Extra whitening. Breath freshening. Activated charcoal. Baking soda and fizzing peroxide action. All-natural. Sensitive teeth. Prescription-strength. Cinnamon. Strawberry. Spearmint. Wintermint. Mango. Minty Blast Explosion.
Choosing a toothpaste shouldn’t be difficult, but often having too many options is just plain confusing. So how do you choose the best toothpaste from the dozens of brands, flavors, and dazzling smile promises on your local drugstore shelves? Use our simple guide to help you avoid the gimmicks and zero in on what you really need for a clean and healthy smile!
What To Look For in Toothpaste
The fact is, most toothpaste is just marketing. There’s no significant difference between most drugstore names aside from flavor and branding.
However, the most important thing to look for in a toothpaste is fluoride. We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again—fluoride is your friend. The American Dental Association even requires the inclusion of fluoride in any toothpaste receiving the ADA Seal of Acceptance.
Fluoride fights back when acids from plaque bacteria and sugars in the mouth attack the tooth enamel. It prevents cavities by remineralizing and strengthening tooth enamel, helping neutralize the acid that causes tooth decay.
Mineral loss is inevitable and occurs every time we eat, no matter what we eat. Just a small amount of fluoride in your toothpaste makes a world of difference in replenishing minerals and making the teeth more resistant to future attacks. Always choose a toothpaste that includes fluoride.
Stay away from toothpastes advertised as “whitening.” Occasional use of these products is okay, as they may reduce surface staining on your teeth. But whitening pastes are far more abrasive than regular toothpastes, and they can prematurely wear down your teeth with daily use. For example, activated charcoal is a trendy but abrasive whitening agent that may cause damage when used frequently.
Products that include extra breath-freshening components may make you feel more confident during up-close conversations, but they don’t provide additional antibacterial properties. Fluoride still does the heavy lifting. But if you enjoy the super zing of extra freshening toothpaste, go for it!
How Do I Know What Type of Toothpaste To Get?
Some of our patients’ teeth need a bit more than a standard drugstore toothpaste can provide. Several specialized toothpastes are available over the counter, while others require a prescription. Talk to Dr. Bass if you think you might benefit from a prescription toothpaste.
Patients with sensitive teeth may choose a product like Sensodyne or another sensitivity-reducing brand. These products contain ingredients like potassium nitrate or stannous fluoride, both of which help gently and safely desensitize teeth while brushing.
A product like MI Paste can help patients with sensitive teeth and provide additional calcium and phosphate to better remineralize and strengthen teeth.
Your dentist may prescribe a supercharged fluoride toothpaste if needed to stop the progression of cavities. Regular drugstore varieties contain a fluoride concentration of about 1000-1500 ppm (parts per million), while prescription fluoride toothpaste is concentrated at a much higher 5000 ppm. Well-known brands like Prevident can be used as either a toothpaste or as an overnight topical treatment when applied with dental trays.
Dr. Bass will provide advice and instructions if you need a prescription or a prescription-strength over-the-counter toothpaste.
Is It All About Toothpaste?
In dental health, it’s never about just one thing. Choosing the right fluoride-based toothpaste is important, but so is brushing your teeth twice a day, flossing, and visiting the dentist on a regular basis.
Despite doing our best, we all make some mistakes with our teeth. Brushing too hard or too long can cause gum recession and sensitive teeth. Not brushing long enough means you might miss acid-causing food particles and bacteria—a full 2 minutes of gentle brushing with a soft brush is recommended.
Choosing the right toothpaste doesn’t need to be intimidating! Just be sure to select a brand with fluoride and a flavor (or non-flavor) that you enjoy.
Ask us about toothpaste at your next appointment. We’re happy to help you decide what’s right for you, whether it’s old-school Crest or a fluoride-packed prescription brand. Book online or give us a call at 704.864.9949 to set up an appointment today!
If dental health is important to you and your family, take steps to know how to keep your gums healthy. Gum health is essential to maintaining healthy teeth and overall good dental hygiene. Brush and floss multiple times per day, avoid tobacco products, and use a therapeutic mouthwash.
If you want to know more about maintaining a healthy smile, book an appointment today with Bass Dentistry.