Scenario time: you’re in the grocery store, and you need to buy toothpaste. You turn down the aisle and are met by countless choices – what do you pick? A lot of us settle on one particular type of toothpaste and stick with it, but is it really your best choice? How do you sort out all that crap on the packages? Is any of it even true?
These are common questions we hear at our Rochester offices, and it makes sense to us – there are simply too many toothpaste choices out there for things to be easy! When it’s time to pick a new brand, or reassess your long-term commitment to any particular kind of toothpaste, it’s easy to get confused.
That’s where we come in: we’re going to give you the straight facts on toothpaste and how to pick the right one for you and your family.
What’s In Your Tube?
Whether it’s minty, fruity, or tastes like bubble gum, toothpaste is something you use every day. But why do we use toothpaste, exactly, and what makes it work?
There are some basic elements to toothpaste that are shared by most every brand out there: abrasive compounds to scrub away bacteria and food particles, fluoride to protect your teeth, and a detergent to foam it up and ensure even distribution.
Those abrasive compounds are the core of what toothpaste is and why it works: along with a brush it scrubs away the stuff that causes oral health problems. Specifically, bacteria. Getting rid of food particles is important too, but without an excess of bacteria in your mouth food can’t do very much damage.
Fluoride is present in most every brand because it’s a proven tooth protectant and restorative. And yes, it’s completely safe in the quantities you get while brushing. Fluoride remineralizes your teeth, replacing lost enamel and helping them stay healthy.
But what about those other kinds of toothpastes? There are tons of different varieties out there, and some of their claims can be a bit far-fetched.
- Whitening toothpastes are designed to get rid of staining particles and brighten up your smile. Whether the really work is up for debate, but continued use of whitening toothpaste can prevent new stains from forming. At the very least you’ll be maintaining your current shade, which is definitely a plus! Real whitening, of course, requires specialty teeth whitening products like the kind we offer at Northwest Dental Group.
- Antibacterial and antimicrobial toothpastes often contain triclosan, which is great at managing bacteria levels. It’s still not enough to keep your smile 100 percent problem-free, but it can definitely help manage gum disease!
- Tartar control toothpastes purport to remove tartar from teeth, but there’s not really a good way for them to do that. Tartar is a hardened layer of plaque bacteria that can really only be removed at the dentist. Nonetheless, tartar control pastes can prevent the spread and formation of new tartar, so they aren’t a bad idea.
- Sensitive tooth formulas are a good idea for patients who deal with tooth discomfort and pain. A toothache always needs to be professionally investigated, but regular use of sensitivity toothpaste can reduce the amount of pain you experience.
Choosing The Right Product: It’s Your Call!
When it boils down to it, your toothpaste choices are yours to make. Most are going to provide plenty of benefit, and any additional qualities are up to you to decide on. Make sure you consider the needs of other people in your home – they have to use the same toothpaste too!
On another note, be sure that whatever toothpaste you choose has the American Dental Association seal of approval. Being sure that the ADA guidelines are met by your choice product is important!
Complete Dental Health Requires More Than Brushing
A healthy smile doesn’t come naturally, and you need to be constantly working on the state of your teeth to keep them in tip-top shape. That means brushing twice a day, flossing every night, and seeing us twice a year for a cleaning and exam. Only when all three of those requirements are met can you be sure of a life of healthy teeth and gums.
Don’t let your smile fall to trouble – it’s within your control to keep it healthy! Give Northwest Dental Group a call to schedule an appointment today! You can reach both of our Rochester offices by calling 507-315-2932, and you can also schedule an appointment online. We look forward to seeing you and your family soon!