What to Look for When Buying Toothpaste
Buying toothpaste seems like it would be a simple process. When confronted by shelves and shelves of options, though, it can quickly become complicated. Add in some social media ads about alternative toothpastes and it’s understandable that you might be completely confused. Not to worry! We’ve got some tips to make buying your next tube of toothpaste simple.
- Make sure the toothpaste you pick is ADA approved. Toothpastes with the ADA seal of approval are safe to use and guaranteed to be effective.
- Check for fluoride. Fluoride helps prevent tooth decay by strengthening your tooth enamel. When you use toothpaste with fluoride, you can maintain and, in some cases, improve your oral health. There are two types of fluoride found in toothpastes, stannous fluoride and sodium fluoride, with stannous being the more effective type.
- Take a close look at the ingredients. Sodium laurel sulphate (SLS), for example is a controversial ingredient. While it’s useful for cleaning the teeth, removing bacteria, plaque, and food particles, there is also evidence that it can contribute to sensitivity and cause mouth ulcers for some people. If your teeth are sensitive, avoid SLS. If you do use it, don’t swallow it, because it can negatively impact your health. People with sensitive teeth might wish to look for potassium nitrate and strontium chloride, which can help desensitize teeth. Be wary of triclosan because this common bacteria-fighting ingredient may actually contribute to bacterial resistance.
- Consider your specific needs in dental care. Are you looking for better tartar control? Tooth whitening? Desensitizing? Gum health? Think about what you’re hoping to achieve with your oral care and that will help inform your toothpaste decision.
- Think about flavor and texture. While it may seem frivolous to choose a toothpaste based on the way it feels and tastes, it’s actually an important piece of the puzzle when you’re shopping for the right toothpaste for you. If you don’t like the way your toothpaste tastes, brushing your teeth will be less appealing.
- What about alternatives to traditional toothpaste? There are some toothpastes that use unconventional ingredients and are somewhat trendy, but are they as effective as traditional toothpaste? Probably not. For instance, toothpastes that use aloe vera aren’t likely to fight plaque or gingivitis any more effectively than other toothpastes, and most aloe vera toothpastes lack fluoride. Charcoal is another trendy toothpaste ingredient, but it may do more harm than good, because it is abrasive and can damage your tooth enamel.
- Ask your dentist for recommendations. When in doubt, ask a professional! Your dentist is an expert not only on tooth care but also on your unique oral health history.
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