If you’ve walked into the health and beauty section of a supermarket or the local drug store lately, you’re likely to find more options for toothpaste than in any other part of the world. Whether you favor minty fresh or spicy cinnamon, there’s more to those tubes than meets the eye. How do you know how to pick the best toothpaste for you?
The main reason we use toothpaste is to help remove dental plaque. Some critics would argue you can do that with just a toothbrush alone. But most people opt for toothpaste and that’s where choices can get murky.
Toothpaste Options Vary Based On Need
Preventing tooth decay, fighting plaque or brightening your pearly whites are all factors that go into how consumers select toothpaste.
- In general, children need an anti-cavity toothpaste that will prevent tooth decay. That typically means some type of fluoride compounds are added. While naturalists like to point out the negatives of fluoride, most dentists agree the benefits of a fluoride toothpaste far outweigh negatives.
- Plaque-fighting or tartar control toothpaste helps stop the accumulation of plaque (which hardens into tartar) and reduces the bacteria associated with it. For many adults, this is a good option as accumulation of plaque can lead to so many other issues like gum disease and cavities.
- However, if you cringe when you take a sip of ice water or a hot cup of coffee, you likely have developed sensitive teeth. There are a number of toothpastes that can help with this condition. But, talk with your dentist before you switches toothpastes. There could be other dental-related issues that need to be addressed first. If the over-the-counter toothpaste doesn’t work, there are prescription toothpastes for sensitive teeth. Ask your dentist.
- Lots of people want to brighten up their smiles. Tooth whitening toothpastes have increased in popularity over the past few years. They use a mild abrasive to help scuff off years of stains from habits like coffee or tea drinking and smoking. Abrasives can also brush off plaque. Take care, though. Overuse of these types of toothpaste can cause your teeth to become more sensitive. Also, professional teeth whitening by your dentist will have greater, lasting impact.
What’s the ADA seal mean?
Sometimes consumers are so bombarded with packaging, they miss information that can be important. In the case of toothpaste, the American Dental Association (ADA) seal is an indication that whatever claims the manufacturer makes, they’ve had to submit supporting and accurate data to the ADA for review. You might still have to test several brands before you find what works best for you and your family, but the seal is positive reinforcement.
If you have any questions about finding the best toothpaste, Jones & Zirker Family Dentistry in Iowa City can help you make smart choices the next time you turn into the health and beauty aisle of the store.