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 flavours. 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.
Toothpaste for Young Children
Luckily for parents, there are toothpastes available that make brushing one's teeth an enjoyable activity for kids. With lots of good flavours and colourful kid-friendly designs on the tube, you'll have your little ones brushing their 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 flavours and don't contain artificial colours or preservatives.
If your dentist suggests using a bit of fluoride toothpaste on your younger child, use only a safe amount. The Ministry of Health, Singapore (MOH) recommends only a smear of adult-strength toothpaste for children 3-4 years old and a pea-sized amount for children 4-6 years old.
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 build-up, however, your dentist may suggest that you use a tartar control toothpaste.
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 dentine hypersensitivity. According to MOH, tooth sensitivity is caused by the gradual exposure of the dentine layer, which is usually covered by enamel on the tooth’s crown. Anti-sensitivity toothpastes have ingredients that are able to block the dentinal tubules and provide temporary relief.
Toothpastes for sensitive teeth give long-lasting relief and are 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 first to decide on one that's best for your teeth. Some formulas contain baking soda to help fight stains or peroxide to help lighten your tooth colour. Then there are the "triple threat" toothpastes that 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 dispel any confusion, check with your dentist for a dentist-recommended toothpaste. Rest assured that your dental professional will be able to suggest one that fits a variety of conditions.