How to Choose the Right Toothpaste for Your Dental Needs
Written By: Dr. Nadia Rivera
Choosing the right toothpaste can be a difficult task, given the sheer number of options available on the market today. Many people do not give much thought about their toothpaste and tend to pick the one that tastes good. While flavor is something you need to consider while choosing the right toothpaste for you, it should not be the sole determining factor.
Here are five key factors you should consider while choosing the right toothpaste for your dental needs.
Fluoride is a mineral which is naturally found in the soil, air, rocks, and plants. It is known to improve dental health and is commonly used in oral hygiene products like toothpastes and mouthwashes.
Every day, your tooth enamel (the outer covering of your teeth) is eroded by the acids that are produced when the sugars in your food are broken down. This process is known as demineralization. Erosion of the tooth enamel can lead to cavities and tooth decay.
Fluoride can reduce the erosion of your tooth enamel and restore the loss of minerals from your enamel. It can also keep the growth of harmful bacteria in check and prevent tooth decay to a great extent. It is why the American Dental Association (ADA) recommends using a fluoridated toothpaste.
For best results, you should use a toothpaste that contains at least 1,000 parts per million fluoride.
One of the easiest ways to determine if a toothpaste is as safe and effective as it claims to be is to find out whether it has the American Dental Association’s seal of approval. In order to earn the ADA’s seal of approval, the toothpaste manufacturer needs to submit scientific evidence to the ADA Council on Scientific Affairs. Based on the data, the ADA will determine whether the toothpaste in question meets its standards for safety and effectiveness.
In addition to this, toothpastes with the ADA’s seal of approval must also meet the following standards.
- Have sufficient amount of fluoride
- Have active ingredients that can promote oral health
- Free of sugar and other flavoring agents that can cause tooth decay
Choosing a Toothpaste for Your Specific Needs
Choosing a toothpaste that meets your specific dental needs can help you get better results in the long term. These include:
These toothpastes contain abrasive agents like calcium carbonate that can gently remove the stains from your teeth and whiten them. If you have sensitive teeth, it is advisable to avoid using whitening toothpaste, as the abrasive agents in the toothpaste can worsen your sensitivity.
The abrasivity of toothpastes is measured in terms of their relative dentin abrasivity (RDA). Ideally, you should choose a toothpaste with an RDA of 250 or less. Any toothpaste with an RDA of over 250 might not be suitable for daily use – particularly for people with sensitive teeth and gums.
Tartar Control Toothpastes
These toothpastes contain chemicals like zinc citrate and pyrophosphates that can inhibit the formation of plaques in the teeth.
Plaques are layers of bacteria that can be found on your teeth surface. Hardened plaque build ups are commonly referred to as tartar. If left untreated, tartar can lead to gingivitis and periodontal disease.
It should be noted that tartar control toothpastes can only prevent the buildup of plaques and cannot remove hardened tartar. It can only be removed by a dentist through a process called scaling.
Toothpastes for Sensitive Teeth
These toothpastes contain compounds like strontium chloride or potassium nitrate that can block the pain signals transmitted between the sensory nerves in your teeth and your tooth surface.
There are many over-the-counter sensitivity toothpastes available for you to choose from. If you have an acute case of sensitivity and if there is no improvement, you can consult with your dentist and make the switch to prescription strength toothpaste.
Ingredients to Avoid
Many toothpastes contain ingredients that might not be suitable for everyone. It is why you should always check the label carefully before buying a toothpaste.
For example, research shows that sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS), a substance which is commonly used as a foaming agent in toothpastes, might be a contributing factor to tooth sensitivity. It is also known to increase the risk of mouth ulcers – particularly in people with sensitive gums. So, if you have sensitive teeth or gums, it might be a good idea to avoid using toothpastes that contain SLS.
Moreover, SLS is an irritant and can be harmful if swallowed. It is one of the reasons why toothpastes containing SLS are not a good choice for children.
Activated charcoal is an ingredient that can be found in many whitening toothpastes. It is an abrasive agent that can remove stains and whiten your teeth. However, charcoal is too abrasive to be used on a daily basis and can damage your enamel in the long term. You should particularly avoid it if you have sensitive teeth.
Triclosan is yet another ingredient which is commonly used in toothpastes. It is known for its antibacterial qualities and can keep oral bacterial growth in check. At the same time, some studies show that regular exposure to triclosan can cause bacteria to develop resistance to antimicrobial and antibacterial agents.
Apart from this, you should be extremely careful while choosing toothpastes that are imported from other countries. In 2007, certain toothpastes that were manufactured in China were found to contain diethylene glycol – a toxic substance which can be harmful to health.
Toothpaste flavor is also a factor that you need to consider while choosing a toothpaste. Toothpastes are available in a wide variety of flavors ranging from mint (which is the most common flavor) to berry, cinnamon, lemon, licorice, vanilla, and chocolate mint. Toothpaste flavor matters a lot, since many people might not be inclined to brush two or three times a day if the toothpaste tastes terrible.
Dedicated Hicksville, NY Dentists Can Help Resolve Your Dental Problems
Choosing the right toothpaste can go a long way in promoting good oral hygiene. If you are not sure about your choice of toothpaste, Dr. Michael Richer and Dr. Nadia Rivera at R+R Dental can recommend the right toothpaste for you based on your specific needs. We offer a wide range of personalized dental care services – from dental plaque cleanup to dental bonding, root canal treatment, dental crowns, dental implants, tooth extraction, and many more.