Walking into a store to buy toothpaste sounds easy enough, until a person gets to the toothpaste aisle and finds shelves of different brands, dizzying colors, and a range of flavors and formulations. Some toothpastes claim to whiten, some help with gingivitis and some help with sensitivity. No wonder it’s tough to select a paste with all the different choices out there.
The first tip in choosing toothpaste is to choose one with fluoride. Fluoride keeps the teeth from breaking down and helps prevent cavities from forming. Bacteria in the mouth feed on sugars and produce an acid that breaks down the tooth structure. Fluoride protects the teeth from acid and helps strengthen the enamel. Fluoride also benefits the teeth by remineralizing enamel that’s been eroded by acid. However, check the manufacturer’s label because some fluoride toothpastes are not recommended for children who do not have the dexterity to spit toothpaste into the sink.
It is also is recommended to buy a toothpaste that is approved by the American Dental Association (ADA). The ADA’s seal of acceptance means that the toothpaste does what it claims to and there is scientific data to prove its effectiveness. ADA’s seal of acceptance also ensures that the product has met criteria for safety. If toothpastes do not have the ADA’s seal, it does not mean it is a bad paste; consumers just have to be cautious to not believe everything the product claims. For example, some toothpastes claim to remove 80 percent of surface stains, but without the ADA seal, there is no proof that the product will perform to the standard being claimed.
When considering other properties of toothpastes such as for whitening, gingivitis or tartar control, the easiest way to know which category of toothpaste to use is to ask your dentist. The dentist can recommend toothpastes that will work best for you. There are clinical evaluations and assessments that will determine deficits each patient may have and recommendations will be made accordingly. For instance, a dentist may determine that the patient tends to build up tarter and will advise the patient to purchase anti-tartar toothpaste.
Lastly, consumers must decide which toothpaste they like based on personal preference. Choose a toothpaste that tastes and feels the best and be sure that the ingredients in the toothpaste are irritating the gums and oral tissues. Some toothpaste are soothing and refreshing, but some people have reactions to harsh ingredients. A common ingredient that causes irritation to the mouth is called sodium-lauryl-sulphate (SLS). SLS can not only lead to irritated oral tissues, but it can also cause canker sores. Consumers should watch for SLS if certain toothpaste is causing irritation.
Next time you go to the store to select a toothpaste, don’t be overwhelmed; just remember the simple steps to choosing the right toothpaste for you!