We know the feeling.
Staring at the toothpaste selection on the supermarket or pharmacy shelves in complete bafflement. So many functions, packages, added extras- who’s to know whether you need advanced cleaning, breath defense, high fluoride or whitening? And if so, do you need Truly Radiant White, Max White or White Glo…how white really is ‘Max White’?
With so many adverts, brands and purposes, as well as dentists recommending different preferred brands, buying toothpaste these days can be as baffling as buying car insurance!
Our advice with toothpaste is always to start with your personal needs. Remember, toothpaste’s primary function is to clean your teeth and help maintain great oral health. Try not to get distracted by flashy packaging or adverts and stick to what you need most for your oral health.
Want a brighter smile? (Does whitening toothpaste really work?)
Often the easiest and cheapest way to lighten your teeth is a whitening paste, containing peroxide. Just remember that there is only so much a toothpaste can help you with whitening. It is highly unlikely you will ever achieve the results that professional tooth whitening can give you. However, whitening paste has its place and can be very helpful and can effectively remove stains from enamel, therefore helping you maintain results following a course of teeth whitening treatment.
Plaque control (And the ‘fluoride question’…)
Plaque is the colourless, sticky deposit that builds up on our teeth after eating or drinking. Not removing plaque quickly can lead to the build up of calculus (or ‘tartar’, the hardened form of plaque).
Removal of plaque is the primary function of toothpaste and the reason why we’re not all brushing using just water. Although the use of fluoride is heavily debated, the function of fluoride is to slow down the decomposition of tooth enamel over time, caused by the negative effects of sugar and starch consumption. It has even been proven to reverse the early stages of enamel damage.
Patients with high decay rates can even be prescribed a high dosage fluoride toothpaste or mouthwash to help combat the effects of enamel damage.
Feeling sensitive (Protecting your enamel…)
Tooth sensitivity can be a blight for many. Sensitivity can range from not being able to enjoy a nice cool drink, or ice cream on a hot day, to finding it hard to go outside if it’s less than room-temperature outside because the air temperature causes sharp, nervy tooth pain. Teeth are generally protected by the enamel, but over time they suffer from wear and tear. As a result of this, your teeth can become sensitive and tender when eating cold or hot foods or by your oral cleansing products.
There are a huge range of sensitive toothpastes on the market and most of these come with full dentist approval, often dentists will start sensitivity treatment by recommending a ‘course’ of sensitive toothpaste.
A great tip is not to rinse! By rinsing off your toothpaste after you brush, you are effectively washing away all of the ‘good stuff’ you have just applied. Often, applying the paste directly to any sore areas with a finger and leaving it on can really help with sensitivity.
Children’s toothpaste (Fruity vs Minty)
Dental guidelines state that:
- Children under three years old should brush twice daily, with a smear of toothpaste containing no less than 1000ppm fluoride.
- Children between three and six years old should brush at least twice daily with a pea-sized amount of toothpaste containing more than 1000ppm fluoride.
So really, the common query of whether to go with a fruity or minty flavour is irrelevant, what is important is that your child’s teeth are protected by the correct amount of fluoride.
So, what’s the answer…?
Toothpaste fads come and go (yes, black toothpaste containing charcoal, we’re looking at you!) The thing you need to remember is what you’re using it for – to clean your teeth.
Beyond that function, it is a case of finding a suitable toothpaste to target your dental needs and using toothpaste to help you maintain healthy teeth on a daily basis. Your hygienist, dental therapist or dentist are always happy to help you find out what your specific dental needs are and help you to find a suitable toothpaste for you. Call 01428 723179 to book your next hygiene or examination appointment at Oak Lodge Dental.