Choosing a Toothpaste

Today we have so many choices when it comes to toothpaste. Paste, gel or powder; tartar control; whitening; sensitivity control … or all of the above. The following information may make your selection easier.

First of all, all toothpastes contain the same general components:

  • A mild abrasive to remove debris and surface stains
  • Humectants that prevent water loss and keep toothpaste from drying out or getting gummy
  • Flavoring agents
  • Thickening agents, or binders to stabilize the toothpaste formula
  • Detergent which provides foaming action and helps spread toothpaste through the whole mouth clean the teeth

Two of the best things you can do are to select a toothpaste that has the American Dental Association (ADA) seal of approval and which contains fluoride—at least 1,000 parts per million. Once you do that, everything else is a matter of personal preference.

Consider the following types of toothpastes, depending on your requirements:

  • Anti-cavity: Fluoride, nature’s cavity fighter, coats teeth and protects them from cavity-causing acids. Fluoridated toothpaste helps restore enamel that has not yet decayed.
  • Anti-gingivitis toothpaste helps reduce oral bacteria and can be very effective at stopping this mild form of gum disease.
  • Desensitizing: These toothpastes contain compounds that help block the transmission of sensation from the tooth surface to the nerve.
  • Tartar-control pastes prevent the buildup of new tartar.  Only a professional dental cleaning, however, will remove existing tartar and the bacteria it harbors. Look for ingredients like pyrophosphates or zinc citrate.
  • Whitening toothpastes contain polishing or chemical agents that remove surface stains. They can also help maintain the natural color of teeth.

A final tip: Try brushing and spitting—but not rinsing. This leaves fluoride behind and gives the toothpaste’s ingredients more time to work.

Brushing twice a day is great, but don’t forget your six-month dental checkups. Dr. Douglas Angell and the staff at Angell’s Dentistry are committed to helping you keep your mouth healthy. Give us a call to schedule an appointment and be sure to visit our website at:

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