If you’re like the majority of the population you probably stick to the same brand of toothpaste, or maybe you choose the one that’s on special offer at the supermarket or in the chemists. But is it always the best choice, or is there something else out there that might suit you little better? This is something we get asked quite often at Leeds City Dentalcare so we have put together a quick overview of the most popular types available. It’s true the choice can be confusing, and toothpaste can be bought in several different forms including gel, paste and powder. However some of the ingredients are quite similar and include:
- Some sort of flavouring or sweetener to improve the taste. Most toothpastes are mint flavoured, but it is possible to find alternatives if you hate the taste of mint.
- Some sort of agent to help the paste or gel stay moist.
- Most contain thickening agents to give them the right texture.
- Your toothpaste may have some sort of mild abrasive designed to help remove surface stains, excess food particles and plaque.
- Ever wondered why your toothpaste foams up when you use it? This is because it’s likely to contain some sort of detergent.
So now you know what’s in them, but what are they all supposed to do? The most common types of toothpaste include:
Most people will choose to use toothpaste containing fluoride, and it’s something we’re likely to recommend our Leeds dental surgery patients use regularly. Fluoride is a mineral that occurs naturally, it’s found in certain foods, and may be present in some people’s water supplies. It’s a great ingredient as it helps to harden the tooth enamel and protects the teeth from decay. This helps to lessen the chances of acid erosion. Whenever you brush your teeth some of the fluoride ions will remain in the saliva for quite some time afterwards, helping to prolong the protective effects. It’s best to simply spit out excess toothpaste after brushing rather than rinsing your mouth with water. If you have children under the age of two then ask Dr David Brown or another of our dentists for advice on using fluoride toothpaste. It’s possible we may recommend using non-fluoride toothpaste until they are old enough to be able to spit out the excess.
Tartar control toothpaste
This type of toothpaste is designed to help prevent the build-up of tartar on the teeth. Tartar is sometimes called calculus, and consists of hardened plaque bacteria that haven’t been removed through brushing and flossing. This is the substance that is gently scraped away by your hygienist during visits to our Leeds dental surgery. It’s important to try to control the build-up of tartar as it can irritate and inflame the gums, leading to infection and disease. Toothpastes designed to control the build-up of tartar generally contain anti-plaque agents such as zinc citrate or pyrophosphates. You’ll generally find that most tartar control toothpastes also contain fluoride.
Toothpaste for sensitive teeth
Lots of our patients have sensitive teeth, and it can help to use the toothpaste designed to tackle this problem. Sensitivity can be caused by areas of dentine becoming exposed. Dentine contains lots of tiny tubules that lead to the centre of the tooth where all the nerves are located, allowing foods to penetrate the tooth more easily. This toothpaste works by helping to block up these tiny tubules, reducing sensitivity. You’ll probably need to use the toothpaste for several weeks for optimum results.
Whitening toothpastes are very popular, but most don’t contain bleach. Instead they contain a very mild abrasive designed to remove surface stains. They won’t really make much difference, but can help to freshen up a smile. If you’re interested in teeth whitening then you may want to make an appointment with Dr. David Brown or another dentist in Leeds City Dentalcare to find out about having them professionally whitened.