How on earth are you meant to chose a toothpaste when there are so many on offer?
Can you believe that there are over 1400 different types of toothpaste!
All of the toothpastes promote exactly the same benefits: Decay bashing, gum smashing, tooth mashing… So how can you tell the difference between them? Let’s take a step beyond choosing toothpaste based on pretty pictures and lets check out its back side (the ingredients of course). I have got 5 secret ingredients for you to look out for in adult toothpaste (If you want children’s toothpaste then check out a later article).
1) Decay bashers
The first fluoride toothpaste was produced in the 1890’s and has been preventing decay for over 100 years. The optimum amount for an adult toothpaste is 1450ppm (0.312%) because this has been shown to have the best decay bashing effect. Sodium Fluoride and Sodium Monofluorophosphate are both perfect. There are some Anti-fluoride campaigns going on due to proposed “toxicity” however as long as you do not drink the toothpaste you will be safe.
2) Bacteria killers
Triclosan has been used in toothpastes from 1971 and has shown to be the most effective ingredient in killing bacteria and preventing gum disease. The US food and drug association is currently reviewing the usage of Triclosan due to some harmful effects in animal studies. As to whether animal studies translate into actual effects on humans is a different matter. If you wish not to take the risk then Stannous fluoride is a close secondand can be found in many toothpaste brands.
Would you want to rub your teeth with sandpaper? It would remove the stains but probably the rest of the tooth with it! Just like sandpaper whitening toothpaste is great for removing stains but it can rub away the tooth when used daily. When looking for a toothpaste you are looking for a (techy term coming up) Relative Dentine Abrasivity of below 70-80. This information can be found on the back of the toothpaste box or using a quick check online
Soap in toothpastes? Yes toothpastes contain detergents to clump together bacteria and pull them away from the surface of your tooth just like soap works for your skin. The most commonly used soap is sodium lauryl sulfate however sodium lauryl sarcosinate or even Baking soda does the trick too. There have been numerous studies by industry and government assessors on Sodium Lauryl Sulphate and they have found that it is safe.
Toothpastes come in all sorts of flavours mint, vanilla or even curry! No real tips here just make sure you go for one that you like. Make sure not to eat it though!
Remineralisers can reduce tooth sensitivity, remake the tooth and can even make teeth whiter. A toothpaste containing Novamin, Recaldent or SensiStat can be the cherry on top of a good toothpaste however is far from essential.
Ensuring that your toothpaste has all the right ingredients can dramatically improve your mouth health, which means more happiness and less trips to the dentist. In the next post I will be going over the main brands of toothpaste and comparing them with the criteria listed above.
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Questions of the day: So what is your favourite brand of toothpaste?