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!
The holiday season is often touted as “the best time of the year!” While this is true for many, for some it can be the most difficult. For individuals and families coping with homelessness, in crisis, or dealing with a time of personal hardship, this time of year can be intensely challenging to face and even harder get through. When basic needs aren’t being met, the gift-giving season can take a toll. So during this season of abundance, consider giving someone less fortunate their smile back.
Toothbrushes, toothpaste, floss, and mouth rinse are everyday items that are often taken for granted. But these items enable people to enjoy one of the greatest gifts of all: a healthy smile. During difficult times, the smallest acts of kindness can mean the world for those in need. This season consider donating these basic tools for maintaining oral health and hygiene to a charity that supports those in need. If you aren’t sure where to start, consider some of the options listed below.
Donations for the Homeless
According to the National Alliance to End Homelessness, in January 2014 there were 578,424 people experiencing homelessness. This number includes families with children and individuals. National charities, like Catholic Charities, support the homeless, have a home base in most cities, and often take donations throughout the year and over the holidays. Most local homeless shelters also take donations and are in desperate need of oral hygiene products as well. Neighborhood churches put an extra effort toward making sure that everyone stays warm and cozy, and that everyone feels the spirit of community during the winter months. They are a great point of contact for your donation.
Domestic Violence Shelters
Somewhere between 2 million and 4 million women are victims of domestic violence each year. Many of them have children, and they may have little time to gather personal items before fleeing their abusers. They come to shelters without their clothing or personal supplies. Shelters are always looking for hygiene supplies and personal care products, especially around the holidays. Dental hygiene care pages that include child-friendly toothpastes, rinses, and brushes are appreciated and put to good use.
Ronald McDonald House Charities
Ronald McDonald House Charities provide a home-away-from-home for families of seriously ill children. The houses run year-round and offer a place for parents and family members to stay so that they can be close to their children while getting a break from the hospital atmosphere. They have many of the same comforts as home, including hot showers, laundry facilities, snacks, Internet access, and television. The Ronald McDonald House wish list includes individually packaged toothbrushes and toothpaste — a simple way to encourage a smile.
Budgets run tight during this season of giving. Oftentimes the idea of charitable giving can feel out of reach for many of us. It’s important to remember that something as small as a toothbrush can make all the difference in the world for those facing hardship. Every thoughtful act that comes from the heart ends in a smile.
Contact your Lancaster dentist Dr. Douglas Weber at (661) 952-7865 to find out more about how you can give members of our community the gift of a smile this holiday season!