The best way to choose toothpaste is to ask for a recommendation from your dentist—they will know your needs the best—but here are some tips for choosing a toothpaste yourself!
Toothpaste is gel, pastes or powders that help remove plaque from teeth. They are made of small abrasive particles (like silicates and salts), fluoride, humectants (used to keep the paste moist), thickeners (like natural gums, cellulose or seaweed), detergents (for foaming action) and flavouring agents. Different kinds of toothpaste do different things like whitening, preventing gum disease and protecting sensitive teeth
Fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral that helps keep teeth clean and tooth enamel strong by making it more resistant to acids that decay your teeth. Fluoride can be found in tea, wine, raisins, potatoes, lamb and carrots! Some communities also put a safe amount in their tap water. Before water fluoridation, children had about three times as many cavities!
The fluoride you get from food, water and toothpaste is applied topically to your teeth and becomes part of your saliva, which means your teeth get constantly bathed in fluoride throughout the day. It’s a great way to prevent tooth decay and strengthen your enamel.
In addition to fluoride in toothpaste and in drinking water, your dentist may suggest an in-office topical fluoride treatment. This treatment is usually recommended for children, but can also be performed on adults.
Different kinds of toothpaste contain different things to affect the teeth in specific ways. Some kinds of toothpaste contain ingredients to reduce tooth sensitivity, to help reduce gingivitis, to remove tartar (a build-up of hardened plaque) or to whiten teeth by removing surface stains. You can even find fruit-flavoured toothpaste to encourage your children to develop good brushing habits!
Make sure to always use toothpaste with fluoride in it to help prevent tooth decay, but you can find toothpaste with additional ingredients to do all of the above! Ask your dentist which toothpaste is best for your smile.
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