Maintaining a proper oral hygiene is vital for healthy teeth and gums. A good oral hygiene also helps to get rid of bad breath. The right toothpaste can play an important role in oral health, but it can be difficult to know what product is best.
How to choose the best toothpaste
People can select the toothpaste that is most suitable for them using the 11 methods below.
- Looking at the fluoride content
Fluoride is a natural mineral that prevent cavities and protects tooth enamel. According to experts, the fluoride in toothpaste and drinking water with the substantial drop in dental cavities over the past few decades. As a result, the American Dental Association (ADA) and most dentists consider fluoride to be an essential ingredient in toothpaste.
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However, natural toothpaste may be a better option for some people who prefer to avoid fluoride in toothpaste and drinking water. Many natural formulations are free of fluoride.
- Checking for ADA approval
Some toothpaste products carry the ADA seal of approval, meaning they meet the requirements of ADA requirements, which specify that toothpaste must:
- contain active ingredients to improve oral hygiene
- contain fluoride
- be free from flavoring agents that contribute to tooth decay, such as sugar
- have scientific evidence to support that it is safe and effective
You can see the list of ADA-approved toothpaste products here.
- Reading the label
Not all types of toothpaste are suitable for everyone, so it is best to check labels carefully before buying. For example, some products are unsuitable for younger children. Manufacturers should include any flavorings and sweeteners on the label so that people who are allergic to certain chemicals can avoid them.
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Common ingredients include:
- glycerol, to give the toothpaste a gel-like consistency
- saccharin, a sweetener
- calciumcarbonate and silicates, which are abrasive materials
- sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS), a detergent that causes toothpaste to foam
People who get frequent mouth ulcers, or canker sores, may wish to avoid products that contain SLS, as some research suggests that it increases the risk of mouth ulcers.
- Specific dental problems
Individuals with dental problems should choose a toothpaste that meets their specific requirements. Some for example, may require a desensitizing toothpaste.
Desensitizing toothpaste contains specific compounds, such as potassium nitrate, that block parts of the teeth to halt pain signals.
- Choosing a whitening toothpaste
Whitening toothpaste can provide a safe and effective remedy for teeth that isn’t white in appearance. These products contain abrasive ingredients that polish the teeth or remove stains from the surface of teeth.
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People with sensitive teeth may wish to avoid whitening toothpaste that contains chemicals as these can worsen tooth sensitivity. A dentist can provide advice on whitening options that are safe for you.
- Prescription toothpaste for very sensitive teeth
Brushing can be uncomfortable for people with sensitive teeth. Foods and beverages such as ice cream and hot coffee can be painful to consume. Special types of toothpaste can ease the symptoms of sensitive teeth, and over-the-counter (OTC) options are commonly effective.
- Tartar control
Before and after brushing, a layer of bacteria, called plaque, forms on the teeth. When plaque hardens, it turns into tartar. Tartar is difficult to remove and can contribute to gum disease. Proper oral hygiene and regular dental cleanings can prevent tartar deposits.
People who already have tartar on their teeth should see their dentist. They should also consider using a tartar-control toothpaste. This will contain chemicals, such as pyrophosphates and zinc citrate that prevent further accumulation of tartar.
- Natural toothpaste options
Natural toothpaste products typically do not contain fluoride. Some dentists may recommend natural toothpaste over conventional types, especially for people who have worries about fluoride and other chemical ingredients in their toothpaste.
Several brands also contain natural abrasive agents, such as baking soda, rather than chemical ones. Baking soda is a gentle alternative to other abrasive agents, but it can be just as effective at removing stains.
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People who are considering using natural toothpaste should check the ingredients carefully and weigh up the pros and cons. The FDA do not regulate natural toothpaste products.
- Avoiding sugary toothpaste
Using sugary toothpaste can cause tooth decay. Children’s toothpaste, in particular, may contain high levels of sugar to make it tastier. Toothpaste approved by ADA will not contain sugar or any other substances that contribute to tooth decay.
When to see a dentist
It may be difficult to choose a good toothpaste brand with so many options on the market. If a person is uncertain, they can speak with a dentist about the best available options. A dentist will factor in a person’s oral health and individual needs when recommending products.