A simple walk down the dental aisle of your local department store can be overwhelming. With an entire aisle filled with different kinds of toothpaste and dental products, how do you know which is the best toothpaste for you? When it comes to toothpaste, the choices can seem overwhelming.
Here we will go into detail on what makes toothpaste effective, the different types of toothpaste available, and how to determine which toothpaste is best for you.
- Understand what toothpaste is and why it is essential for good oral health
- Learn the difference between different kinds of toothpaste and what it means for oral health
- Understand how to choose which toothpaste is right for you
What is toothpaste?
Toothpaste is a key component of a healthy oral hygiene routine. This gel, powder, or paste-like product goes on your toothbrush to help clean the surface of your teeth. When combined with a brushing motion, the goal of any toothpaste product is to help remove bacteria, food particles, and plaque found on the surface and in between your teeth.
What is in toothpaste?
While there are a variety of different kinds of toothpaste on the market, every toothpaste has the same base ingredients. These include:
- A mild abrasive: When combined with the pressure of tooth brushing, these mild abrasives help to remove residue and scrub the surface of your teeth.
- Detergent: This component helps create the foam that appears when you brush your teeth. This compound also helps clean the surface of your teeth and distribute the toothpaste throughout your mouth.
- Thickening agents: Known as binders, these thickening agents help stabilize the toothpaste.
- Anti-drying agents: This component helps to keep your toothpaste from drying out before use.
- Flavoring: Adding flavoring helps give your toothpaste a minty fresh taste.
10 different types of toothpaste
While most toothpaste starts with these same basic ingredients, there are many different variations available on the market that include additional ingredients or different variations designed to address specific dental concerns.
Here we take a closer look at many of the different kinds of toothpaste available and what they are most designed for.
1. Standard toothpaste
Standard toothpaste is designed to target general tooth cleansing and contains the base ingredients mentioned above. It uses the power of detergents to clean the surface of the teeth and help remove food particles and bacteria that can contribute to plaque buildup and decay.
2. Fluoride toothpaste
Fluoride toothpaste is the most common toothpaste on the market and likely what you already have in your bathroom cupboard and is the type of toothpaste recommended by the American Dental Association. This toothpaste adds fluoride to the basic toothpaste ingredients. Fluoride is a natural mineral that helps protect teeth against decay by strengthening the enamel of the tooth and slowing acid production that can damage the enamel.
3. Children’s toothpaste
Children’s toothpaste typically reduces the amount of fluoride in order to reduce the ingestion of the mineral. In addition, the abrasives in children’s toothpaste are often milder as their teeth can be more sensitive. In addition, children’s toothpaste typically comes in a variety of fun flavors, such as grape or bubblegum.
4. Whitening toothpaste
Whitening toothpaste is designed to help remove stains on the surface of your teeth when you don’t have time for a professional whitening treatment. In order to do this, they contain much more abrasive cleansers that can, if used too often, break down the enamel of the tooth and increase the risk of tooth decay. For this reason, most whitening toothpaste should only be used as directed and not for routine daily brushing.
5. Smoker’s toothpaste
Smoker’s toothpaste, like whitening toothpaste, is designed to target stains on the teeth commonly caused by tobacco use. Similar to whitening toothpaste, smoker’s toothpaste contains stronger abrasives that can slowly break down the enamel of your teeth and should not be used as regular daily toothpaste.
6. Sensitivity toothpaste
If you suffer from tooth sensitivity to hot and cold substances, sensitivity toothpaste can help reduce that sensitivity. This toothpaste variety contains potassium nitrate which helps protects the nerves in the teeth that lead to tooth sensitivity. Regular use of this type of toothpaste can help reduce or eliminate the sensitivity you experience. However, it can take up to a month for the potassium nitrate to build up and do its job, so don’t become discouraged if it doesn’t help right away.
7. Tartar control
If you have a history of tartar buildup on your teeth, a tartar control toothpaste can help. This toothpaste contains sodium pyrophosphate or sodium hexametaphosphate which are compounds that help prevent tartar buildup. Keep in mind that this toothpaste will not remove tartar already on your teeth and you will need to have a professional dental cleaning in order to do that before starting with a tartar control toothpaste.
8. Herbal toothpaste
If you have sensitivities to traditional toothpaste or are looking for a more natural toothpaste option, herbal toothpaste uses only natural ingredients, such as menthol, almonds, clove, chamomile, charcoal, sanguinarine, aloe vera, and more.
9. Anti-gingivitis toothpaste
Anti-gingivitis toothpaste is designed to target the gumline where plaque and bacteria can build up and lead to gingivitis and gum disease. This toothpaste variety contains additional ingredients, such as triclosan, that contain anti-inflammatory properties that help destroy the microbes that can cause gingivitis.
10. Enamel repair toothpaste
Enamel repair toothpaste contains active ingredients, such as calcium, potassium, and fluoride, designed to help strengthen and repair the tooth’s enamel. The enamel absorbs these minerals in a process known as remineralization, helping to strengthen the enamel and reduce the risk of tooth decay.
Which toothpaste is best for my teeth?
Every one of the toothpaste varieties we mention has its own set of benefits. Which one is right for you depends on a variety of different factors. Here we take a look at some of the most common dental concerns and the toothpaste types that provide the most benefit. Following this guide, and getting a recommendation from your dentist, you should be able to find the best toothpaste for your overall oral health.
- Cavity-prone teeth: If you are prone to cavities at every dental appointment, you want to choose a toothpaste with a high amount of fluoride in order to help combat tooth decay.
- Cavity-prone with sensitivity: If you battle with cavities and sensitive teeth, look for a toothpaste that includes stannous fluoride. This antibacterial agent not only fights against decay but also helps deal with tooth sensitivity.
- Sensitive teeth: If a bowl of cold ice cream or a hot cup of coffee makes you cringe in pain, it may be time to turn to a toothpaste designed for tooth sensitivity in order to reduce these often-painful sensations.
- Gingivitis or gum disease: Plaque and tartar buildup contribute to gingivitis and gum disease, so tartar control toothpaste is often recommended to individuals prone to plaque and tartar buildup. If you already have gingivitis or gum disease, an anti-gingivitis toothpaste may be recommended.
- Tooth discoloration: If you are a smoker or coffee drinker, you may experience staining on the surface of your teeth. Smoker’s toothpaste or whitening toothpaste can help remove these surface stains and give you a brighter, whiter smile. However, be sure to follow the recommended usage of this kind of toothpaste and have another option, such as fluoride toothpaste, available for regular oral care.
Choose the right toothpaste for your dental needs
While the dental aisle at your local store can seem overwhelming, once you understand the different types of toothpaste available and how they can affect specific dental concerns, it makes it much easier to find the right toothpaste for your dental needs. Once you know what to look for, it all comes down to the toothpaste you like best.
The team at New Leaf Rohnert Park can help you decide
At New Leaf Rohnert Park, we understand that determining which toothpaste is best for you can be confusing and we are here to help. Our dental team can evaluate your overall oral health and help you choose the type of toothpaste that will offer you the best protection against dental decay and keep your teeth as healthy as possible. To learn more, visit us online or call 707-607-8695 to schedule an appointment.