Choice overload is a problem that troubles many toothpaste shoppers. When you go to the store to pick up a tube there are endless choices. There are a plethora of options each with different promises and they all seem to be recommended by “4 out of 5 dentists.” How can you possibly choose?
In this article, a Toronto cosmetic dentist divulges how to pick the best toothpaste for your individual needs.
There are a few basics that everyone should consider when choosing toothpaste. Regardless of other concerns like whitening and sensitivity, these are things which you should look for in any toothpaste. These include:
Dentists recommend toothpaste with fluoride content to prevent cavities and protect enamel. Studies have proven both the safety and efficacy of using fluoride in toothpaste.
For those who want to avoid fluoride, there are natural options for toothpaste. Natural products avoid fluoride and other chemicals, but they should be chosen with caution. They don’t offer the same protection and they are unregulated.
It’s always worth reading the ingredients on the toothpaste label. The chemicals and sweeteners used can be problems for some.
Sugar, for example, is bad for your teeth. It’s generally best to avoid any toothpaste that contains sugar. The sweetener sorbitol is usually fine for adults but can cause diarrhea in children.
Some specific problems can also come down to the ingredients. If you often experience ulcers or canker sores you should avoid toothpaste with sodium lauryl sulphate. A study found a significant reduction in mouth ulcers after not using SLS over 2 months.
The CDA Seal is a program put in place by the Canadian Dental Association. It exists to let consumers make informed decisions about dental products.
Stamping the CDA Seal of approval on a toothpaste means that the dental health benefits listed on packaging are true. The CDA has the product independently reviewed and supported with scientific evidence.
Participation in the program is voluntary, so a lack of Seal doesn’t necessarily mean that the product doesn’t work as it claims. But, having the Seal means that the toothpaste delivers on its claims. So it’s worth looking for this designation.
You can browse CDA approved toothpaste tubes and sort by their desired effects online.
Often, we are looking for specific effects in addition to the basic functions of toothpaste. These effects can be cosmetic or for specific dental problems. We take a look at how to choose toothpaste for the most sought-after effects:
Whitening is one of the most common cosmetic dental goals. People are always looking for an easy option for whitening, especially through toothpaste and gum. Whitening toothpaste is generally safe. They use abrasive agents to scrub stains off of teeth while brushing.
These kinds of toothpaste only treat surface stains. If you want a dramatically brighter smile you need a dental treatment. Cosmetic dentists provide in-office or at-home tooth whitening that whitens teeth effectively. This whitening penetrates deeper, combatting stubborn stains.
Whether or not you seek dental whitening, you can use whitening toothpaste. Those with sensitive teeth, however, may want to be careful with the ingredients on the label. Many of the chemicals can strain sensitive teeth. A good alternative found in some whitening toothpaste is baking soda.
Baking soda is abrasive but its chemical makeup is not harsh.
Another common demand for toothpaste is controlling tartar and/or plaque buildup. Tartar is hardened plaque which can lead to periodontitis. Proper tooth brushing and regular dental cleanings are intended to manage plaque, in turn, preventing tartar.
Still, some people have a harder time managing tartar. Once tartar builds, you should visit a dentist before it causes problems requiring cosmetic dental procedures. In addition to visiting a dental clinic, you can look for tartar control toothpaste.
These kinds of toothpaste use chemicals that avoid further buildups of tartar deposits. Look for zinc citrate and pyrophosphates for effective tartar control.
Sensitive teeth are common, with a greater likelihood as we age. If you experience tooth sensitivity, visit your dentist as it is a likely sign of receding gums or periodontal disease. In the meantime, you should still address the symptoms.
Brushing with regular toothpaste can be painful for those with tooth sensitivity. Whether sensitivity is ongoing or comes and goes, you may want to consider switching over to a desensitizing toothpaste.
For an over-the-counter-toothpaste, you can look for ingredients like potassium nitrate (KNO3). KNO3 blocks pain signals from the teeth, so you can safely brush without pain. For more severe sensitivity, you can ask your dentist to prescribe a stronger toothpaste.
Regardless of which toothpaste you choose, tooth brushing is just one of the important steps of preventative dental care. By emphasizing prevention you can save yourself time, money, and pain from oral complications. Book a dental appointment today with Dr. Judy Sturm, voted Toronto’s best dentist.
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