Toothpaste does much more than simply clean your teeth.  Toothpaste can prevent cavities, prevent or reduce gingivitis, control tartar buildup, lessen tooth sensitivity, freshen breath, whiten teeth, replace enamel and relieve dry mouth.  In addition to the multitude of choices available at the grocery store, there are also prescription toothpastes that your dentist may recommend.

When choosing a non-prescription toothpaste, remember to look for the ADA seal of Acceptance.  The ADA Seal on a toothpaste means that particular toothpaste has been shown to effectively do what it claims to (reduce plaque, prevent cavities, etc.).  Everyone’s dental needs are unique; speak with your dental professional before choosing a toothpaste.

Some lucky individuals are able to maintain healthy smiles by using standard toothpaste and good oral hygiene practices, while others may need some extra help.  Here are some brief descriptions of the different toothpastes available to you:

Prevent cavities.  This type of toothpaste contains fluoride to protect against cavities.   No one wants cavities and fillings, so fluoride toothpaste is a good choice for most people, unless you experience an adverse reaction to fluoride.   For most people, the amount of fluoride in non-prescription toothpaste is sufficient.  Toothpaste with higher fluoride content is available by prescription for those patients who require more protection.

Prevent or reduce gingivitis.   Anti-gingivitis toothpastes contain ingredients that kill existing bacteria and prevents the growth of new bacteria.  If you experience puffy, red, or bleeding gums, use an anti-gingivitis toothpaste.  Prescription toothpaste with higher levels of bactericidal ingredients is available for patients with advanced gingivitis or periodontal disease.

Control tartar.  Tarter control toothpastes prevent plaque from hardening into difficult-to-remove tartar.  Tarter irritates gum tissue and leads to gum disease and tooth loss.  Patients who smoke, take certain medications or who experience a dry mouth will benefit by using a tartar control toothpaste.  Because tartar control toothpastes often increase the sensitivity of teeth, patients with sensitive teeth may not be able to use them.

De-sensitize Teeth.  Toothpaste for sensitive teeth contains ingredients that calm the nerves in teeth.  Patients with sensitive teeth often experience pain when eating or drinking hot, cold, or sweet food.  Prescription toothpastes for sensitive teeth are available and contain a higher concentration of desensitizing elements.  Both tartar control and whitening toothpastes will often cause teeth to become more sensitive.

Freshen Breath.  Almost all toothpastes contain ingredients to freshen breath.  If you notice a chronic problem with bad breath, talk to your dentist about it.  Bad breath that doesn’t go away with brushing could be a sign or a more serious problem.

Whiten teeth.  Some toothpastes contain a mild abrasive which will remove surface stains.  The abrasive elements often increase sensitivity, and they will not lighten deeper stains.  Always talk to your dentist before using any whitening agent, as overuse of whitening toothpaste can wear down the enamel of your teeth.

Replace enamel.  These toothpastes contain a form of calcium, which helps to replace tooth enamel which may be lost due to excessive whiting or exposure to acidic foods.

Relieve dry mouth.  Many individuals who take medication, smoke, or who have been diagnosed with certain medical conditions experience a reduction in saliva production, or “dry mouth”.  These toothpastes contain ingredients which stimulate saliva production, and protect your teeth in the absence of saliva.

Finally, many toothpastes offer combined benefits, such as cavity protection, fresh breath, and tartar control.  Your dental professional will be able to suggest the right toothpaste for you. Call Us today!