Between the thousands of brands, different flavors, and claims it is no surprise that people can have a difficult time when choosing a toothpaste. Even some dental professionals admit that it can take time to differentiate between brands and types. If you are undergoing orthodontic treatment, it can make the decision even more daunting. To help you we’ve compiled the ultimate toothpaste buying guide to keep your smile healthy and happy.
Though there are many forms and types of toothpaste on the market, there are some common ingredients shared by most varieties.
- Abrasive Agents – These are scratchy particles that work to remove food, bacteria, and minimal stains from the surface of your teeth while you brush. Calcium carbonate is the most common abrasive substance used in toothpaste.
- Flavoring – Artificial sweeteners are added to make toothpaste taste better. Though many of us associate the flavor of toothpaste with mint, there are many other flavor options on the market such as cinnamon, lemon-lime, and bubblegum.
- Humectants – Moisturizing agents are used to keep pastes and gels from drying out. The most commonly used humectant for toothpaste is glycerol.
- Thickening Agents – These agents help to give toothpaste that distinctive consistency and texture that we are used to in our toothpaste.
- Detergent – Detergents are used to create suds or foams while you brush your teeth. The most commonly used agent for detergents in toothpaste is sodium lauryl sulfate.
Types of Toothpaste
Toothpaste comes in gel, paste, and powdered forms. When it comes to selecting the form of your toothpaste, it is a matter of preference. There are many types of toothpaste on the market and while some may target specific oral concerns, others may cover a variety. Some of the common types of toothpaste include:
- Fluoride- Fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral that has proven instrumental in reducing tooth decay and preventing cavities dramatically over the last 50 years. Toothpaste that contains fluoride works to strengthen your enamel to prevent acidic damage and also reverses early signs of decay by remineralizing the surface of your teeth. Anti-cavity toothpaste contains higher levels of fluoride than standard options.
- Tartar-Control- Everyone has bacteria on their teeth known as plaque which can be removed with good oral hygiene habits such as daily brushing and flossing. However, when plaque is left alone, it can harden and form into tartar, which can only be removed by a dental professional during a cleaning. Tartar-control toothpaste is formulated to reduce the number of bacteria in your mouth using chemical compounds such as zinc citrate, thus preventing the buildup of plaque and decreasing the formation of tartar more effectively than other toothpaste.
- Tooth Sensitivity- Tooth sensitivity occurs when your enamel is damaged and the second layer of your teeth, dentin, is exposed. Specific compounds, such as potassium nitrate or strontium chloride, desensitize nerve endings in your teeth to offer relief and add a protective layer to the exposed areas.
- Whitening – Having a whiter smile is a common goal for many people. Whitening toothpaste does not typically use bleach but may contain more abrasive particles or chemicals to polish or remove stains from the surface of your teeth. It is important to discuss whitening toothpaste with your dentist as some can do more harm than good as the use of whitening toothpaste can increase your risk for developing tooth sensitivity. Depending on your goals, you may need professional treatment to achieve your desired results.
Brushing with Orthodontics
Toothpaste that contains fluoride is recommended for all patients as fluoride works to reduce tooth decay and protect your enamel from erosion.
If you are straightening your teeth with Invisalign, then your oral hygiene routine can stay the same and your options are endless. For patients who have other forms of orthodontic appliances such as braces, you may need to work a little harder to maintain a clean, cavity-free smile. As always, we suggest a fluoride option, but using tartar-control toothpaste can also help to reduce plaque buildup in those hard to reach areas.
We advise our patients to avoid using whitening toothpaste or products while receiving orthodontic treatment, as these products will only whiten visible areas and may leave patients with uneven colored teeth once your braces are removed.
For more information on which toothpaste to select or how your toothpaste can affect your smile with orthodontic treatment, contact the office of Shabbir Adenwalla, DMD, MS today.