Dental Implants: Pros and Cons

4 Factors to Consider When Choosing Toothpaste

by Brett Clark

Are you using the right toothpaste for your oral health needs? Although everybody uses toothpaste, many people stick with the same brand out of habit, without understanding how the various toothpastes in the grocery store differ from each other. By considering the following factors when you shop for toothpaste, you can be sure that you are giving your teeth and gums the protection they need.

1. Does Your Toothpaste Contain Fluoride?

The Australian Government's HealthDirect website advises all adults to use a toothpaste with a minimum of 1,450 parts per million (ppm) fluoride. Children should use toothpaste that has slightly less fluoride, with the exact amount depending on the age of the child. Fluoride is an important mineral for dental health as it promotes the development of healthy enamel, the smooth coating on the surface of each tooth that protects against decay. A few natural toothpastes don't contain fluoride, which reduces their ability to care for your teeth.

2. Do You Have Sensitive Teeth?

If you have sensitive teeth, it's a good idea to use a toothpaste that has the label "sensitivity-reducing" or "for sensitive teeth". These toothpastes contain a chemical called potassium nitrate that treats dental sensitivity. Potassium nitrate blocks tiny tunnels in your tooth enamel, protecting the sensitive nerve inside the tooth. Most people experience relief after using toothpaste for sensitive teeth for about a month. In addition to using sensitivity-reducing toothpaste, you should also visit your dentist, who can let you know why your teeth are sensitive and recommend dental treatments if you need them.

3. Do You Want Whiter Teeth?

Many people use whitening toothpaste to remove stains from their teeth and achieve a brighter smile. These toothpastes can be very effective, but you shouldn't expect instant results. You might need to use a whitening toothpaste for a few weeks before you notice your teeth looking brighter. For faster results, you can ask your dentist to professionally whiten your teeth and then use whitening toothpaste to maintain the whitening effect.

4. Do You Struggle With Tartar?

Everyone has a bacterial film called plaque on their teeth, which hardens into scaly tartar if you don't brush it away every day. All toothpastes help to prevent tartar by removing plaque, but some also contain ingredients that prevent plaque from turning into tartar. You might find the extra protection provided by a "tartar control" toothpaste useful if you always have a large build-up of tartar on your teeth when you visit the dentist.