Posts for tag: Toothpaste
In your search for the right toothpaste, you’re inundated with dozens of choices, each promising whiter teeth, fresher breath or fewer cavities. Cutting through the various marketing claims, though, you’ll find most toothpaste brands are surprisingly alike, each containing the same basic ingredients. Taken together, these ingredients help toothpaste perform its primary task — removing daily bacterial plaque from tooth surfaces.
Here, then, are some of the ingredients you’ll find — or want to find — in toothpaste.
Abrasives. A mild abrasive increases your brushing effectiveness removing sticky food remnants from teeth. And unlike the burnt, crushed eggshells of the ancient Egyptians or the brick dust used by 18th Century Brits, today’s toothpaste abrasives — hydrated silica (from sand), calcium carbonate or dicalcium phosphates — are much milder and friendlier to teeth.
Detergents. Some substances in plaque aren’t soluble, meaning they won’t break down in contact with water. Such substances require a detergent, also known as a surfactant. It performs a similar action as dishwashing or laundry soaps breaking down grease and stains — but the detergents used in toothpaste are much milder so as not to damage teeth or irritate gum tissues. The most common detergent, sodium lauryl sulfate, is gentle but effective for most people. If it does cause you irritation, however, you may want to look for a paste that doesn’t contain it.
Fluoride. This proven enamel strengthener has been routinely added to toothpaste since the 1950s, and is regarded as one of the most important defenses against tooth decay. If you’re checking ingredients labels, you’ll usually find it listed as sodium fluoride, stannous fluoride or sodium monofluorosphosphate (MFP). And since it inhibits bacterial growth, fluoride toothpastes don’t require preservative additives.
Humectants, binders and flavoring. Humectants help toothpaste retain moisture, while binders prevent blended ingredients from separating; without them your toothpaste would dry out quickly and require stirring before each use. And, without that sweet (though without added sugar) and normally mint flavoring, you wouldn’t find the average toothpaste very tasty.
The ADA Seal of Approval. Although not an ingredient, it’s still sound advice to look for it on toothpaste packaging. The seal indicates the product’s health claims and benefits are supported by the research standards set by the American Dental Society; and all ADA approved toothpastes will contain fluoride.
If you would like more information on toothpaste and other oral hygiene products, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Toothpaste: What’s in it?”
As with most of everything in the modern world, the staggering amount of choices can make something as simple as buying toothpaste downright overwhelming. Need to whiten your teeth a little bit (who doesn't?) There's a toothpaste for that! Have sensitive gums? There's another ten choices for that. Wear dentures? Looking to fight gingivitis? Perhaps all of the above? How do you know what type of toothpaste to choose, and how much of a difference does your choice really make in keeping your teeth and gums healthy?
The Do's and Don'ts of Buying Toothpaste
Because your teeth and gums are as unique as your skin, a good rule of thumb when trying to narrow down your choices is to start with the type that addresses your particular dental needs. And while it may be tempting for some to select a quirky brand made on an organic rooftop urban farm in Brooklyn or Portland and sold on Etsy, the experts advise consumers to always look for the ADA (American Dental Association) seal of approval to ensure that the product is both safe and effective.
Factors like gel vs. paste or peppermint flavor vs. cinnamon boil down to personal preferences. The best place to start is to ask the person who knows your dental needs as well as - or perhaps even better than you do - your dentist. Teeth whitening toothpastes and gels for example can help to remove surface stains and somewhat help to redeem your smile from the daily coffee or smoking habit, but they do contain abrasives which can also lead to sensitivity for some people. If sensitivity is already an issue with your teeth and gums, or you need more fluoride, ask your dentist whether an over the counter brand is sufficient, or if a prescription for a more specialized brand is necessary.
While the choice of toothpaste can make a difference depending on the person, it is only one factor in a healthy and well rounded oral hygiene routine. Regular flossing, proper brushing technique, and a healthy diet are also essential in avoiding common dental problems like cavities, gum disease, and even tooth loss.
Contact you family dentists Dr. John Murhpy and Dr. Patrick Murphy in Milton
In addition to daily brushing and flossing at home, regular professional teeth cleanings and check-ups are an essential part of maintaining healthy teeth and gums well into old age. To learn more about the best oral hygiene practices and to schedule an appointment with your Milton dentists Dr. John Murhpy and Dr. Patrick Murphy, contact the Murphy Dental Group, PLLC today at (617) 696-3900.