Which toothpaste is right for me?
We have all been there - walking up and down the aisle at Target, staring at what seems to be an endless variety of toothpastes. Which one should you choose? Crest? Colgate? A paste? A gel? Should my toothpaste contain fluoride?
First and foremost, check the box and look for the American Dental Association (ADA) Seal. This is your assurance that the product has been evaluated for safety and effectiveness by scientific experts. If it has the seal, you have come to the right place.
Next, decide if you prefer your toothpaste in the form of a paste, gel, or powder. Your toothpaste is an essential part of your oral hygiene routine – you want to be using a product you like and feel as though it does a good job. Your toothpaste, along with adequate brushing and flossing, should help remove plaque and food debris. If plaque and other debris are left on your teeth for too long, they have the potential to cause tooth decay and/or gum disease. We all have a different preference for what type of toothpaste we like – what’s most important is that you are using it!
After you have decided what kind of toothpaste you want (gel, paste, etc…), the next step is usually deciding what flavor paste you want to stick with until this tube has seen its day. On average, most consumers tend to head for the mint flavored paste, but mint is not for everyone. Remember, as long as you find the ADA seal of approval – you are free to choose your flavor – mint, orange, bubble gum, cinnamon… There seem to be endless possibilities!
One of the biggest questions most patients ask is: Do I need fluoride in my toothpaste? A lot of research has been done regarding fluoride and the benefits it has in preventing tooth decay. The two primary ways fluoride prevents decay are by crippling the bacteria found in plaque, inhibiting its ability to produce acids that weaken teeth and by remineralizing areas where acid damage has already occurred; thus strengthening the tooth. For these reasons, almost all dental professionals will recommend a toothpaste containing fluoride.
There are some that may have other opinions in regards to fluoride, so companies have manufactured toothpastes that are fluoride free. These toothpastes tend to be labeled as more “natural” and while there is nothing wrong with using natural toothpaste, clinical evidence shows that without the fluoride in these toothpastes, the risk of developing decay goes up. As mentioned before, it is important to find toothpaste you like and are going to use, so as long as a person is using the toothpaste and brushing twice a day for the recommended two minutes, you are one step ahead of the game.
A new toothpaste, Hello, has recently been added to the market. This toothpaste contains fluoride but is said to be a “natural” toothpaste and has taken triclosan, dyes, and artificial sweeteners out of their product. Sounds interesting and just as effective in preventing against decay but with the product so new to the toothpaste market, the jury is still out on the taste…
All in all, with so many different toothpaste options, it is important to remember one thing: If you are following the advice of your dental provider and doing your absolute best to keep things clean and plaque free between dental visits, you have already greatly reduced your risk for dental decay. Adding toothpaste to the mix is going to help increase your odds your mouth stays healthy and cavity free. Any brand, flavor, etc. really comes down to personal preference. Always remember to look for the ADA seal of approval. And don’t ever hesitate to ask your Plymouth, MN dental provider – we would rather have you feeling confident and successful about your care outside of the dental office than uncertain and unhappy with your toothpaste choice.