With so many brands, varieties, and flavors of toothpaste, it can be difficult to know if you’re choosing what’s right for you. The truth is, there are a lot of factors that determine the type of toothpaste which will serve your smile best. Don’t go down the toothpaste aisle blind. With this guide to toothpaste, you will have the toothpaste savvy to choose the product that will do the most for your pearly whites.
What to Look For
There can be a lot to look at on the brightly colored toothpaste packaging, so it’s important to be sure you’re paying attention to what really counts.
- ADA Approval – The first thing to look for on any tube of toothpaste is an American Dental Association seal of approval. This seal means that the toothpaste has been evaluated by a board of dental health experts for optimal effectiveness and safety. If a toothpaste cannot boast this seal, no miraculous effects it can promise are worth the risk.
- Where was it manufactured? – In 2007, some toothpaste imported from China was found to contain a toxic chemical known as diethylene glycol. To avoid choosing a toothpaste that contains this or other toxic substances, the FDA suggests seeking out toothpaste manufactured here in the U.S.
- Fluoride Concentration– Fluoride is a natural mineral that helps to prevent tooth decay by strengthening tooth enamel. This is an important element in any effective toothpaste. An ADA seal of approval guarantees that a toothpaste contains fluoride, but concentrations vary based upon the brand and type of toothpaste. Low levels of fluoride will be ineffective and excessive levels can be damaging to younger teeth. This is why it is important to use children’s’ and adults’ toothpaste as is age appropriate.
What Are Your Options?
There are numerous types of toothpastes that are intended to satisfy specific dental health needs; however, not all types are created equally. It is important to realize the pros and cons of each type of toothpaste before making your decision.
- Whitening Toothpaste – Whitening toothpastes contain peroxide or other abrasive materials that are meant to gently scrub stains from the surfaces of your teeth. Although these toothpastes can provide a cosmetic solution, they are generally less effective at combating underlying oral health issues and can lead to sensitivity.
- Tartar Control Toothpaste – Tartar is excess plaque and has hardened and built up on the surfaces of your teeth and gums, which can lead to gum disease. Tartar control toothpastes are a good way to prevent this issue from occurring, but not necessarily to deal with an existing issue with tartar buildup. It is also important to note that tartar control toothpaste is intended to prevent tartar formation on the tooth surfaces, but does not target tartar on gums surfaces.
- Children’s Toothpaste – It is important for toothpaste to be age appropriate for all members of your family. Toddlers should begin with training toothpaste that is safe to swallow and bigger kids can move on to children’s toothpaste. These toothpastes have lower fluoride concentrations and come in flavors that are more appealing to little ones.
- Sensitivity Toothpaste – This is a good option for those who experience sharp pain when consuming extremely cold or hot foods and drinks. The active ingredients in sensitivity toothpastes help to reduce this sensitivity by desensitizing nerve endings. These toothpastes are less abrasive, but can take up to 4 weeks to truly take effect.
- Baking Soda Toothpastes – Baking soda based toothpastes and other natural toothpaste varieties tend to leave out some of the harsher chemicals found in other toothpastes. These offer a different flavor than the popular mint varieties and can provide relief for those who suffer from gum pain and irritation.