Dental Hygiene – Choosing a Toothpaste

Good oral hygiene is essential for healthy teeth and gums. It also helps to prevent bad breath. Using the right toothpaste can play a critical role in oral health, but it can be difficult to know what product is best.

About Fluoride

The American Dental Association considers fluoride to be an essential ingredient in toothpaste.

Fluoride is a natural mineral that protects tooth enamel and fights cavities. Studies have shown that fluoride is safe.

Seal of Approval

Some toothpaste products carry the ADA seal of approval. This means that they meet the ADA’s strict requirements. The ADA seal of approval indicates:

  • Ingredients include fluoride
  • Active ingredients listed improve oral hygiene
  • Toothpaste is free from flavoring agents that contribute to tooth decay, such as sugar
  • There is scientific evidence to support that the toothpaste it is safe and effective

Not all types of toothpaste are suitable for everyone. It is advisable to check labels carefully. Keep in mind that some products are unsuitable for younger children.

Manufacturers should include any flavorings and sweeteners on the label. There are some ingredients that are commonly used which people may need to avoid.

Common ingredients include:

  • Saccharin, a sweetener
  • Calcium carbonate and silicates, which are abrasive materials
  • Glycerol, to give the toothpaste a gel-like consistency
  • Sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS), a detergent that causes toothpaste to foam

People who get frequent mouth ulcers, or canker sores, may wish to avoid products that contain SLS, as some research suggests that it increases the risk of mouth ulcers.

Individuals with dental problems should choose toothpaste that meets their specific needs.   Some people may require desensitizing toothpaste. Desensitizing toothpaste contains specific compounds, such as potassium nitrate, that block parts of the teeth to stop pain signals.

Some people want a whiter smiles. Whitening toothpaste can provide a safe and effective remedy for off-white teeth. These products contain abrasive ingredients that polish the teeth or remove stains from the tooth’s surface. People with sensitive teeth may wish to avoid whitening toothpaste that contains chemicals as these can make sensitivity worse. A dentist can provide advice on whitening options that are safe for sensitive teeth.

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