Toothpaste is an important component of good oral hygiene. Just a pea-size amount placed on the bristles of a toothbrush can help remove food debris and plaque from the teeth and ward off conditions like gum disease. Of course, toothpaste is not always in paste form. You can also find it as a gel or powder. Most types of toothpaste contain fluoride which strengthens enamel and fights cavities. Learn more about toothpaste and what it does for your teeth and overall health.
What Exactly Is in Toothpaste?
Knowing what is in toothpaste can help you better understand how it helps your teeth and gums. The exact composition of toothpaste can differ slightly between brands and varieties; however, most include several standard ingredients. These include:
- Abrasives– Toothpaste contains gentle abrasives that help safely scrub away food particles and plaque from the surface of the teeth without harming the enamel. Examples of abrasives found in toothpaste include calcium carbonate, dehydrated silica gels, magnesium carbonate, phosphate salts, and hydrated aluminum oxide.
- Thickeners – Most kinds of toothpaste contain thickening agents that help give the product a homogenous texture and appearance. Some examples include synthetic cellulose, mineral colloids, seaweed, and natural gum.
- Humectants – Without humectants like sorbitol and glycerol, toothpaste can quickly dry out and become unusable.
- Flavorings– Many kinds of toothpaste you find at the store contain flavoring agents to make them taste better and leave a fresh feeling in the mouth. However, it’s important to use flavoring agents that do not contribute to tooth decay, such as saccharin.
- Detergents – Toothpaste also contains detergents that give the product a foamy texture when you begin the brushing process. Sodium lauroyl sarcosinate is a common detergent used in toothpaste.
What are the Benefits of Toothpaste?
People have been using toothpaste since as early as 5,000 BC when Egyptians used a toothpaste-like mixture to clean their teeth and gums. While ancient forms of toothpaste were effective at freshening breath, whitening teeth, and removing plaque, the ingredients used were more abrasive and not as hygienic as modern oral health products.
It wasn’t until the 1950s that scientists with the Procter & Gamble corporation began clinical trials for fluoride toothpaste. By 1956, the first fluoride toothpaste, known as ‘Crest’, was released. Today’s toothpastes offer a wide range of benefits to users, especially fluoride toothpastes.
Fluoride helps remineralize tooth enamel by bonding to areas of decay and driving other materials like calcium to the damaged tooth. It also prevents further decay from forming by stimulating the production of fluorapatite, a form of tooth enamel resistant to bacteria and acids. Fluoride also has antibacterial properties that inhibit the growth of harmful bacteria and prevent microbes from adhering to teeth.
What Type of Toothpaste Is Best?
When shopping for toothpaste, you’ll find many different options to choose from, such as anti-plaque toothpaste, tartar toothpaste, fluoride toothpaste, cavity-fighting toothpaste, whitening toothpaste, and sensitive teeth toothpaste. Ideally, you should choose a toothpaste that offers the features you need for your unique smile. If you’re not sure, ask your dentist in Clermont, FL for suggestions.
Check the label when comparing toothpaste. Ensure that the toothpaste contains fluoride for proper enamel protection and avoid toothpaste that contains abrasive ingredients. You should also choose a toothpaste that has the ADA Seal of Acceptance. If you have sensitive teeth and gums, opt for a toothpaste that is designed for this issue. Many sensitive teeth toothpastes contain ingredients like strontium chloride or potassium nitrate.
Finally, consider the appearance, texture, and taste of the toothpaste. Adult toothpaste is often available in mint or other mouth-freshening flavors. As children tend to be pickier when it comes to toothpaste flavors, you’ll be glad to find many tasty flavors available in children’s toothpaste, such as strawberry, watermelon, grape, and bubblegum. Choosing a great-tasting toothpaste may encourage children to brush.
Contact our Clermont Family Dentistry
Along with using fluoride toothpaste to clean your teeth, you’ll want to see your dentist in Clermont on a regular basis. Contact Hancock Village Dental today to schedule your next visit.