Everyone has been there at some point in their lives. Standing in the toothpaste aisle at the supermarket scanning the seemingly hundreds of options that are available. You aren’t a dentist, so how do you know which one to pick?
Chances are you stick with whatever one you have always used. Some people still use the same toothpaste that their parents bought just because that’s what they’ve always used. That doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the right option.
Each individual’s teeth are different and require various qualities in toothpaste. There’s good news though. Deciding what your teeth need to be the healthiest that they can be is possible. Take these five tips with you the next time you have to go and buy a fresh tube.
Talk to Your Dentist First
When you have absolutely no idea what direction to head in, the best person to discuss your oral hygiene needs with is your dentist.
They have the training and education required to lead you in the proper direction. They know what works and what doesn’t.
They can also tell you about what kind of toothbrush you should be using and the techniques necessary to get the best possible clean.
You should be seeing a dentist every six months, so at your next appointment, ask them questions and go over any concerns you may have about making the right choice.
Read the Ingredients
On the front of a toothpaste box, they often will advertise specific ingredients more profoundly than what’s on the entire list found on the back.
But what do they mean? Each one holds a different property that’s going to be beneficial for some, but contains no significant meaning for another.
Here are some of the regular ones that you may notice:
- Sodium lauryl sulfate – these are detergents and what makes the toothpaste foam up while you are brushing.
- Glycerol – it’s a gel-like formula that slows the toothpaste down from drying out.
- Saccharin or flavoring agents – different sweeteners are mixed in so that the toothpaste tastes better.
- Calcium carbonate or silicates – used as a scrubbing agent to help in removing stains, bacteria, and food with abrasive particles.
- There are also other ingredients that may alter the texture of the toothpaste to make it more gooey or gel-like.
If you are considering using a natural or homemade paste, be aware that the ingredients found in them are not regulated and may not have been proven entirely safe yet. That doesn’t mean that they are necessarily unsafe either.
Look for Fluoride
Research has proven that fluoride is the best defense against cavities. It strengthens the teeth and protects the enamel from breaking down.
Dentists recommend in almost every case that you choose a toothpaste with fluoride in it to keep your teeth, mouth, and gums healthy.
An excessive amount of fluoride can be a potential risk for children under the age of two, however.
If you are selecting toothpaste for a child, you may want to consider one without it, or be sure to monitor how much they are getting at each brushing carefully.
Be Aware of Your Sensitive Teeth
There are plenty of people out there with sensitive teeth, and if you are one of them, you have to consider that.
Tubes of toothpaste made with baking soda are both useful and gentle, giving you the clean you need without any discomforts.
Whitening toothpaste is attractive because everyone wants that million dollar smile. They are also extremely powerful though, so they can cause pain for people with tooth sensitivity.
Whitening ingredients are safe, but you have to decide if you’re willing to put up with discomforts that come along with using it.
Make Sure it’s ADA Approved
The American Dental Association, or the ADA, have extreme guidelines that must be followed by toothpaste producers before they will put their seal of approval on the box.
You can bet if the toothpaste you are considering has the ADA stamp on it, there has been extensive research and supervision done during the making of the product.
That doesn’t mean that any toothpaste with an ADA seal on it is going to best for you. You have to take into consideration the other factors mentioned and your own personal preferences.
For example, some toothpaste is the same except for the flavoring. You like cinnamon so you would want to pick that one over the mint. That would be a choice that can quickly be decided without the help of a professional.
Some companies don’t take the time to get approval from the ADA before putting their formula on the shelf.
That doesn’t mean that it isn’t safe and effective. If you have a question about a specific brand, your dentist or dental hygienist are going to be your best resources to utilize.