A Guide to Toothpaste

What’s the best toothpaste to use? Why are some toothpastes more expensive than others? Does that mean that they will work better? Nowadays, you can buy whitening toothpastes. You can buy plaque-busting toothpastes? You can buy breath-freshening toothpastes. There are flouride toothpastes and ‘cavity control’ toothpastes. There are even special toothpastes for people with sensitive teeth.

Every toothpaste sounds like it might be worth trying. After all, we all want white teeth and fresher breath. And most of us will do anything we can to prevent cavities. But how do we know that we are not simply being seduced by clever marketing? We can’t use three or four different toothpastes every day! Yet at the same time, it doesn’t seem right to change the brand we use every time a new product, with an exciting new name, is launched.

If you want to know which toothpaste is the best to use, you need to start by discovering what is actually in them. Many customers are confused by all the different toothpastes available in high street stores. However, the fact is that many toothpastes have the same basic ingredients – the extra element that gives them a marketing spin is often simply an added twist to the same standard recipe.

Most recognised toothpaste brands are made using a similar basic formula. This will normally include flouride, which actively protects your teeth from decay. It will also usually include powdered calcium, which helps to strengthen teeth and to remove stains. On top of these two ingredients are others, such as flavouring and foaming agents.

Dental health experts agree that a toothpaste which follows this basic formula should be enough to keep your teeth healthy and free from decay. Of course, the toothpaste by itself is not enough – you have to put the effort in too! Dentists recommend brushing twice every day, using a flouride toothpaste, for at least two minutes.

Above and beyond this, the toothpaste you use will often simply be down to personal preference. Many adults, for example, choose a whitening toothpaste. However, you should speak to your dentist first. Some whitening toothpastes can be fairly abrasive and tough on the teeth, so they do more damage than good. Don’t forget, also, that everybody has different teeth. So a toothpaste that helps to whiten one person’s teeth may make no discernible difference whatsoever to another person’s.

There are also many brands on the market that claim to help remove stains caused by smoking. Once again, they do this by being particularly abrasive. Most dentist would recommend that, rather than changing your toothpaste, you should give up smoking. Alternatively, talk to your dentist about professional whitening techniques. They may be more expensive, but they will produce far more effective results than a toothpaste.

Some of the people who worry most about which toothpaste to use are parents. Many parents worry about flourosis. Flourosis affects children when their teeth are growing and it is caused by too much flouride in the diet. It leads to permanent discolouration of the teeth, although cases can range from barely noticeable to more severe discolouration.

The fear of flourosis compels many parents to questions whether a flouride-based toothpaste is right for their children. Once again, if you have concerns about the type of toothpaste your child needs, it is important that you speak to your dentist first. If your child has been visiting your dentist regularly, then your dentist will be best placed to spot signs of flourosis. They will be able to recommend the right type of toothpaste and to demonstrate how much you should use. For children, just a pea-sized amount of flouride toothpaste is the standard recommendation.

There are a vast range of other toothpastes available, to cater for different individual requirements. In most cases, however, you should always view changing your toothpaste within the broader context of your overall dental health and oral hygiene. For example, there are toothpastes for people with very sensitive teeth, which contain ingredients such as strontium or potassium chloride. While this type of toothpaste can help many people, you should still ensure that you visit your dentist to discover the cause of your sensitivity. While toothpaste might make it more bearable, your dentist may be able to identify the ultimate cause.