Most of us start and end our day by brushing our teeth—it’s a simple-yet-important ritual that ensures a healthy mouth and an attractive smile. Because it’s so engrained in our daily lives, we develop allegiances to toothpastes. Different brands and flavors take on special significances and we often think of them as extensions of our personalities.
But how do you know if you’re using the right toothpaste? With so many variations, the kind you’ve been using for so many years might not be appropriate.
The Different Types of Toothpaste
Most toothpastes have a few ingredients in common: mild abrasives that remove damaging material from your teeth. Examples of these include calcium carbonate, magnesium carbonate and silicates. They also contain fluoride meant to strengthen the enamel of your teeth and prevent tooth decay.
– Tartar control toothpaste focuses on the fundamental care for your teeth. Without proper removal, the bacteria known as plaque builds up on teeth, and when it hardens, it turns into tartar. When tartar occurs, it becomes difficult to remove and can build up under your gums, causing gingivitis.
Tartar control toothpastes contain chemical compounds (like pyrophosphates) that have proven effective in removing plaque. Some brands may also contain an antibacterial called triclosan that further kills gingivitis-causing bacteria.
– Whitening toothpaste has become very popular. With an increased obsession with the “movie star” smile, our culture continues to seek out procedures and regimens that brighten teeth—whitening strips and clinical whitening have become commonplace.
It’s not a surprise that toothpastes have caught onto the trend; most brands now offer whitening toothpaste. Perhaps contrary to popular belief, these types do not contain bleach (“teeth bleaching” is a common phrase for clinical whitening). Rather, whitening toothpastes contain highly abrasive ingredients that effectively scrub the surface enamel, or bond with stains to pull them off the teeth.
– Toothpaste for sensitive teeth is helpful for people who experience discomfort while brushing teeth, or when eating hot/cold foods. There are many causes of sensitive teeth, including grinding teeth while sleeping, tooth decay, cracks in the enamel, and receding gum lines have been known to cause hypersensitivity.
Toothpaste for sensitive teeth works by utilizing the chemical compounds potassium nitrate or strontium chloride, which help block the pathways that attach the nerves to the teeth. It may take up to four weeks for this type of toothpaste to begin working, but it for those who suffer discomfort, the wait is worth it.
Next time you’re shopping for toothpaste, remember that your current brand may not be fulfilling the task that you need it to. Most importantly, you should never purchase a toothpaste that is not ADA-approved.
Visit Enchanting Dentistry Today
Drs. Annette Middelhof are experienced dentists in Plantation who can help you make the right choices for your oral health. If you’re curious about what toothpaste is best for you, or if you want to schedule a dental exam, contact Enchanting Dentistry today at 954-336-8478.