When you are browsing the toothpaste aisle at the supermarket, how do you decide which one to buy? Do you choose the cheap option, the one that claims to whiten your teeth, or the one that is for sensitive teeth? With so many brands and specialties of toothpaste available, it can be difficult to make a decision, especially if you don’t understand what your teeth need. Here are some things to consider when choosing toothpaste.
If you’ve ever watched a toothpaste commercial, you have probably heard something along the lines of “Nine out of 10 dentists recommend this product!” Well, as you peruse toothpaste labels, you may notice an ADA stamp of approval. This is the same as multiple dentists recommending that product. The ADA is the American Dental Association. For a toothpaste to have the mark of approval from the ADA, it needs to meet strict requirements, like containing ingredients to improve oral hygiene, be free of sugar, and to have evidence that supports its safety. Not all safe and healthy toothpaste brands choose to have the ADA review their product, but you can view the ingredient information to see if the product is good enough for you to use.
When you read the toothpaste label, look for fluoride. Fluoride is a natural mineral that protects your teeth by strengthening the tooth enamel and making them less susceptible to chips and cavities. It is a safe treatment and many dentists consider it to be an essential component of toothpaste, which is why it is another requirement on the ADA’s approval list. When you drink coffee, wine, or sugary drinks, your enamel weakens, but fluoride counters the issue. By fighting tooth decay, fluoride is an important ingredient to look for when choosing a toothpaste.
The flavor of toothpaste is what motivates many people to brush their teeth. So, many toothpaste brands have designed their products to have refreshing flavors of mint, cinnamon, or even citrus. Though brushing our teeth is important for cleansing and fighting tooth decay, many people also enjoy the perk that it refreshes your breath. That refreshing feeling comes primarily from the flavor, so be sure to choose a flavor you’ll enjoy.
During a dental visit, the hygienist will brush your teeth with a more abrasive paste than you might be used to. Abrasive agents help clean and whiten your teeth. However, each toothpaste is different, which means the level of abrasiveness, known as its relative dentin abrasivity (RDA), may be higher or lower in each brand. Be sure to only use products that have an RDA level under 250, as anything higher can damage your teeth.
Before you make your final toothpaste decision, think about your specific needs. Do you have sensitive or yellow teeth? If you do, you may want to choose a toothpaste that will help alleviate sensitive teeth symptoms or that will help in whitening your teeth.
The next time you add toothpaste to your grocery list, reflect. Think about what is important to you when it comes to your toothpaste and what specific needs you have. The more you know about your toothpaste, the faster your shopping trip and the happier your teeth.