The Ultimate Toothpaste Guide

Our Burnaby Dentists from North Burnaby Dental Group provide information about toothpastes on the market, their uses and what to consider when making your selection.

Choosing the right toothpaste can be confusing; with so many forms and flavours on the market, how does one know which one they should choose? Whether you are deciding on toothpaste for whitening, tartar control, enamel strengthening or sensitivity, there are a set of essential ingredients that must be present in right proportion in your toothpaste. Before making the purchase, take a minute to peruse the ingredient section to make sure they contain what you need and have certification or approval from a recognized professional body.

The fundamental ingredients should include:

  • Abrasive agents like calcium carbonate and silica gels to scrub bacteria, food, and stains from the surface of your teeth and gums.
  • Detergents or foaming agents like sodium lauryl sulfate to produce suds assisting the abrasive agents in the cleaning process.
  • Humectants like glycerol to retain moisture.
  • Thickeners like various gums and seaweed molecules to thicken the paste and give it a distinctive texture.
  • Flavouring to make toothpaste better to taste.

Now that we know the staple ingredients of toothpaste, let’s familiarize with various types of toothpaste available in the market.

Toothpaste Guide by Burnaby Dentists

Fluoride Toothpaste

The single most important ingredient in a toothpaste is fluoride which helps prevents decay by strengthening your tooth enamel. Though most types of toothpaste contain some amount of fluoride, some people having a history of cavities usually require an additional amount to protect their teeth in a proper way. Fluoride helps prevent early cavities from growing and strengthens teeth to endure acid erosion. Fluoridated toothpastes are not recommended for children under the age of 6 as they cannot reliably spit out the toothpaste and swallowing a lot of fluoride is not recommended.  Ingesting extra fluoride during tooth development may cause permanent discolouration commonly known as fluorosis.

Whitening Toothpaste

These can help to remove stains from your teeth. Your teeth will achieve a whiter shade with the help from agents like hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide present in whitening toothpaste. Abrasive particles present in the toothpaste lift stains by polishing the surface of your teeth.  These toothpastes are milder, however than professionally applied whitening gels and can be more abrasive than regular toothpaste.  So keep this in mind if you have a lot of glazed porcelain restorations or exposed roots.  Baking soda toothpaste can also be used as the soda has an abrasive effect and can help to remove stains.

Tartar Control Toothpaste

Accumulation of plaque is a common scenario for many people. This accumulated plaque, if not removed, may eventually harden to form tartar which harbours bacteria and can contribute to periodontal disease.  Many tartar control toothpastes contain an antibiotic called triclosan which helps prevent bacteria proliferation. These types of toothpaste also have zinc citrate and different forms of pyrophosphates that work in combination to control plaque accumulation. If you have a clinical history of plaque and tartar issues, tartar control toothpaste can be helpful to keep tartar from forming in the first place.

Tooth Sensitivity Toothpaste

If you experience tooth sensitivity when eating or drinking, a toothpaste for sensitive teeth might be ideal for helping relieve and lessen the sensitivity. These toothpastes contain less abrasive ingredients to cut down on sensitivity.  The key ingredient in sensitivity toothpastes acts as a physical block that remains on your teeth to fill the tubules that contain the nerve endings that contribute to sensitivity.  These sensitivity toothpastes work best when used regularly as the relief from this type of paste is felt most right after the application of the paste.

Children’s Toothpaste

They come in variety of flavours that children actually love. Usually these types of toothpaste are made of milder ingredients – they contain less abrasive agents and low or no fluoride for safety if the paste is swallowed or eaten.

The next time you’re shopping for toothpaste, we hope that the information provided by our Burnaby Dentists will help you in making your selection. If you have any questions about what the best choice would be for your needs, please ask the dentists or hygienists at North Burnaby Dental.

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