Which Toothpaste Is Right For You?
Visit any drug store today, and you will discover an overwhelmingly wide range of toothpastes available to buy. It is no surprise that you find yourself asking, “Which one is right for me?”
Perhaps you could decide based on the brand or price, or even on the specific problem the toothpaste aims to correct. If your teeth have a dull color, go for a teeth whitener, or if they are sensitive to hot and cold, you need a toothpaste for sensitive teeth. Is this the right way to decide or are there other parameters to consider as well?
Does your toothpaste contain these ingredients?
- Hydrated silica: This is a thickener which when combined with calcium carbonate, helps in plaque removal. Mildly abrasive, it converts the modest toothpaste into a gel.
- Sodium fluoride: This ingredient prevents your teeth from decaying and developing cavities. Fluoride compounds restrict the growth of dental plaque. It also helps the enamel in the teeth to remain strong and resist any bacterial invasion.
- Sodium Lauryl Sulfate: This ingredient helps your toothpaste to foam, but is a skin irritant and might cause mouth sores. It can also upset your stomach if ingested.
What to look for when buying a toothpaste
- Sensitive teeth: In this condition, you need to ensure that your toothpaste contains strontium chloride which does not allow cold air and acids to enter the tooth dentin and reach the nerves. It should also contain potassium nitrate to keep the nerves calm.
- Tartar control: When plaque is ignored for a long time, it develops into tartar which gives your teeth a brown sheen. However, tartar can be removed by using toothpastes that contain chemicals called pyrophosphates.
- Teeth whitening toothpastes: If your teeth are stained due to excessive coffee drinking or smoking, you can use teeth whitening toothpaste that will lighten them by a few shades. These toothpastes should not be taken indefinitely. Over long periods they will damage the tooth enamel.
- Gum disease fighting toothpaste: Gum disease or gingivitis, when detected in the early stages, can be treated with the right toothpaste. Check for toothpaste labels that say “gum care” or “anti-gingivitis.” Check for triclosan which is known for fighting plaque causing bacteria.
- The ADA seal of approval: If your toothpaste comes with the American Dental Association (ADA) stamp of approval, you’re safe. It means that your toothpaste has been checked for the highest level of safety and performance by an independent board comprised of scientific experts. It goes without saying that all toothpastes that earn the ADA safety seal also contain fluoride, the basic ingredient of all good toothpastes.
Do you know which toothpaste is right for you and your family?
If you need some help with choosing a toothpaste for the whole family, here are some pointers:
- Buy ADA-approved toothpastes: This is a benchmark for quality. Your entire family can confidently use this toothpaste.
- Read labels carefully: There are toothpastes out there made to look like your favorite brands! These are, generally, made by other countries. Unfortunately, not all countries follow the safety guidelines laid down by the FDA.
Make sure that you know what you’re looking for in a toothpaste and read the labels carefully. As with anything, a little trial and error might also help you determine which toothpastes you and your family prefer. As always, check with your trusted dentist. They will be able to help you find the right toothpaste!