All of the toothpaste on the market today is designed to clean your teeth, but not all of them accomplish that task equally. Some products have the potential to harm your teeth, while others simply don’t do enough to protect your teeth. Determine the right balance of extra features and core cleaning power to find the toothpaste that is best for you.
First, make sure you choose a product approved by the American Dental Association and displaying the seal on its packaging. There are plenty of fluoride-free, organic, and all natural options tested by the ADA for both safety and effectiveness at keeping the teeth clean. Products without these seals have not necessarily been tested for their claims and quality, so you’re gambling with the health of your mouth by using them.
Focus on Needs
Consider what your teeth need the most to choose a toothpaste with the right extras. Whitening toothpaste can’t always replace professional whitening from a dentist, but it does work to prevent surface stains that cause your white smile to lose its brightness after treatment. Most toothpastes tend to target one of more of the following conditions or needs:
- Sensitivity, in the gums and teeth, from mild to severe pain
- Fluoride products are essential for kids, adults who don’t get enough of it in their diet, and people with diabetes and many other conditions
- Anti-cavity, which most products cover but which should always be checked
- Anti-gingivitis, ranging from over the counter to prescription products for healthier gums.
There are a few products you don’t want to use on your teeth, and they’re often sold as cosmetic products rather than medically tested toothpaste. Any whitening toothpaste with a very abrasive ingredient, ranging from natural walnut shell to plastic microbeads, can leave your teeth with enamel damage that is permanent and hard to treat. Activated charcoal powders can also discolor teeth along with eroding your enamel. Look for toothpaste products that reinforce enamel rather than damaging it.
Picking a Toothbrush
Of course, the toothpaste still needs to be applied to the teeth with the right tools to effectively protect you from cavities and gum disease. The wrong toothbrush can damage your enamel, scratch your gums, or fail to remove trapped food from between your molars. Only use soft bristled brushes unless given advice from your dentist to the contrary. For most people, stiff bristles are too hard for their gums. The tip of each bristle should be rounded and not pointed or square so that food debris and tartar comes loose with each sweep. Replace your brush every three months even if it still looks new and fresh since bacteria can build up over time.
Need more advice about what to do to take care of your teeth? Make an appointment with your dentist for a routine cleaning or a timely inspection. You can discuss your concerns without feeling rushed and determine if your current oral health practices are sufficient for keeping your smile bright, healthy, and strong.