Toothpaste is a regular part of just about everyone’s life, from the time we are small children, all the way through our teen years and adulthood. Most of us tend to have our favourites and stick to them, but that doesn’t mean the toothpaste you use is the right choice for you. There’s a lot more to choosing the right toothpaste than grabbing whichever one happens to be on sale that week. If you want to use a toothpaste that has the biggest impact on your oral health, then it’s a good idea to learn as much as possible about all your options.
Do I Need A Fluoride Toothpaste?
Dentists recommend using a fluoride toothpaste because it is good for overall preventative dental care. Fluoride is a mineral that naturally occurs in things like:
- Certain foods
Fluoride has been shown to strengthen developing tooth enamel in children, and it also slows the acid-producing capabilities of plaque, protecting your teeth from decay. Fluoride is also good at protecting your teeth against demineralization, which is when sugar and bacteria combine to create acid that erodes your teeth. On the other side of that, it also promotes remineralization by bringing calcium and phosphate ions to the tooth.
Fluoride is generally considered safe, but it can pose serious health risks when ingested in larger quantities. For children, it’s recommended that they always use only a pea-sized amount of toothpaste to help prevent ingesting too much.
Do I Need Fluoride Toothpaste If My Water Has Added Fluoride?
It’s common for municipal water supplies to have added fluoride to help provide its benefits to everyone in the community. These levels are typically quite low, with the goal being to keep lower levels of fluoride in the saliva to help combat plaque during the day. If your municipality adds fluoride to the water, it’s still a good idea to use a fluoride toothpaste for even greater protection.
Does Sensitive Teeth Toothpaste Really Work?
If you have sensitive teeth, you’ve likely noticed a wide range of different sensitive teeth toothpastes in stores. You may even have tried one or two to help relieve your tooth sensitivity. Many people report finding relief when using sensitive teeth toothpaste on a regular basis, making it easier to enjoy their favourite foods without discomfort. There are three specific active ingredients in most sensitive teeth toothpaste, including:
- Stannous fluoride
- Potassium nitrate
- Strontium chloride
These ingredients work by helping to calm the nerves in your teeth, which desensitizes them to triggers like cold, heat, sugar, and others. Over the course of several days or weeks, you’ll be able to increase resistance to your sensitivity triggers, but you’ll usually have to keep using the toothpaste to get the results you want.
What To Consider When Choosing The Right Toothpaste
If you want to give yourself the best chance at pristine oral health, choosing the right toothpaste is a good place to start. Your dentist will be able to help you decide on the right choice for your teeth, but for a general guideline here are a handful of tips to consider:
Is your toothpaste approved by the Canadian Dental Association?
You should really only consider using toothpastes that have been approved by the Canadian Dental Association.
Does the toothpaste contain fluoride?
As mentioned above, toothpastes that contain fluoride will provide you with benefits to prevent bacteria and other issues from causing problems with your teeth.
What are your goals for the toothpaste?
There is a range of toothpastes that are designed to achieve specific goals, such as tartar control, desensitizing, gingivitis control, general cleaning, or tooth whitening. Find a type of toothpaste that meets your needs before making your purchase.
What are the ingredients?
It’s challenging to decipher all of the ingredients on a standard toothpaste tube, but it’s still a good idea to be able to identify a few of the most common ingredients. These include sodium lauryl sulfate, stannous fluoride, triclosan, and xylitol.
Does it appeal to you?
Choosing a toothpaste that has an appealing flavour and texture will encourage you to brush your teeth more often. This is especially true when it comes to children. If you’re less inclined to brush your teeth because you don’t like your toothpaste, you’ll increase the likelihood of having future dental issues that require treatment.
What Is Tooth Powder?
If you have been using regular toothpaste throughout your life, you may not even have heard of tooth powder, but it is a viable alternative that more and more people are starting to use. Basically, tooth powder is just powdered toothpaste. It has similar ingredients to regular toothpaste, but they have been dried out and mixed into a powdered form. In some cases, a company will reshape tooth powder into tablets for less waste and mess, and you can find enjoyable flavours such as mint that are similar to regular toothpaste.
Many tooth powders also contain fluoride, so if you’re considering switching from regular toothpaste, make sure the tooth powder you’re considering has fluoride to maintain your oral health. Using tooth powder is relatively simple. All you have to do is run the bristles of your toothbrush underwater, shake some powder over them, and then brush your teeth like normal.
There will likely always be a debate over which type of toothpaste is best, so it’s a good idea to take any information you find with a grain of salt. Make sure to do your due diligence if you’re thinking of switching from your regular toothpaste, and always take the time to consult with your dentist before making any decisions about your oral health. And as always, remember that consistency is the key to keeping your teeth free from bacteria and plaque, and avoiding unnecessary trips to the dentist for treatment that is easily preventable.