If you watch TV, chances are you’ve seen an advertisement for toothpaste. Most commercials make the claim that 4 out of 5 dentists recommend their toothpaste. Sounds pretty convincing. But then you realize, every brand is making the same claim. So how are you to choose a toothpaste?
As well, if you’ve walked down the toothpaste aisle in the last few years, which I hope you all have, you’ll notice that the toothpaste selections have skyrocketed. There’s still only a few brands, but each brand now makes more options than ever before. According to this Men’s Health article, 67 new toothpaste products were released onto the market just last year (Men’s Health article). That’s a lot of new toothpaste. It’s understandable that a consumer would be confused on what to buy.
So, the big question is, what toothpaste do dentists really recommend?
According to the dentists interviewed in this article from Better Homes and Gardens magazine, the toothpaste you choose is less important than actually brushing and flossing. The mechanical action of brushing the teeth is actually what removes most of the bacteria. The most important part of tooth care is that you’re removing plaque and tartar build up from the teeth (Choosing a toothpaste).
The two most important toothpaste ingredients are the abrasive agent and fluoride. Fluoride is a naturally occurring substance that benefits teeth by strengthening the enamel, therefore making it less likely that teeth will decay. The abrasive agent contained in toothpaste is to enhance the physical brushing of the teeth by helping to remove plaque build up (Weighing your toothpaste options).
One other very important toothpaste option is toothpaste for sensitive teeth. There are many toothpaste options for people with sensitive teeth but be sure to look for potassium nitrate or strontium chloride on the ingredients list. These ingredients prevent pain signals from being sent to the brain and stop discomfort.
Advertising is a big reason that choosing a toothpaste has become so confusing. Instead of trying to convince dentists that their toothpaste whitens, protects, strengthens or cleans the best, companies have gone directly to the consumer. All toothpaste advertising has been reviewed for accuracy before being released, but the multiple claims can still be confusing.
No matter what toothpaste you choose, make sure that it is American Dental Association approved. You should see the ADA logo on the packaging of any toothpaste that is approved. When you see this symbol, you’ll know that the toothpaste has been reviewed by an independent board and has gone through rigorous clinical studies. All ADA approved toothpastes contain fluoride. Toothpastes reapply for the ADA seal every three years or whenever the toothpaste has a formula change.
Walking through the toothpaste aisle can be scary and overwhelming. In the end, just remember, brush twice a day for two minutes each time and floss those pearly-whites. Don’t forget to visit Dr. Ku every six months for a regular checkup and cleaning to get those hard-to-reach spots.