Sunday, September 11, 2011

Selecting the Right Tooth Paste

By Aishwarya Jayadeep
As a small kid I used to insist that my parents buy only that brand of toothpaste that had  a miniature toy that came with it. When I grew up a little more, I fancied the more colorful gel toothpaste with sweet, clove flavor only. Now a days this cycle is repeating itself through my daughter. But as a parent, I am not that lenient as my parents used to be on this matter. Ever since I studied dentistry, I started looking into the ingredients and basing my buying decisions on that. So let me discuss with you what to look for in your toothpaste, that most used item in your toiletry kit.
What is the role of toothpaste in keeping up good dental health?
Brushing with toothpaste is recommended due to the following reasons.
 1. A toothpaste along with a correct brushing technique helps  remove plaque, a sticky, harmful film of bacteria that grows on your teeth that causes caries, gum disease, and eventual tooth loss if not controlled.
2. Fluoride contained in the tooth paste  makes the entire tooth structure more resistant to decay and
promotes remineralization.
3. Gentle abrasives in the toothpaste help to clean and polish the teeth and remove stains over time.
4. Toothpastes help freshen breath and leave your mouth with a clean feeling

Toothpaste need not always be in the paste form. It can be a gel, powder, or paste that you brush onto your teeth and gums to help get rid of accumulating plaque and improve your oral health.
What are the typical ingredients of toothpaste?
In general, toothpastes include the following ingredients:

  • Gentle abrasives,to polish the teeth and remove stain
  • Humectants ,to keep the toothpaste from drying out.
  • Thickeners to give the toothpaste a homogeneous appearance and texture.
  • Fluoride to help make tooth enamel stronger and more resistant to decay.
  • Flavoring agents that do not cause tooth decay, such as saccharin.
  • Detergents,  to make the toothpaste foamy.

With so many toothpastes in the market, it is natural for you to feel confused about which toothpaste to buy, when shopping for a tooth paste. Here are some useful tips:
Most experts said that as long as your toothpaste contains fluoride which is the most crucial ingredient in toothpaste, the brand you buy really doesn't matter. All toothpastes with fluoride work effectively to fight plaque and cavities. Some toothpastes offer tartar control pyrophosphates to prevent the build-up of soft calculus deposits on teeth, while others offer whitening formulas to safely remove stains making teeth brighter and shinier. But, contrary to clever advertising and popular belief, fluoride is the true active ingredient that works the hardest to protect your teeth. Some other considerations while selecting your toothpaste are:
1. If you have sensitive teeth, desensitizing toothpaste should be used as the key ingredient, strontium
chloride or potassium nitrate protects the tubules in the teeth that are connected to the nerves.
2. In tartar-control toothpaste, the key ingredient is sodium pyrophosphate. This type of toothpaste will not remove tarter but only keep it from forming above the gum line. Prolonged use of this type of
toothpaste may cause sensitivity in some people.
3. In antimicrobial toothpaste such as Colgate Total, the key ingredient is triclosan which is an antibacterial agent. This type of toothpaste is supposed to remove bacteria that can cause gum disease but it will not remove existing tartar.
4. In baking soda toothpastes, the key ingredient is baking soda. Baking soda is a mild abrasive and may cause gum irritation after prolonged use. The only benefit to this type of toothpaste is that it leaves you with a fresh feeling in your mouth which can be an incentive to brush longer.
5. Whitening toothpastes contain abrasive ingredients that lighten teeth. These ingredients may cause
gum irritation and sensitivity to teeth. They are also not as effective as the bleaching kits found in your
dentist’s office.
6. Children's Toothpaste. These toothpastes have been developed to meet the special needs of children. As children are extremely susceptible to dental cavities, their toothpastes often contain fluoride. Younger children should only use a small amount of toothpaste to avoid ingestion and prevent dental fluorosis and should be always supervised during brushing.
7.Tooth Powders. Dry powders are also available to clean your teeth but they are often more abrasive
than toothpaste.
So now you can know which kind of toothpaste is right for you. Anyway, it would be a better idea to change the type of toothpaste you use often  enough in order to have clean, healthy and white teeth.
As important as the type of toothpaste you use is the way you use it. Adults usually only need a pea-sized amount of toothpaste nothing more or nothing less.