Take a stroll down the toothpaste aisle at your local drugstore or supermarket, and chances are you’ll be overwhelmed by all the different choices. So, should you just grab the nearest and cheapest tube of toothpaste? Or should you take a minute, look at the ingredients and maybe even ask your dentist for a recommendation specific to you? You may be surprised, but the latter choice is definitely the right one. Toothpastes can vary greatly and some are better suited for certain conditions and individuals than others. Read on for 5 tips on selecting the right toothpaste for your specific dental hygiene needs.
1. Make sure it has the ADA Seal of Approval. If a toothpaste has the American Dental Association (ADA) Seal of Approval it means that the product was evaluated by an independent review board of scientific experts and is not only safe, but also effective. In addition, all toothpastes with an ADA Seal of Approval have fluoride, the most important ingredient to look for when shopping in the toothpaste aisle.
2. Toothpastes that contain fluoride are the best options. Fluoride is the single most important ingredient in any toothpaste. Fluoride helps remove plaque and is a huge factor in the prevention of tooth decay. This naturally occurring mineral helps protect your teeth from the acid that is released when bacteria feed on the sugars and starches that remain on your teeth after you eat. Fluoride strengthens your tooth enamel and can even reverse the early damage done by these acids. You should also note that it is important to use fluoride toothpaste even in areas where the water supply is fluoridated.
3. Focus on your oral health goals. Nearly all toothpastes on the market advertise that they are formulated for specific things, such as whitening, tartar control or the reduction of tooth sensitivity. When choosing a toothpaste, keep your oral healthcare goals in mind. Here is a rundown on just a few of the different types of toothpastes:
- If your goal is whiter teeth, then a whitening toothpaste may be the right option for you. Whitening toothpastes typically contain abrasive particles or chemicals that polish and help pull stains off the surface of the teeth. Don’t worry – these abrasive particles won’t damage your teeth and aren’t any more likely to harm your tooth enamel than other types of toothpastes.
- For those of you who want to ensure that plaque build-up is kept at bay, you may want to take a look at tartar control toothpaste. This type of toothpaste is specially formulated to help prevent the build-up of plaque which can harden into tartar. Tartar consists of hard-to-remove deposits that can not only build-up on your teeth, but also under your gums. Tartar control toothpastes use chemical compounds that are proven to be effective against tartar build-up.
- If you have teeth that are sensitive to hot or cold temperatures, you may want to try a toothpaste that is formulated to help reduce tooth sensitivity. These toothpastes contain chemical compounds, such as potassium nitrate or strontium chloride, that help block pathways that are connected to the nerves within the teeth.
4. Make sure you like the taste and feel of your toothpaste. It may sound a bit silly, but if you really like the taste and texture of your toothpaste, you’re more likely to brush your teeth for the recommended time – 2 minutes twice per day. This is an especially important factor to remember when it comes to parents trying to establish good oral hygiene habits with their kiddos. Does your kid like sparkles and fruit flavors? There’s a wide variety of children’s toothpastes that offer these cool features. And the more your kiddo likes the toothpaste, the easier it will be to establish the super important habit of regular brushing.
5. Talk to Your Dentist. No one knows your specific oral health situation better than your dentist, so who better to ask for advice on choosing a toothpaste? Your specific needs will dictate the best choice for you, and your dentist’s recommendation will go a long way in helping you narrow down toothpaste options. In fact, you can take your dentist’s recommendation and try different brands, flavors and textures to find the perfect toothpaste for every member of your family.