied. There are a number of different ingredients that do different things for your teeth, many of which are included in toothpastes featuring those different buzzwords we mentioned earlier.
- Whitening toothpastes usually contain a different kind of abrasive or other chemicals that scrub stains away more effectively than regular varieties. They won’t, however, get your smile brighter since there simply isn’t enough whitening power present. The upside to using whitening toothpaste is that it can help your teeth stay at a certain level by removing fresh staining agents every day.
- Anti-tartar toothpaste is a bit of an exaggeration. Tartar is hardened plaque that usually forms at or below the gumline. There’s not much out there that’s going to eliminate tartar except a professional cleaning, but it can help to slow or stop the development of tartar.
- Anti-microbial, anti-gingivitis, and antibacterial toothpastes all contain added plaque fighting compounds like the antibiotic triclosan. These toothpastes can minimize the spread of harmful bacteria, but nowhere nearly as well as a dental cleaning.
- Anti-sensitivity toothpastes can be beneficial if you suffer from constantly sensitive teeth. While you should make plans to get a professional opinion on the cause of your sensitivity you can still find mild relief by using an anti-sensitivity product. It takes weeks for the active compounds to build up, so if you’re going to choose this route you need to consistently use it for at least a month.
Things To Watch Out For
When it comes to selecting toothpaste it’s not all wine and roses. There are a few things you need to be sure of before you choose a new brand.
- Make sure your choice has the American Dental Association seal on it. The ADA approves toothpaste ingredients to make sure they’re safe. This is one thing you should never compromise on – without the seal you simply don’t know what you’re getting.
- Watch out for toothpastes made overseas. In 2007 a massive recall on Chinese manufactured toothpastes went out because they contained diethylene glycol. It’s a cheap sweetener that can also be toxic, so if you see it on the ingredient label you should get rid of it immediately. This is just one more reason why the ADA seal is so important!
- Watch out for any “natural” toothpaste that doesn’t contain fluoride. There’s no health risk in the amount of fluoride you get from toothpaste, and studies have shown a lack of fluoride exposure can be really dangerous.
Does Toothpaste Really Make A Difference?
Make no mistake: brushing your teeth is a fundamental part of oral health. It doesn’t beat twice annual cleanings, however. With proper brushing and flossing habits you can do a lot to preserve your teeth and gums, but you won’t be able to do enough to keep them truly cavity and gum disease free.
If you want to protect your smile for life you should give New Albany Implants a call today. We can get you scheduled for a cleaning and exam that will set you on the road to good oral health for a long time to come. Call our office at (888) 469-3982 or request an appointment online. We look forward to seeing you soon!