Do you ever walk down the dental care aisle of your local supermarket and stare blankly at rows and rows of toothpaste, all promising different results? With so many options, how on earth do you know which tube to put in your trolley? Here’s how to look beyond the marketing hype and ensure your teeth stay in mint condition.
What is toothpaste made of?
The basic ingredients in toothpaste include an abrasive filler (which polishes your teeth and dislodges particles of food caught between them), and fluoride (which protects the enamel on your teeth and prevents caries). These are bound together with different variations of thickeners, sweeteners, stabilisers, and flavours.
Types of toothpastes
Some of the main toothpaste categories include:
Transforming the colour of your teeth by choosing whitening toothpaste instead of regular toothpaste sounds almost too good to be true – and it is. Whitening toothpastes usually don’t contain any bleaching agents at all – instead they use abrasives or other additives to remove surface stains from the enamel layer of your teeth. If you have sensitive teeth you should steer clear of whitening toothpastes because they can wear down the enamel layer and exacerbate the issue.
Thinning enamel or receding gums can expose the nerve endings in your teeth, causing sensitivity to pressure or to hot or cold temperatures. Sensitive toothpaste uses potassium nitrate to soothe the nerves in your teeth and stannous fluoride to form a protective barrier over teeth that blocks triggers from reaching the nerves.
Nearly all toothpaste contains fluoride, and most dentists agree that brushing twice a day with fluoride toothpaste is the best way to prevent cavities. Anti-cavity toothpastes contain levels of fluoride that are higher than normal toothpastes, but unless your dentist advises you that you need higher-strength toothpaste most over-the-counter brands with the ADA seal of acceptance are fine. The NHS recommends toothpastes with 1350-1500ppm fluoride for adults and 1000ppm for children.
Be cautious of natural or herbal toothpastes that don’t contain fluoride – many have not been approved by professional dental organisations and some ‘natural’ ingredients such as lemon can be harmful to tooth enamel because of their high acidity. If you prefer to go for a greener dental care product, choose a brand that leaves out the commercial additives but still contains fluoride and other essential ingredients.
· Read the label to make sure your toothpaste contains fluoride.
· Avoid heavily sweetened toothpaste – many children’s toothpastes are very high in sugar, so check the label carefully.
· Don’t believe the hype – most supermarket brand toothpastes are just as effective as their more expensive counterparts and contain the same ingredients.
To keep your teeth in top condition, visit your dentist for regular checkups. Contact Blyton Dental today to schedule your next appointment.