Toothpaste has come a long way since the late 1800s when developers sold tasteless toothpastes in a jar. Today, tubes of toothpaste are formulated to meet your every dental need and come in many flavours. 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 cavities, 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 cavities. Some fluoride toothpastes not only prevent cavities, but also remineralise teeth along the root surface.
Luckily for parents, there are toothpastes available that make toothbrushing an enjoyable task for children. With lots of good flavours and colourful child-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 flavours and don't contain artificial colours 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 between three and six years old.
Once the 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 problems, 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.
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 MayoClinic suggests the most common sensitivity comes from weakened enamel or an exposed tooth root, and your dentist may therefore recommend using desensitising toothpaste for a certain period of time.
Toothpaste for sensitive teeth provides long-lasting relief and is also available with fluoride (for cavity protection) or tooth-whitening ingredients.
If a dazzling white smile is first on your list, there's a toothpaste for that, too. 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. "Triple threat" toothpastes aim to whiten your teeth, keep your breath fresh and prevent tooth cavities at the same time.
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, he or she can suggest one that fits a variety of conditions.