Choosing the Perfect Toothpaste
Brushing your teeth with toothpaste is a very important part of a dental hygiene regimen. However, there’s hardly a “just plain toothpaste” option that you can buy at the grocery store. Toothpastes are made with extra fluoride, baking soda, and other ingredients to help polish up your smile. With all of the choices out there, how can you know what toothpaste will work best for your teeth?
Toothpaste, along with the circular motion that dentists recommend you should move your toothbrush in, works to remove the buildup of plaque that forms on the surface of your teeth. The bacteria that makes up the plaque promotes gum disease, cavities, and tooth decay. Also, fluoride in the toothpaste helps protect your teeth from future bacterial attacks by making it stronger. Cosmetically, toothpaste polishes your teeth, leading to a sparkly white smile, and cleans the mouth, giving you fresh breath.
Fluoride is a common ingredient in toothpaste, although you can find toothpaste that does not contain the mineral. While it can help strengthen your teeth, fluoride is also poisonous if swallowed in large amounts. Also, too much toothpaste can lead to your teeth having a streaky appearance. Therefore, it can be a good idea to find a toothpaste that as a moderate amount of fluoride.
Toothpastes that tout themselves as extra plaque protection or extended tartar control usually contain chemical compounds such as pyrophosphates and zinc citrate that prevent the buildup of bacteria on your teeth throughout the day. Triclosan, an antibacterial also present in some face washes, is added to some toothpastes to kill any bacteria that might try to live on your teeth.
If you want to feel confident about flashing your pearly whites, you may choose a whitening toothpaste to keep your chompers in tip-top shape. Whitening toothpastes can help remove stains on your teeth by utilizing either abrasive compounds, chemicals, or a combination of the two. A common whitening ingredient in toothpaste is baking soda. Also, keep in mind that the polishers don’t usually have bleach, or sanding materials that are more abrasive than normal non-whiteners.
Some people have problems with extra-sensitive teeth. It hurts them to eat overly hot or cold foods, and sometimes their teeth are sensitive to touch. There are certain toothpastes that are marketed for these easily irritated teeth that contain ingredients that help desensitize teeth, such as potassium nitrate and strontium chloride. The chemicals help reduce the pain by blocking nerve passageways. Don’t expect instant results, though; some take several weeks to affect your teeth enough for you to notice.
As always, it is a good idea to American Dental Association-approved toothpastes. Keep in mind that the ADA only approves toothpaste with fluoride, so if you are looking for a fluoride-free paste, you need to be extra careful in choosing a legitimately beneficial toothpaste.
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