From whitening to relief from sensitive teeth, toothpastes offer a confusing array of benefits. With so much choice available, it can be difficult to know which toothpaste is right for you. Use this information to cut through the confusion and learn about the ingredients that are in your toothpaste.
Fluoride is a natural mineral that helps to strengthen teeth against decay. According to Australian guidelines, adults should brush with a toothpaste that contains fluoride every day to protect their teeth. Most mainstream toothpastes marketed to adults contain fluoride.
Despite its benefits for teeth, fluoride can be harmful if you swallow large amounts of it. That’s why you should always spit out toothpaste after brushing. Young children often swallow toothpaste instead of spitting it out, so the recommendation is to use only a pea-sized blob of low-fluoride toothpaste to clean the teeth of children aged up to six.
Certain brands of toothpaste contain triclosan, a chemical that kills oral bacteria. Studies show that using a toothpaste that contains triclosan reduces swelling in the gums (gingivitis) and helps to prevent plaque build-up on the teeth. If your dentist notices that you have signs of gum disease, they might suggest you use a toothpaste that contains triclosan.
On the other hand, many people avoid triclosan because animal studies suggest it can cause thyroid problems. Research is still ongoing into the risks, but most dentists agree that the small amounts of triclosan in toothpaste are probably safe.
If you are not sure whether triclosan is necessary or safe for you to use, ask your dentist for advice. Dentists can also give general advice to help you prevent gum disease, such as showing you the correct flossing technique to remove plaque.
Most whitening toothpastes contain mildly abrasive ingredients, such as calcium carbonate or magnesium carbonate. These ingredients scrub against your teeth as you brush, dislodging the stains and therefore gradually whitening your smile.
Some toothpastes also contain bleaching agents, such as hydrogen peroxide, which is the chemical dentists use to remove stains during professional teeth whitening procedures. Toothpastes that contain hydrogen peroxide are safe for most people to use, but they sometimes cause sensitive teeth.
Instead of hydrogen peroxide, some toothpastes contain carbamide peroxide. This ingredient breaks down into hydrogen peroxide, so it has the same effects as toothpastes that contain that ingredient.
You will probably have to use a whitening toothpaste for several weeks before you can clearly see the effects. If you are looking for a faster way to get a whiter smile, ask your dentist about professional teeth whitening treatments, which can produce an instantly noticeable effect.
If you have sensitive teeth, look for a toothpaste that contains potassium nitrate. This ingredient blocks tiny openings in your teeth, protecting the nerve inside the tooth from painful stimuli, such as hot drinks or ice cream.
Sensitive teeth can be a sign that your tooth enamel has been worn down, which means that it is not thick enough to properly protect the inner parts of your teeth. Grinding your teeth can wear away enamel and so can the acids found in some foods and drinks.
As well as using a sensitivity relief toothpaste, it is a good idea to see your dentist to find out what is causing your sensitive teeth and get appropriate treatment.
How to Find the Right Toothpaste for You
If you are still not sure which toothpaste you should buy and use, contact Dental Smile Clinic today. During a check-up with one of our friendly dentists, you can find out about your particular dental needs and get advice about which toothpaste is right for you.