If you look at the range of toothpaste available at your local supermarket or chemist then it’s easy to become confused and overwhelmed by the choice. Should you go for fluoride toothpaste or perhaps something that offers tartar control, whatever that is? Even though the choice might seem bewildering it’s easy to narrow it down by considering your own oral health needs.
Checking the Ingredients of Your Toothpaste
The first thing to decide is whether you’d like to buy a paste, gel or powder toothpaste. Nowadays most of us will opt for a paste or gel. The next thing you can think about is the type of ingredients contained in your toothpaste. Some contain abrasives that can include silicates or calcium carbonate. These help remove some surface stains from your teeth so you might find them in whitening toothpaste, and they can remove bacteria and food particles. Toothpaste tends to contain some sort of substance such as glycerol to prevent gels and pastes from drying out, as well as thickening agents to give it the right consistency. If you’ve ever noticed your toothpaste foams up when you use it then this is because it contains detergent, for example sodium lauryl sulphate.
Fluoride Is Best
Whichever type of toothpaste you choose, it’s likely to contain fluoride. This is a very useful mineral that occurs naturally and which helps harden your teeth making them more resistant to tooth decay. Whenever you eat or drink something that contains sugars or starches then some of these remain in your teeth and will feed bacteria in your mouth. These bacteria create acid as a by-product that attacks your teeth, but fluoride helps protect your teeth from these acids. Fluoride is able to do this in two different ways as firstly it helps to strengthen your tooth enamel so it is less likely to be damaged by the acid, and secondly it can help reverse some of the damaged already caused by exposure to these acids. Using fluoride toothpaste is a very easy way to help boost your dental health.
What about Tartar Control Toothpaste?
Tartar control toothpastes are designed to help prevent plaque bacteria from building up on your teeth. If plaque is allowed to build up a quickly hardens into a substance called tartar which can only be removed by your dentist through scraping it away during a professional cleaning. Tartar control toothpastes contain various chemical compounds that have been proven to be effective in helping to prevent this build-up. In addition some also contain a substance called triclosan which helps to kill off some of the bacteria in your mouth.
Tooth Sensitivity? Pick Toothpaste Designed Especially to Help
Tooth sensitivity is a common problem and occurs when the enamel layer protecting your teeth becomes thinner. When this happens it can enable hot and cold substances to penetrate the enamel and the underlying dentine, creating sensitivity or even pain. Toothpaste for sensitive teeth works through blocking up any holes in your enamel and dentine so hot and cold substances can’t reach the nerves in your teeth. You do need to use these toothpastes for several weeks for them to take full effect.
These don’t usually contain bleach, but instead rely on abrasive particles to remove surface stains from teeth. They only have a limited effect, and you are probably better off using one of the many home teeth whitening kits that can safely lift the colour of your teeth by up to several shades.