A shopping trip to buy toothpaste will lead to a lot of choices in the dental care aisle. Most people simply grab the brand they’re accustomed to buying and cross the task off of their to-do lists. But are you using the toothpaste that is right for your specific needs? Here are some pointers to consider the next time you find yourself needing to buy toothpaste.
Check the Ingredients
Everybody should brush their teeth with toothpaste that contains fluoride. Fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral that helps keep teeth strong and healthy. There are trace amounts of fluoride added to many municipal water sources, but it’s not enough to benefit your teeth. If you have well water, ask your dentist whether you need additional fluoride supplementation.
An ingredient that you might consider avoiding if you are prone to canker sores is sodium laurel sulfate, often called SLS. This is what makes toothpaste foam up and is harmless to most people. Some people are sensitive to it, however, so if you are one of them, simply look for a brand that doesn’t contain the sudsy ingredient.
Evaluate Your Needs and Wants
In addition to keeping your teeth clean and, hopefully, cavity-free, what else do you want your toothpaste to do? Many people like to use a whitening toothpaste. If this describes you, look for one that says “whitening” on the label. If you have sensitivity to heat and cold, a toothpaste for sensitive teeth can be helpful. Does your hygienist often comment on the amount of tartar you tend to build up between regular cleanings? Some people are simply more prone to developing these hard deposits. If you are one of them, consider a tartar control toothpaste.
Talk to Your Dentist
In some cases, you might be a candidate for a prescription toothpaste. A toothpaste with a higher fluoride content, for example, might be helpful if you wear braces or if you tend to develop cavities frequently, despite regular brushing and flossing. Your dentist can go over these options with you if you have special dental needs for any reason.
The most important thing to keep in mind is that even the perfect toothpaste isn’t going to keep your smile healthy if you are not using it two or three times daily, along with dental floss. Be sure that your dental care regimen is up to snuff. Go over it with your dentist or hygienist so you know if you are brushing and flossing properly and frequently enough. Give our office a call if you have any questions or concerns.
Creative Commons image by Sole Treadmill.