Your Complete Guide to Toothpaste
A trip down the oral care aisle of the supermarket presents a dizzying array of toothpaste selections but do you know the differences between all of the different options? Or, like many of us, do you make your choice based on slick packaging and marketing buzzwords? No matter what type of toothpaste you select, the first thing to look for is the ADA Seal of Acceptance. The American Dental Association conducts both clinical and laboratory studies before any toothpaste receives the seal of acceptance for safety and effectiveness. All ADA approved toothpaste will contain fluoride. Here is a breakdown of the types of toothpaste available in most stores:
In 2014, the ADA issued guidelines stating that caregivers should begin brushing their children’s teeth with fluoride toothpaste as soon as the first teeth erupt. However, baby teeth don’t require the same intensity of cleaning that adult teeth do, and can be damaged by harsh products. Children’s toothpaste contains less fluoride or abrasive agents as well as less intense flavoring.
Tartar Control Toothpaste
Tartar control toothpaste can’t dissolve tartar that has already bonded with the enamel, but it can stop future deposits from forming. Tetrasodium pyrophosphate is the active ingredient in most tartar control toothpaste. Those who are prone to canker sores might want to avoid toothpaste with high levels of sodium-based compounds, as they may aggravate the condition.
Toothpaste which target sensitivity typically contain one of the following active ingredients: potassium nitrate, stannous fluoride or strontium chloride. While they offer relief for people with sensitive teeth, it can take 3-4 weeks to experience full benefits. In the meantime, a visit to the dentist may help address the cause of tooth sensitivity.
Everyone wants a laser white smile, and the oral health care market is saturated with multiple products that promise a brighter smile. Whitening toothpaste contains soft abrasive agents who “scrub” the stains off your teeth. Some also contain peroxide to bleach the surface of teeth to a lighter shade.
Toothpaste labeled as strengthening refers to strengthening enamel. In general, this means that the toothpaste contains fluoride. Strengthening products will typically be less abrasive to reduce the wear on tooth enamel.
Many people want to avoid the detergents, chemicals, and artificial sweeteners contained in commercial toothpaste. Natural toothpaste claims not to contain these ingredients. Be sure to confirm that the natural toothpaste you select is ADA approved and contains fluoride.
For patients at higher risk for cavities, prescription strength toothpaste may be recommended by your dentist. This toothpaste typically contains a higher concentration of fluoride which is the main ingredient to help fight the decay-causing bacteria.
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