9 out of 10 dentists recommend…every toothpaste on the market. It’s baffling that toothpaste producers continue to use the same marketing strategy when it’s basically a meme at this point, but you might ask yourself: what toothpastes do dentists actually recommend? The simple answer is those that contain fluoride, preferably in the range of 1000 to 15000 ppm. Fluoride is the most important ingredient in toothpaste, and if you’re using a toothpaste with fluoride, it’s going to help your oral health.
There are some exceptions to the “amount of fluoride” rule, generally to limit the exposure of young children to fluoride. Kids between 0 and 3 years old may need kinds of toothpaste with less fluoride than children who are 3-6 years old. Talk to your dentist and read the Canadian Dental Association’s guide to fluoride.
Okay, now that we have “toothpaste with fluoride is good” out of the way, it’s time to get a little sensitive. Folks with sensitive teeth may want to opt for toothpaste formulated specifically for that, and that’s okay because they all work pretty well. They’ll generally use the same active ingredients but with one or two different things that block transmissions from the tooth’s surface to the nerve. These are called “desensitizing” toothpastes. You should be cautious, however, because these toothpastes aren’t fixing your problems any more than regular toothpastes are, they’re simply serving to block the pain. Persistent tooth pain should be addressed by your dentist as it could be a sign of cavities or other oral health problems.
What about whitening toothpastes? To understand those, you have to understand that all toothpastes use abrasive substances in order to remove plaque. Whitening toothpastes don’t have bleach or any similar chemicals. Instead, they contain a higher amount of abrasiveness that takes off more plaque. The problem with this is that the higher amount of abrasion can actually begin to wear away at the surface of your teeth, causing them to become, among other things, more sensitive. The safest way to create a whitening routine that’s well suited to your needs is to, you guessed it, talk to your dentist.
There are all kinds of other features your toothpaste might have, from different tastes to antibacterial properties. Much of this comes down to personal preference. Antibacterial toothpastes, for example, may help reduce the amount of bacteria in your mouth, but they may also contribute to the widespread epidemic of superbugs. If you brush and floss regularly, you probably don’t need antibacterials.
When you’re not sure what toothpaste to get, opting for anything with fluoride is probably fine. Serious oral health concerns may be addressed by your dentist with prescription toothpastes that have extra fluoride or other additives. When you go to your dentist for a teeth cleaning and exam, don’t hesitate to ask them any questions you may have about your oral health. The staff at Markham Dental Centre will be glad to go over any concerns with you and find a solution that suits your specific needs.