Toothpaste has come a long way since the late 1800s when developers sold tasteless toothpaste in a jar. Today, tubes of toothpastes are formulated to meet your every dental need and come in many flavors. But if you're confused as to which toothpaste is right for your family, have your dentist suggest a dentist recommended toothpaste. Here are some common choices.
Fluoride strengthens and protects teeth against decay, so dentists recommend it for kids and adults alike. Many adults can also benefit from fluoride toothpaste when taking medications that dry their mouth, or when they have health conditions that make them more vulnerable to tooth decay. There are products like prescription fluoride toothpastes, that not only prevents decay, but remineralizes teeth along the root surface.
Toothpaste for Young Children
Lucky for parents, toothpastes are available that make toothbrushing an enjoyable task for kids. With lots of good flavors and colorful kid-friendly designs on the tube, you'll have your little one brushing her own teeth in no time. If your child is under the age of two, use toothpastes that are safe to swallow. These products are fluoride-free, come in mild flavors and don't contain artificial colors or preservatives.
If your dentist does suggest using a bit of fluoride toothpaste on your younger child, use only a safe amount. The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends a rice-sized smear for children under three years old, and a pea-sized amount for children three to six.
Once the bacterial plaque that forms on your teeth hardens into tartar, a professional cleaning by your dentist or dental hygienist is the only way to remove it. Excess tartar can lead to gum disease, so you'll want to prevent it with good brushing and flossing. If you're prone to quicker tartar buildup, however, your dentist may suggest you use a tartar control toothpaste. There are products approved by the FDA to prevent plaque formation for up to 12 hours, and also helps prevent decay.
Toothpastes for Sensitive Teeth
Does eating ice cream or drinking hot drinks hurt your teeth? Sensitive teeth don't always have an obvious cause. If it's a sharp pain, you may even have dentin hypersensitivity. The Mayo Clinic suggests the most common sensitivity comes from weakened enamel or an exposed tooth root, and your dentist may therefore recommend using desensitizing toothpaste for a period of time.
Toothpaste for sensitive teeth gives long lasting relief, and is also available with fluoride for cavity protection or with tooth whitening ingredients.
Whitening and Breath Freshening Toothpastes
If a dazzling white smile is first on your list, there's a toothpaste for that. Several products on the market can help keep your teeth looking cleaner and brighter, but talk to your dentist to decide on the one that's best for your teeth. Some formulas contain baking soda to help fight stains, or peroxide to help lighten your tooth color. Then there are the "triple threat" toothpastes which whiten your teeth, keep your breath fresh and prevent tooth decay.
With so many choices, it's hard to know which toothpaste is best for you and your family. To curb the confusion, check with your dentist for a dentist recommended toothpaste. Rest assured they can suggest one that fits a variety of conditions.