If you have been shopping for toothpaste lately, you know that it can be very confusing.
Unlike the old days when the choices were few, these days it seems that there are way too many options! Whitening toothpastes, tartar control, paste or gel, gum health, desensitizing, – which is best? This is a question we get asked all the time. Sometimes it seems like the best thing to do would be to forget the labels and buy whatever is on sale!!
The fact is – buying a particular type or brand of toothpaste is usually not as important as the way you brush and how often you do so. But in any case, here is a quick run-down.
Tartar control toothpaste: Tartar is calcified plaque which naturally forms and can wreak havoc on your teeth and make it easier for you to develop gum disease. While tartar control toothpaste has been shown to reduce the formation of new deposits, it can’t remove current ones and does nothing to prevent these formations where they are the most dangerous – underneath the gum line.
Paste vs. gel: No significant difference here; it’s more of a personal preference.
Desensitizing toothpaste: These pastes have ingredients in them which block the small tube-like channels that connect to the nerve tissue inside of your teeth. If you have sensitive teeth or exposed roots due to gum recession or teeth that are generally sensitive to hot and cold, this may be a good solution for you. But please be patient – it takes 4 to 6 weeks for the magic to kick in.
Whitening pastes: The abrasiveness of these products may reduce surface stains, but they do little to treat the actual yellowing of teeth from the inside. The good news is that most teeth can be whitened with the right treatment. Be sure to ask us what the proper whitening method for teeth whitening is for you.
“Gum Care” toothpaste: Studies have shown these to be questionable at best, and they may not be as valuable as standard toothpastes in preventing cavities.
Expensive or bargain brand? The good news here is that price doesn’t seem to be related to effectiveness when choosing a toothpaste. As a matter of fact, recently Consumer Reports magazine rated an expensive paste near the bottom of their list with bargain basement Ultra-Brite near the top in several categories!
So which brand should I use?
Most studies are fairly inconclusive on this one. Your best bet is always a brand that contains fluoride and has the American Dental Association seal of approval. And if that brand happens to be on sale – all the better!!
In the end, the most important thing is to brush often (morning, night-time, and after every meal), use a soft brush, try to reach every surface of every tooth at the gumline, and spend two minutes doing so.
The proper technique is important as well, and we will be glad to demonstrate this to you at your next visit to our dentist at Bryn Mawr, PA! If you are near Bryn Mawr and you have any more questions or would like to set up a visit at a private dental clinic near you, please give us a call at 610-510-8197. We are here to help you!
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