Toothpaste: we all use it every day. With all the choices out there on the shelf you may have wondered what all those different things mean: whitening, anti-cavity, anti-plaque … there’s so many labels it’s overwhelming!
Plenty of toothpastes are “dentist recommended” too, making it hard to determine the healthiest choice. At Edgewood Dental Care we don’t think something as important as buying toothpaste should be so confusing, so we’re going to help you untangle this ridiculous mess!
What Makes Toothpaste Work?
Let’s get down to the basics: all toothpastes are designed to help keep your mouth clean by removing bacteria, food particles, and other gunk that builds up in your mouth. One of the big ways that toothpaste does its job is through the use of abrasive agents that scrape away plaque and food without harming your teeth.
Abrasive materials are present in most every form of toothpaste, but that’s hardly the only thing that goes into making a working product. There’s also detergents to help the toothpaste foam up so that it is well distributed in your mouth, and almost every variety contains some degree of fluoride.
Fluoride is one of the most fundamental elements of good oral health. While there’s been some scare about fluoride safety over the years we can tell you with confidence that the fluoride in your toothpaste is safe, beneficial, and necessary to good oral health.
When you brush with a fluoride toothpaste you’re helping rebuild your teeth from the damage dealt to them through the day. Plaque bacteria attacks your teeth with acids that slowly erode enamel, and fluoride bonds to those damaged spots to regenerate them. You simply can’t go without a regular dose of fluoride!
The Specifics: Finding A Toothpaste That Works For You
Everyone’s mouth is different, and that means getting the right stuff for your particular needs. In most cases a simple toothpaste with fluoride will work well enough, but that isn’t the case for everyone. If you want to get the most out of your brushing routine you can search the shelves for various specialty toothpastes.
- Whitening toothpaste contains elements that help polish and remove stains. Just to be clear, these toothpastes aren’t going to dramatically whiten your smile. They’re designed more to maintain the current shade and prevent further stains from setting in. If you truly want to whiten your teeth you’re going to need to do it professionally at our Edgewood office.
- Antibacterial toothpaste is also quite common, and is usually marketed under the “anti-gingivitis” label. Many types of these toothpastes use triclosan, an antibacterial agent, to kill off excess bacteria that may be causing gum irritation.
- Anti-tartar toothpastes are an odd product, as they don’t actually fight tartar accumulation. Tartar is hardened dental plaque that usually forms under or near the gumline, and it can only be removed with professional dental care. Nonetheless, anti-tartar toothpaste can inhibit the spread and worsening of tartar, so it can be beneficial.
- Anti-sensitivity toothpaste is great for patients who feel pain from simple acts like drinking a hot beverage or eating cold foods. While it’s still important to get any tooth pain investigated you can find relief using these products! They don’t work immediately, however, and can take around a month to accumulate enough active agents to start having an effect.
A Few Basic Things To Be Sure Of
When choosing toothpaste there are a few things that you should always be sure of, most importantly that the American Dental Association (ADA) approval stamp is present somewhere on the package. Also beware of toothpastes manufactured in China – the FDA has put out a warning that those may contain diethylene glycol, which can be toxic.
Lastly, don’t forget to consider the rest of the household you’re buying toothpaste for. It’s not unreasonable to have more than one tube in the house if you and your partner have different tooth care needs, but if you’re sharing a tube it should be one that both of you are happy with.
Toothpaste: Part Of A Balanced Oral Health Routine
Don’t forget that it’s not brushing alone that makes for a healthy smile. You need to be flossing every night and getting regular dental checkups at our Edgewood office. Good oral healthcare is a lifetime commitment to staying on top of your smile, and there are simply too many places to keep an eye on at home!
If you have any questions about choosing a toothpaste, taking care of your teeth, or how to improve your oral care routine we’ll be happy to answer them. You can reach our office by calling 859-474-7830, or you can save time and request an appointment online. We look forward to seeing you soon!