The ultimate toothpaste guide

There are many different toothpastes on the market, and some are designed for different needs. The toothpastes help maintain gum health, reduce plaque accumulation and tartar build up, reduce tooth sensitivity and restore the natural whiteness of your teeth.

Your dentist can recommend the most suitable toothpaste for your needs. Most dentists recommend using fluoride toothpaste to prevent decay. Fluoride has been proven to reduce tooth decay by at least 40 percent, so everybody will benefit from using a fluoride toothpaste. There may already be fluoride in your drinking water. Research has shown that children living in areas that don't have fluoride in the drinking water have more tooth decay than children living in areas that do have fluoride in the drinking water.

It is important to use only a small, pea-sized amount of toothpaste for children, as they may swallow some of it. After brushing your teeth with the tooth paste, spit out the toothpaste but do not rinse, to prevent the fluoride being washed away. If your dentist feels that you have a high risk of tooth decay, s/he may recommend and prescribe a toothpaste with more fluoride in it. This high concentration of fluoride can offer more protection to people more at risk of decay. Fluoride helps protect your teeth from the acid released from the plaque or the acid in the food and beverages.

It does this in two ways.

  1. First, fluoride makes your tooth enamel stronger and less vulnerable to acid attack.
  2. Second, it can reverse the early stages of enamel softening caused by the acid attack by remineralizing (hardening) areas that have started to decalcify. The example of these tooth pastes are “ Colgate Duraphat tooth paste 2800 ppm” and “Colgate Duraphat tooth paste 5000ppm “. These toothpastes can only be obtained from your dentist or with a prescription from your dentist.
  • There are toothpastes which can help to remove staining. These are often called ‘whitening' toothpastes. It is important to realise that these toothpastes can only help you to restore the original shade of your teeth and will not change their natural colour. If you feel you need something stronger to whiten your teeth, talk to your dentist about how this could be done. If you are a smoker, there are special smokers' toothpastes that will remove the staining that can build up over time. Whitening toothpastes do not typically contain bleaching agents. Instead, they contain abrasive particles or chemicals that effectively polish the teeth or bind to stains and help pull them off the tooth surface. The examples of these toothpastes are “Beverly hills formula Natural whitening expert” and “Oral B 3D White”.

There are several toothpastes that contain ‘desensitising agents' to help reduce the discomfort of sensitive teeth. Some people find that rubbing this toothpaste along the affected area and leaving it on overnight helps ease the discomfort. These toothpastes usually contain potassium nitrate or strontium chloride. These tooth pastes can take up to 4 weeks to offer any relief. They reduce tooth sensitivity by blocking tubules through the dentin that attach to nerves inside the teeth. The examples of these toothpastes are “Colgate pro.relief tooth paste” and “Sensoyne tooth paste with Novamin”.

  • Tartar control toothpastes contain a variety of ingredients which help prevent the build-up of tartar on the teeth. Chemical compounds, including pyrophosphates and zinc citrate, are often added and have been proven effective. Arm & Hammer Dental Care Tartar Control Anti-Cavity Toothpaste called ProxiCare is one of the examples. Additionally, some tartar control toothpastes contain an antibiotic called triclosan, which kills some of the bacteria in the mouth. Colgate Total® toothpaste has 0.3% triclosan. Certain toothpastes containing multiple anti-plaque agents have been demonstrated to be even more effective at tartar control than varieties with only one plaque fighter.
  • Total care toothpastes contain a number of ingredients to make them an effective ‘all-round' toothpaste. They contain anti-bacterial agents, ingredients which help control plaque and prevent gum disease, fluoride to help prevent tooth decay and flavours which help to freshen the breath. They may also contain whitening or tartar-control ingredients. Examples of Total care tooth pastes are “Colgate advance total care” and “Oral B pro expert total care”.

Whilst brushing twice a day with a fluoride containing tooth paste and following a healthy diet are the stepping stones of maintaining oral health, your dentist and the dental team have a crucial role in detecting any dental or oral problems and addressing them.

Visit your dentist every 6 months and have regular hygiene visits, if you experience any unusual discomfort, do not ignore it. Have it checked at the first available opportunity. Your dental team is on your side and fight the battle against the decay and gum disease with you. Remember: Prevention is better than cure. To book your next check-up call us on 01923254979 or book online.

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