Do you ever stand in the oral care section at a store—maybe your local supermarket, maybe a general retailer or a pharmacy—and wonder why there are so many different types of toothpaste? Think about how many brands there are—and then how many different types of toothpaste there are for each brand! Crest 3DWhite, Pro-Health, Pro-Health Advanced, with Scope, Sensi, regular old Crest, Kids’ Crest… the list goes on and on.
A helpful way to think about your toothpaste choice is to think about your goals, beyond basic hygiene, when you brush. Do you want fresh breath or whiter teeth? Do your teeth hurt when you brush? Do you want to avoid a long cleaning next time you’re at the dentist? When you answer those questions, you’ll start to narrow down that overwhelming selection of toothpastes to a more manageable few.
There are a few basic types of toothpastes out there today. However, it’s important to realize that many toothpastes fit into one or more of the categories. (This is why there are more than 40 different types of Crest alone, after all.)
Fluoride toothpastes contain fluoride compounds to help prevent tooth decay. Fluoride works by strengthening, and even helping repair, tooth enamel. These toothpastes vary in the amount and type of fluoride compounds they contain and can come in a variety of flavors that appeal to both adults and children.
If you’d like your teeth to look a little whiter, whitening toothpastes can help. They’re not as effective as dedicated whitening products (like whitening strips), but they can help you maintain whitened teeth. However, keep in mind that many whitening toothpastes can be more abrasive than regular toothpastes. If you use them, give your teeth an occasional break by using less abrasive toothpastes as well!
Some people experience pain when their teeth are exposed to cold, heat, or touch—even the gentle pressure applied when brushing their teeth. If you experience this condition, called dentin hypersensitivity, you can use desensitizing toothpaste to make brushing a more pleasant (or at least not painful) activity.
Anti-plaque toothpastes help prevent plaque from accumulating around your teeth, reducing the risk of both tooth decay and gum disease. There are a variety of anti-plaque compounds out there, including Triclosan (an anti-bacterial compound) and zinc citrate (which supports your immune system).
Toothpastes for kids may or may not have fluoride in them—and that’s actually not a problem. First of all, the physical action of brushing (and flossing) loosens plaque and helps protect your teeth. Typically, toothpastes made for children have fruity flavors and lower levels of fluoride in case of swallowing.
To be honest, the most important choice you make is to brush and floss regularly. The best toothpaste for you to use is one that supports your goals for oral health, and that you will use twice a day, every day.
Of course, if you’d like to find out more about toothpaste, or want specific recommendations, we’re happy to help. Call your Lancaster, CA dentist at 661.952.7865 today!
18 Jan, 2016
Dental Health, Dental Tips, General Dentistry, General Health
dental hygiene, gum disease, oral cancer, oral health, overall dental health, routine dental exam, toothpaste with fluoride
When you think about visiting the dentist, you most likely think about keeping your teeth white and straight, and having an attractive smile. What you may not realize is that maintaining good oral health has value beyond the obvious aesthetic rewards of a beautiful smile. Dedication to maintaining good at-home oral hygiene practices and making regular visits to the dentist protect your overall health and can help you avoid serious health complications and disease.
Healthy Mouth, Healthy Body
Recent research has linked gum disease to health problems that affect women and men of all ages. Gum disease is a bacterial infection, and as a result, it can enter the bloodstream and cause other health issues:
- Heart disease: Gum disease increases the risk of heart disease and doubles the risk of having a fatal heart attack. Heart disease is the number-one killer of women in America.
- Stroke: Studies have linked gum disease to strokes, with a large percentage of those who have experienced a stroke shown to have been simultaneously suffering from periodontal infections.
- Pregnancy outcomes: Gum disease during pregnancy can increase chances of a premature birth.
While regular visits to the dentist can help you maintain good health and prevent certain diseases, your oral health can tell your dentist a lot about your overall health as well, and it can raise red flags for health conditions that you may be unaware of. These conditions include:
- Oral cancer: Every time you go in to the dentist for a routine checkup, they screen for oral, head, and neck cancers. When it’s caught early, you have a good chance for a full recovery.
- Diabetes: Gum disease can be a sign of diabetes. People with diabetes often suffer from gum disease, as it reduces the body’s resistance to infection, leaving the gums susceptible to disease.
- Osteoporosis: Periodontal bone loss and tooth loss can be a sign of osteoporosis, which causes bone to become weak and brittle. Early diagnosis of osteoporosis can lead to treatments that can help stave off bone loss and keep them, as well as your teeth, strong and healthy.
- Alzheimer’s disease: Studies suggest that when tooth loss occurs before the age of 35, it can be an early sign of Alzheimer’s disease.
Knowledge Is Power
So how does knowing the connection between whole health and your dental health help you? Now that you know there is such a strong connection, you understand the importance of having a provider who understands it and uses this knowledge to help you make general health care decisions. It also helps you fully understand the importance of maintaining excellent at-home dental hygiene practices and the best oral hygiene basics:
- Brushing twice daily
- Flossing every day
- Attending two routine dental exams annually, with cleanings
- Regularly using a toothpaste with fluoride and a rinse
- Following a healthy diet that is designed to improve both oral and whole health
To find out what your oral health says about your overall health, schedule an appointment with our provider today.