Every time you go to your local drugstore or discount retailer, you’re faced with the same decision: Which toothpaste is right for you? The television commercials have caused concern. Should you be worried about enamel loss? Is tartar control an issue? What about whitening? The truth is, at Reston Serenity Smiles, we’re just happy that you put this much thought into your dental health. To make your retail decisions easier — at least when it comes to toothpaste — we offer the following breakdown of the most common types of toothpaste.
The Nitty Gritty
With very few exceptions, all toothpastes have the following ingredients: abrasive agents that help remove bacteria from your teeth, flavoring (which may include artificial sweeteners), humectants that prevent your toothpaste from drying out, thickeners that help the toothpaste hold its form, detergents that make your toothpaste foamy, and, in most cases, fluoride that helps prevent tooth decay.
What’s Really Important
Fluoride, a mineral that occurs naturally, is the most important toothpaste ingredient by far. It protects your teeth from plaque, strengthens your tooth enamel, and reverses damage caused by acids. Even if your water is fluoridated, brushing with fluoride toothpaste is the best way to protect your teeth against decay.
Take a look at the toothpaste section in your favorite grocery or discount retailer and you’ll be overwhelmed by the number of options. Here are just a few you might consider:
- Whitening Toothpaste — Unlike the whitening products used by a dentist, whitening toothpaste does not contain bleaching agents; instead, it uses abrasives that polish the teeth, making them appear whiter.
- Tartar Control Toothpaste — When plaque is not removed from your teeth, it hardens into tartar, which is ultimately what leads to gum disease. Tartar control toothpaste uses safe chemical compounds that prevent the buildup of tartar and, in some cases, antibiotics that fight bacteria.
- Toothpaste for Sensitive Teeth — This type of toothpaste works wonders for those who are sensitive to heat, cold, or even sweets. While it can take up to four weeks to completely desensitize teeth, it effectively protects the dentin beneath the tooth enamel that, when exposed, leads to sensitivity.
Ultimately, the right type of toothpaste is the one you’ll actually use. As long as it has fluoride and is approved by the American Dental Association, you can’t go wrong. If you live in Reston, Virginia, and want to be sure your teeth are properly cared for, contact our office today to schedule an appointment. We look forward to seeing your smile!