The choice of toothpaste can often seem bewildering,and most people have a favorite or choose the brand that's on special offer. However this may not necessarily be the best choice, as certain types of toothpastes are formulated to help certain kinds of oral health requirements. In addition toothpastes come in a number of different formulations including gel, paste and powder, but most will have at least some ingredients in common. These ingredients include:
Artificial flavoring or sweetener to help make the toothpaste taste better. The majority of toothpastes are mint flavored, but it is possible to buy other flavors that may be more to your liking, or which are designed to appeal to younger members of the family.
Abrasive agents designed to help remove surface stains, excess food particles and plaque bacteria from the teeth.
Agents to help the paste or gel stay moist.
Thickening agents to give the toothpaste the right texture.
Detergent to produce the foaming effect you get when cleaning your teeth.
Toothpastes are formulated for particular oral health needs and include:
Fluoride toothpastes are perhaps the most commonly used as this naturally occurring mineral is well known for its abilities to help harden the teeth and to protect them against the acids produced by plaque bacteria. Using fluoride toothpaste is the easiest way to help give your teeth and little bit of extra protection, as the fluoride ions will remain in your saliva for quite a while after brushing.
Tartar control toothpastes tend to contain certain anti-plaque agents such as zinc citrate and pyrophosphate to help control tartar buildup, and most also contain fluoride. Tartar is hardened plaque bacteria, and is formed within 24 hours if plaque bacteria on properly removed. This layer can only be removed during a professional dental cleaning as it has to be scraped away. The problem with Tartar is that it can irritate and inflame the gums, increasing the risk of disease.
Tooth whitening toothpaste contains certain chemicals and mild abrasives designed to help remove surface stains. Most tooth whitening toothpastes are extremely gentle and are designed to be used every day, but won't give particularly dramatic effects.
Toothpaste for sensitive teeth is a good choice for anyone who finds it painful or uncomfortable when eating hot and cold foods. Tooth sensitivity occurs when the enamel is worn away or damaged and the dentin layer is exposed. The dentin is full of lots of tiny tubules that lead to the center of the tooth called the pulp. The pulp contains all the nerves of the tooth, so when it's exposed to hot or cold substances it responds by producing pain.
A lot of toothpastes are designed to do more than one job, so for instance you might find whitening toothpaste for sensitive teeth. Whenever you choose toothpaste it's best to look for one that has been endorsed by the American Dental Association as it will have been thoroughly tested for safety and effectiveness.