So many toothpaste commercials claim that their paste is recommended by a large percentage of dentists, but what
the dentist really recommend?
Most toothpastes contain several key, common ingredients:
Fluoride: Fluoride is excellent in preventing cavities, but is harmful when swallowed (as discussed here) . Children are more prone to swallowing toothpaste, but adults and children alike are encouraged to only use a pea-sized drop of toothpaste rather than the large amount many put on their brush.
Abrasives: These remove stain and plaque, but as Americans, we take whitening toothpaste to the extreme and some pastes contain so much abrasives that they actually damage the enamel of our teeth. It is important to be sure that your toothpaste has the ADA seal of approval, which ensures that it is effective and safe for your teeth. This, combined with a soft brush, and attention to careful brushing that is not too vigorous or hard should ensure that the abrasives in your paste only clean and don’t damage your teeth.
Humectants: These keep toothpaste moist and “paste-like”, so it does not harden over time.
Detergents: Some pastes contain these to create foam while brushing.
Flavor: Toothpastes come in a variety of flavors that cause it to taste good, and make us want to brush. Most flavors also give us that refreshing feeling we have become accustomed to after brushing. Just be sure that children are supervised so that they do not end up eating or swallowing toothpaste, as it may be confusing due to the candy-like flavors.
Preservatives, Dyes, and Coloring: Some pastes contain small amounts of these to increase appeal.
In short, use a toothpaste that provides the results that are right for your mouth and is approved by the ADA. Use a toothpaste designed especially for sensitive teeth if you have sensitivity issues. Please ask us if you have any questions about the correct toothpaste for you.