What Exactly Does Toothpaste Do?
Toothpaste is a critical component of your daily oral hygiene routine. It can be found in a variety of flavors and formulas, including gels and pastes. Its primary job is to remove the sticky film of bacteria that is constantly forming on the teeth, known as plaque. It also helps fight off dental disease and achieve a clean, fresh feeling in the mouth.
According to the University of Rochester Medical Center, fluoride is the most crucial ingredient in toothpaste. You should also choose a brand that has the American Dental Association (ADA) seal of approval, which means that the product has undergone controlled, clinical trials and has been deemed safe and effective.
Prevents Tooth Decay
Most toothpastes contain abrasives that help to physically scrub away food debris and plaque accumulation on the teeth. Some also contain antimicrobial ingredients designed to reduce the formation of plaque and prevent tartar buildup. Common examples of abrasives found in toothpastes include silica, alumina, and calcium carbonate.
In addition to abrasives, toothpaste contains detergents that create a foaming action that helps to dislodge food and reduce bacterial plaque formation. A common example of a toothpaste detergent is sodium lauryl sulfate. Together, these abrasives and detergents help to keep teeth clean and prevent the formation of tooth decay.
Fights Off Gum Disease
Periodontal (gum) disease is a type of infection that develops in the tissues responsible for holding your teeth in place. It is a common and fairly preventable disease that is usually caused by poor hygiene. Symptoms of gum disease include red, swollen, and tender gums. If not treated, gum disease can progress and eventually lead to tooth loss.
Toothpaste is an excellent weapon against gum disease. That is because toothpaste is effective at killing bacteria that contribute to plaque buildup, which eventually hardens into tartar. The right toothpaste can also help strengthen the teeth and keep the seal between the teeth and gums tight.
Strengthens Tooth Enamel
Tooth enamel is the outermost layer of the tooth and protects the inner, more fragile components of the tooth, including the dentin and pulp. Tooth enamel is the hardest tissue in the human body and is what gives your teeth their sparkle. However, tooth enamel can succumb to dental decay without proper oral care.
Brushing regularly with toothpaste that contains fluoride can help strengthen tooth enamel. Small amounts of fluoride can be absorbed into the teeth, resulting in teeth that are stronger and more resistant to decay. Fluoride toothpastes can also contribute to the remineralization process, which occurs when minerals are reintroduced to the teeth.
Helps Freshen Breath
Odor-producing bacteria that grow inside the mouth are typically responsible for bad breath. Poor brushing and flossing habits can cause bacteria to feed on the particles of food left in the mouth and between teeth. Over time, these bacteria release sulfur compounds which create bad breath.
Toothpaste removes bad bacteria from the mouth and contains antibacterial properties that have been shown to minimize bad breath odors. Many toothpastes are flavored with mint or similar fresh-smelling flavors that help create a fresh, clean feel and smell inside the mouth.
Cleans and Whitens Teeth
Toothpaste is highly effective at both cleaning and whitening teeth. The abrasive substances found in most toothpastes help to scrub away food and plaque from the teeth, leaving the teeth looking clean and free of food particles and other debris that could affect the cleanliness of your mouth.
Some toothpastes, especially those designed for “whitening,” can help whiten teeth by removing surface stains, such as those caused by smoking or drinking coffee. While whitening toothpaste cannot change the natural color of your teeth, it can help make your teeth appear brighter.
Call Your Clermont Dentist
In addition to using toothpaste to brush your teeth at least twice a day, it’s important to see your dentist in Clermont on a routine basis. Hancock Village Dental offers preventative, restorative, and cosmetic dentistry services to families. For more information or to schedule an appointment with our Clermont family dentistry, contact Hancock Village Dental at 352-989-5815.