Take a stroll down the oral care aisle at your local store and you’ll find a huge selection of toothpastes. The choices can be overwhelming. There are whitening toothpastes, options that offer tartar control, toothpastes with fluoride, and even all-natural options. How do you make up your mind? Here are a few tips, suggestions, and guidelines to help you choose the right toothpaste to improve your oral health.
Most Dentists Recommend a Toothpaste with Fluoride
Most toothpastes today do contain fluoride, and most dentists will recommend that you brush with a toothpaste that contains fluoride. The American Dental Association recommends using a fluoride toothpaste at least twice a day because this ingredient has been proven to fight cavities. Fluoride not only strengthens your tooth enamel, it can actually reverse acid damage to teeth through remineralization.
Look for Tartar Control Ingredients
Every person has plaque on their teeth, which is a layer of bacteria. Fail to remove that plaque and it can begin to harden into tartar. Tarter is tough to remove and it can build up under gums and on teeth, eventually causing gum disease. When selecting a toothpaste, look for an option that will help control tartar buildup on your teeth. Some of the ingredients that are effective at preventing tartar buildup include zinc citrate and pyrophosphates, and triclosan, an antibiotic, may also help kill bacteria found in the mouth, helping with tartar control.
Sensitive Teeth? Consider Special Toothpastes
Do you have teeth that are irritated by cold or hot temperatures? If so, you may want to consider a toothpaste that is specially developed for people who have sensitive teeth. Toothpastes for sensitive teeth usually have strontium chloride or potassium nitrate in them, which can begin to relieve tooth sensitivity by blocking the pathways through your teeth that are attached to the nerves inside your teeth. It can take several weeks to begin seeing a difference, but many people find that regularly using this type of toothpaste can provide significant relief from tooth sensitivity.
Look for ADA Approval
No matter what toothpaste you choose, it’s a good idea to make sure it has the approval of the American Dental Association (ADA). You should see the seal of approval on the package. The toothpastes that have approval of the ADA have all been checked for effectiveness and safety by a group of scientific experts on an independent review board. Every toothpaste that has the ADA seal has fluoride in it, which is an important ingredient for any toothpaste you choose.
To Whiten or Not to Whiten
Many toothpastes now contain whitening ingredients, so should you go with a whitening toothpaste? If you’re worried about stains on your teeth, whitening toothpastes do often contain chemicals and abrasive particles that bind to stains and pull them off your teeth or polish stains away from teeth. Will you see drastic whitening results? Probably not. They may offer a shade of whitening over a long period of time, but they may help prevent staining to your teeth. If you’re looking for big whitening results, talk to your dentist about in-office whitening. If you have sensitive teeth, then you’ll probably want to avoid a whitening toothpaste, since it could increase tooth sensitivity.
Talk to Your Dentist
If you’re having a tough time figuring out what toothpaste to choose, consider talking to your dentist, particularly if you have any special oral health problems or concerns. Your dentist can help you decide on a toothpaste that will best work for your needs. Remember, every mouth is different, and what works well for someone else may not give you the results you want.
Going Beyond Brushing
Choosing a good toothpaste to use when you brush a couple times a day is important, but it’s not enough if you want to protect your oral health. Along with brushing with a good toothpaste, you also need to make sure you’re flossing and using a good antimicrobial mouth rinse as well. Talk to your dentist to find out what additional oral hygiene techniques may improve your oral health and the appearance of your smile.