This article from Freedom Village Dental in Jacksonville answers some common questions about toothpaste.
What kind of toothpaste should you use? There is no one-size-fits-all product on the market. One patient might be interested in a whitening toothpaste, and another may need something for sensitive teeth.
There are tons of toothpaste choices in any grocery store, from those aimed at children to so-called natural toothpastes. You want to make the best choice for your teeth, but it isn’t always easy to make up your mind.
What’s In Toothpaste? Different types of toothpastes have specific active ingredients that make them work. Fluoride is by far the most important thing to look for. But there are other ingredients; here are some of the more common ones.
- Detergents. Sodium lauryl sulfate is not only in toothpaste, but in other personal care products like shampoo. Sometimes it’s called Sodium laureth sulfate or sodium lauryl ether sulfate, and makes products foamy. Some people are sensitive to it, and some consumer advocacy groups say it can be hazardous. There are toothpastes that don’t have it.
- Whiteners. The most common toothpaste whitener is hydrogen peroxide, but there are others, like polyphosphates. They do a modest job whitening teeth, but to get a really white smile, try professional whitening.
- Desensitizers. Some people’s teeth are more sensitive to hot and cold foods than others. And some are more tactile-sensitive. Used on a regular basis, desensitizing toothpastes can be very effective, but ask us for a recommendation first.
- Plaque fighters. A toothpaste ingredient called triclosan is believed to fight plaque and gum inflammation. While it seemed promising at first, more recent studies indicate triclosan may contribute to antibiotic resistance, and disrupt hormones and the immune system.
Always read labels when shopping for toothpaste, and make sure your selection has the American Dental Association label. If you see it, it means the ADA considers it safe and effective.
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