Using toothpaste daily to keep your teeth clean and healthy is the cheapest way to improve your smile. Depending on what your particular needs and preferences are, there is likely an oral hygiene product out on the market for you. It can be overwhelming when there are so many choices available, and the toothpaste you decide upon can have long-term effects on your mouth.
Gulf Coast Dental, your local family dentist, wants to make sure you understand the differences between each toothpaste and the impact they have on your oral hygiene. The decision will ultimately come down to the one that makes your teeth and mouth feel clean and fresh, but it is important to know how to get the most out of these inexpensive, over-the-counter (OTC) products.
Toothpaste is usually available in a gel or paste form, and most of them are made using similar ingredients.
These are some you may find in the label or description, no matter the type of toothpaste:
- Abrasive Silicate Agents, such as calcium carbonate, hydrated silica and hydrated alumina. Their scratchy texture helps clean your teeth by removing plaque, bacteria, food and anything else your saliva can’t break down on its own.
- Detergents, like sodium lauryl sulfate, that loosen other insoluble substances by foaming to remove them from your teeth.
- Artificial sweeteners, like saccharin, so it has a better flavor, making brushing more enjoyable.
- Thickening agents, like gums and seaweed molecules, to give it the right gooey texture.
- Gel or paste Humectants, like glycerol, that hold moisture, keeping it — and your mouth — from drying out.
Recently, toothpastes are being released that contain more natural ingredients, like aloe vera or charcoal, which are not as beneficial. Although aloe vera has not been proven to be any more effective at fighting gingivitis and plaque, these toothpastes often lack fluoride. And despite charcoal’s extra level of abrasiveness, it does not provide extra whitening power, but can actually increase sensitivity by damaging the layer of enamel on your teeth.
Types Of Toothpaste
The most important ingredient in toothpaste is fluoride, a naturally occurring mineral. It is the main reason that cavities and tooth decay have reduced over the last 50 years.
Acid is released in your mouth when bacteria feed on starches and sugar left on your teeth after you eat. To decrease acid damage, fluoride strengthens tooth enamel and remineralizes areas that have slightly begun to decay. Brushing with fluoride toothpaste protects your teeth from cracking and chipping, especially when used after consuming coffee, tea, wine, sugary drinks and smoking.
Toothpaste with a lot of abrasive silicates or polishing chemicals is meant to remove stains from the surface of your teeth. They don’t usually contain bleaches and are regularly marketed for everyday use by people who want to make their yellow teeth look more white.
When plaque builds up on teeth from bacteria and is not removed, it hardens and becomes tartar. This deposit is difficult to remove and can cause gum disease once it collects on teeth and under gums.
To prevent this buildup, zinc citrate, pyrophosphates, triclosan, anti-plaque agents and a lot of fluoride are added to toothpastes that control tartar and bacteria levels in your mouth.
For Sensitive Teeth
People whose teeth are irritated by cold or hot temperatures have sensitive teeth. Toothpaste with potassium nitrate or strontium chloride are designed to block the pathways to nerves in your teeth to reduce sensitivity.
Depending on the level of your discomfort, OTC toothpastes can take up to four weeks for these compounds to provide relief. If those don’t work, talk to your dentist about prescription-strength options.
Gulf Coast Family Dentist
If you still aren’t sure which toothpaste is best for you, give us a call! Since 1969, Gulf Coast Dental Care has provided the best personalized dental care to residents of Gulfport, Mississippi with early detection of issues, precise treatment and customized restorations. Practicing good dental hygiene habits at home keeps your teeth healthy, functional and attractive, while avoiding expensive procedures later in life.
Contact us today for tips, to set up an oral hygiene appointment or to learn about our services and state-of-the-art treatment technologies!