A Guide for Choosing the Toothpaste for healthy and bright smile
If you want to improve your oral health you need to start by asking which toothpaste you should use for the best result, that is, ‘which is the best toothpaste in the market for me?’
The only problem is that the market is filled with all sorts of choices, there are tooth powders (red and white coloured one), toothpastes, herbal toothpastes, even Neem datuns (twigs), all claiming to brighten your smile.
Needless to say this over-information can confuse anyone.
Toothpaste is a paste or gel to be used with a toothbrush to maintain and improve oral health and aesthetics.
Since their introduction several thousand years ago, toothpaste formulations have evolved considerably – from suspensions of crushed egg shells or ashes to complex formulations with often more than 20 ingredients.
Among these can be compounds to combat dental caries, gum disease, malodor, calculus, erosion and dentin hypersensitivity.
Furthermore, toothpastes contain abrasives to clean and whiten teeth, flavors for the purpose of breath freshening and dyes for better visual appeal.
Benefits of Toothpaste
Dental Plaque is the primary cause of gum disease and cavities. If it is not consistently removed from the teeth, it can deposit onto your teeth and form calculus. Calculus (Tartar) creates an ideal environment for bacteria to grow. The best way to control plaque is by brushing your teeth. But how crucial is toothpaste to your oral hygiene routine?
From a truly practical standpoint, toothpaste is not necessary to effectively clean teeth. Using a soft-bristled brush and practicing proper brushing techniques is enough to remove the plaque from your teeth. Combined with regular flossing, limiting sugary food and drinks, and having routine dentist appointments, your teeth will stay clean and healthy.
So why do we use toothpaste? Because there are many benefits to using toothpaste, other than simply cleaning your teeth. Toothpaste aids in prevention against gingivitis and tooth decay, which leads to more severe dental issues.
- Toothpaste comes in many flavors and helps to leave your mouth and breath feeling fresh after brushing. It can also masks any smell from strong-flavored foods like garlic or onions.
- Most toothpastes contain fluoride, which many dental professionals agree that using fluoride can help prevent against cavities and keep tooth enamel strong by resisting early signs of tooth decay.
- Toothpaste has properties that help other dental problems like tooth sensitivity, teeth whitening, tooth decay, and gum disease.
How Does Toothpaste Work?
Toothpaste has come a long way from its Egyptian origins of rocks and vinegar. Modern toothpastes contain ingredients that help strengthen your tooth enamel and protect against dental problems. Regardless of what brand of toothpaste you buy, there are some ingredients that are standard in all non-organic brands that are responsible for keeping your smile looking bright and clean:
- Abrasives, like calcium carbonite, gently polish your teeth and clean bacterial film from your teeth and gums. They’re also responsible for dissolving stains from your teeth.
- Flavoring in toothpaste them taste and smell appealing. Flavors like mint and cinnamon are common, but some other flavors you can find are lemon and bubblegum.
- Thickening agents such as cellulose gum stabilize the toothpaste formula and and retain moisture so it stays on your toothbrush.
- Detergents are responsible for creating the foamy texture we associate with toothpaste. This foam helps dislodge food remains and plaque.
- Treatment Additives may be added to help prevent specific dental issues like cavity protection, tartar control, teeth whitening, and sensitive teeth.
If I were to name one ingredient which makes the toothpaste so beneficial then it would be Fluoride. It is the Fluoride which prevents cavities and makes our teeth strong. It also promotes remineralization, suppresses acid production.
There are two forms of fluoride that are commonly used in toothpastes:
- Sodium monofluorophosphate (most commonly used)
- Sodium fluoride
Most of the research has concluded that both work equally well.
Which Toothpaste Should You Use?
Alright, we now know that Fluoride is the most important ingredient and it is present in almost all toothpastes, and this should make our choice easy.
We can pick any toothpaste from the shelve as long as it contains the fluoride and we can not go wrong!
Yeah, it’s that easy. I know you may be feeling a little disappointed but the truth is all toothpaste are 99.9% similar. You can go for red or blue coloured one, choose Herbal or anticavity one as long as it contains Fluoride.
Do You mean All Toothpaste are Same?
No, there are certain categories of toothpastes which are prescribed to treat a particular condition or which market to niche population and hence shouldn’t be used by the general population. They are-
Anti-Sensitivity Toothpaste: These toothpastes are generally recommended by dentists for teeth sensitivity. The most common ingredient is Potassium Nitrate which decreases the fluid flow through the tubules by clogging them, decreases the level of activity of dental sensory nerves, and prevents or reduces the sensation signals from reaching the brain. These toothpastes should be used only with a prescription and its long term use is discouraged. One need not use it for more than 2-3 months.
- Herbal Toothpaste: These toothpastes brand themselves as close to nature and claim to contain ‘natural ingredients’. As a dentist, I don’t have any objection to their claim as long as they have fluoride in it. However, one needs to keep in mind that many herbal toothpastes don’t have fluoride and therefore is not the best choice for someone looking to protect their teeth and I don’t recommend them either.
- Teeth Whitening Toothpaste: A new type of toothpaste is getting very popular these days which claims to whiten the teeth. It’s mechanism of action is using abrasive particle to remove the top layer of the teeth thus making the teeth apparently whiter. The results, however, is not very encouraging. They hardly are able to make any significant colour changes to the teeth and may lead to tooth wear in the long term. Present teeth whitening toothpaste are not up to the mark so their use is discouraged.
- Tooth-Powder: Though it’s use is now declined in recent times there are still places, especially rural areas, where tooth powder is still used. To make long story short there’s simply no reason to use tooth power presently as they are very abrasive and wear the teeth, and better options are present in the market. Simply use regular toothpaste which gives better result and the price is also comparable.
The Importance of Professional Dental Cleanings
No matter what flavor toothpaste you prefer, good oral hygiene and regular dental care is the best way to keep your smile healthy and beautiful. You can remove most of the plaque from your teeth on your own, with a consistent oral hygiene routine, but professional cleanings are essential to rid your mouth of plaque (and perhaps tartar) that you can’t remove at home. Even after brushing with the best toothpaste and following all good oral hygiene measure there’s still a need for yearly professional teeth cleaning by the dentist. This simple oral health measure can improve your oral health and make your smile even more beautiful.