In most grocery stores, there is an entire aisle dedicated to toothpaste. So, how do you know which one is right for you? If the toothpaste boasts of “whitening” capabilities, is it true? Your dentist encourages you to brush your teeth at least twice a day, but have they ever told you what toothpaste ingredients to look for? Or, better yet, what ingredients to avoid? Our guess is no. So, we’ve compiled a list for you. That way, the next time you go to brush your teeth, you know you’re effectively taking care of your teeth and gums.
Ingredients to Look For…and Why
● Fluoride: Fluoride strengthens enamel and prevents tooth decay, which makes it the key ingredient for anti-cavity toothpaste. All toothpaste tubes with the ADA seal of approval contain fluoride. Sodium fluoride is the most common fluoride ingredient which effectively fights cavities. You might also see stannous fluoride as a listed ingredient in dental products. Stannous fluoride prevents tooth decay, gingivitis, and reduces teeth sensitivity. Both types of fluoride are safe and recommended.
● Potassium Nitrate: If you experience tooth sensitivity, look for a toothpaste containing potassium nitrate. Reducing sensitivity takes time, so you may need to brush consistently for several weeks before you notice any changes.
● Zinc Citrate: Plaque is a sticky film containing bacteria that covers your teeth. Over time, plaque absorbs calcium from your saliva, hardens, and turns to tartar. Tartar needs to be professionally scraped off your tooth to prevent decay. Toothpaste that contains zinc citrate reduces the amount of plaque and protects your teeth from tartar buildup.
● Calcium Carbonate: Calcium carbonate is an abrasive agent that helps remove stains. This ingredient is safe on your teeth and gums and reduces stains quickly while also removing plaque.
● Hydrogen Peroxide: The amount of hydrogen peroxide found in toothpaste is not significant enough to ruin your enamel and it is a leading ingredient in whitening teeth. Toothpaste that contains hydrogen peroxide may advertise a teeth whitening agent because this ingredient effectively removes stains, giving you a brighter smile.
Ingredients to Avoid
● Sodium Lauryl Sulfate: Sodium lauryl sulfate is a foaming agent found in some kinds of toothpaste. However, this ingredient can cause mouth sores, redness, swelling, and peeling.
● Activated Charcoal: This ingredient is found in many kinds of toothpaste that promote teeth whitening. However, it is very abrasive and can ruin your enamel.
When choosing the right toothpaste, always look for a toothpaste with the ADA seal of approval. You can avoid harmful ingredients by simply looking for this symbol. Take a minute to read your labels and determine which ingredient is best for your dental needs. If you need help determining which toothpaste is right for you, contact us at Anderson & Atkins Dentistry. In fact, we can prescribe you a highly effective toothpaste that will protect your teeth from cavities. Don’t hesitate to schedule an appointment with us to learn more about your unique dental needs and how we can support you in your oral health.