The typical pharmacy or grocery store has an entire aisle filled with oral care products including a dizzying array of toothpastes that come in all types of variations and flavors making choosing the right type difficult to do. Here are some toothpaste shopping tips designed to make it easier to select the right type of toothpaste for you and your family.
The Basic Facts about Different Toothpaste Types
Generally speaking, toothpaste is available in paste, gel and powdered form. Even though these toothpastes are different, they do share some common ingredients including:
- Abrasive agents – Abrasive agents such as calcium carbonate and silicates are put into toothpaste to help remove food, bacteria and some stains from your teeth.
- Flavorings – It is common for toothpastes to include flavoring to make them taste better. These flavorings typically consist of artificial sweeteners including saccharin that come in a variety of flavors ranging from bubble-gum flavors for kids to fruit flavors and different types of mint.
- Fluoride – Fluoride is one of the most important ingredients to look for when choosing a toothpaste. It is a naturally occurring mineral that protects the teeth from tooth decay. Fluoride not only makes the enamel on teeth stronger to ward off acid damage, but it also re-mineralizes areas on the teeth that have started to decay.
Look for ADA-Approved Toothpaste
A good rule of thumb is to buy toothpaste that carries the American Dental Association’s seal of approval. This signifies that the toothpaste is safe and effective to use.
There are several types of special toothpastes on the market including:
- Toothpastes for Sensitive Teeth – This type of toothpaste is designed for people who have sensitive teeth. For instance, if your teeth are sensitive to heat or cold, this toothpaste decreases tooth sensitivity by blocking pathways through the teeth that attach to nerves inside the teeth.
- Whitening Toothpaste – Whitening toothpastes are designed to remove stains and discoloration from the surface of the teeth to make the teeth whiter in appearance. Instead of containing bleach, whitening toothpastes contain abrasive particles or chemicals that help remove stains.
- Tartar Control Toothpaste – Tartar control toothpastes are designed to loosen and remove harmful plaque from the teeth. If plaque is left on the teeth, it hardens into tartar, which is a very difficult-to-remove deposit that builds up on the teeth and under the gum line, which eventually leads to gum disease. Tartar control toothpastes contain chemical compounds such as phosphates and zinc citrate that work to remove plaque before it has a chance to develop into tartar.
In the end, if you cannot decide what type of toothpaste to buy, consult with your family dentist or orthodontist. Your dentist or orthodontist can help you choose the right type of toothpaste to buy based on your overall oral health and special needs.