Toothpaste is important to oral health because it helps remove plaque and bacterial build-up on teeth and fight periodontal (gum) disease. Most toothpaste also contains fluoride, which strengthens tooth enamel and fights cavities. How do you know what toothpastes suit you the most? Let’s find out.
The exact composition of different kinds of toothpaste may vary slightly depending on the benefits touted by a particular brand, such as whitening teeth or reducing gum inflammation. In general, toothpaste includes the following ingredients:
- Gentle abrasives, such as magnesium carbonate, dehydrated silica gels, calcium carbonate and phosphate salts.
- Glycerol, sorbitol or other substances that keep it from drying out.
- Thickeners like seaweed or mineral colloids, synthetic cellulose or natural gum to give the toothpaste a smooth appearance and texture.
- Fluoride to help make tooth enamel stronger and more resistant to cavities.
- Flavoring agents that do not cause decay, such as saccharin.
- Detergents such as sodium lauryl sarcosinate to make the toothpaste foamy.
With the dizzying array of toothpaste choices in the drugstore, you practically need a PhD to navigate the dental aisle!
When choosing toothpaste, your first order of business is to make sure the product is safe and will do what it claims. Toothpaste containing fluoride are regulated by the FDA since they make disease-fighting claims.
Toothpaste without fluoride is considered “cosmetic” and does not fall under FDA supervision. However, these products should still have a list of ingredients. To avoid counterfeit or unregulated products, steer clear of any toothpaste that doesn’t state ingredient information.
Confused shoppers can look for the ADA (American Dental Association) seal of approval. This indicates that the manufacturer participates in voluntary testing programs to gauge the product’s safety and effectiveness. Any toothpaste containing sugar will not get the ADA seal.
Still fuzzy? Ask Dr. Gowan or Dr. Hall about the toothpaste that’s right for your teeth! Call us for an appointment today at (713) 840-7179 or request an appointment.