Have you even been in the dental aisle at the drug store and completely overwhelmed by all of the different choices of toothpaste there are? It can be tricky knowing which toothpaste is the best for your health when there are so many options!
This article will help you navigate the dental aisle more easily in order to make the best decision possible. Here are 9 tips for picking the best toothpaste for you:
- Check the Ingredients for Fluoride
Fluoride is a major tool in fighting cavities. It protects the enamel layer that works to make teeth strong and less likely to be damaged by acids in our diet. Fluoride can also reverse early stages of cavities by remineralizing the teeth. By brushing with fluoride toothpaste twice daily you will be reaping a lot of benefits and keeping your teeth healthy. Keep in mind that fluoride is not in many natural toothpastes so be sure to check the label.
- Talk to your dentist and dental hygienist about specific concerns
If you have specific concerns in your mouth and want to be sure the toothpaste you are using is the best option, mention it to your hygienist and dentist at your next visit. If you have sensitive teeth, ask which brand they recommend is best. If your major concern is whitening, let them know and they can steer you in the right direction. Be sure to listen to which toothpastes not to purchase as research shows some toothpaste can be more harmful than others.
- Read each ingredient on the label
There are loads of ingredients in toothpaste that can be confusing. We will review a few of the more common ingredients you may see to help navigate these labels:
- Some toothpaste may contain flavoring and other sweeteners like saccharin that can make them taste better.
- If you see calcium carbonate and silicates know that these are abrasive materials that help to remove stains, food and bacteria from the teeth.
- If the label has glycerol on it then the paste will be more like a gel formulation that keeps the toothpaste from drying out.
- Agents that add thickness to the toothpaste include gums and gooey molecules that are found many times in seaweed. These help the texture.
- Detergents like sodium lauryl sulfate are responsible for the suds you see when you brush your teeth and the paste foams up
- Baking soda toothpaste is gentle and effective
Baking soda toothpaste has a lower abrasive quality to it than many others toothpastes yet it still does the trick with stain removal. If you have sensitive teeth but do not like sensitivity toothpastes, this may be the right choice for you. It gives you that refreshing feeling without the roughness you may have encountered with other types. Also baking soda has qualities that allow it to neutralize acids and absorbs odors in the mouth. It is commonly used in cleaning and deodorizing for these reasons.
- Check for a seal of approval from the American Dental Association (ADA)
The American Dental Association has strict guidelines that it follows when determining which brands can display the seal. Participation is voluntary however so some brands that may be good may not carry the seal. It is important to consider but you should not use the ADA seal as your only criteria for choosing toothpaste.
- If your teeth are sensitive, avoid whitening toothpaste
Often toothpaste that advertises itself as whitening toothpaste contains powerful ingredients that may irritate the teeth. Though they are generally safe, these materials can be abrasive, especially in patients that already have sensitive teeth.
- Use caution when buying or making your own natural toothpaste
A key ingredient in toothpaste that helps protect the teeth is fluoride. Unfortunately in many natural and homemade types of toothpaste the fluoride is left out. There are many people that question whether fluoride is safe or not. As long as fluoride is used properly and not in excessive amounts it has proven cavity-fighting ability. Also understand that when using natural toothpastes you are at risk because some ingredients are in the same category as herbal supplements are therefore the jury is still out on whether or not they are safe. The FDA does not regulate natural toothpaste so there is no way to be certain unless you are inspecting the label and doing your research
- Find out what works best for YOU
People are unique. A tooth paste that may work great for your husband might not work for you. Each person has their own chemical makeup in the saliva and you need to find what works best for you. Some toothpaste may make your teeth sensitive but not another’s. It is important to try different kinds and see what works best for you.
- Discuss choosing the right toothpaste with your dentist
If you are not sure where to start ask your dentist and dental hygienist at your next check-up so they can help steer you in the right direction. Be sure to ask them for instructions on proper brushing and flossing techniques. Choosing the right toothbrush is also a big part of your
oral health. There are toothbrushes that come in all different shapes and sizes and depending on the size, shape, and positioning of your teeth, there may be one that works best for you.
Your dentist and dental hygienist are there to help assist you in choosing the right tools to stay healthy. Be sure to ask at your next check-up so they can help you work through the options!