6 Things to Consider When Choosing a New Toothpaste

  • Periodontal Disease   •   January 1, 2023

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Your Toothpaste Matters

Choosing the right toothpaste is important for several reasons. You may have been using the same toothpaste for years and never even wondered if it is benefiting your oral health.? Maybe you’re not happy with how your current toothpaste is cleaning your teeth. Or you’re curious about what other options exist. Whatever the reason, if you’re in the market for a new toothpaste, here are six things to consider before making your purchase.

1. Fluoride Content

Fluoride is a mineral that helps prevent cavities by strengthening your teeth’ enamel. Conventional wisdom suggests that if you live in an area with fluoridated water, you may not need toothpaste with extra fluoride. However, if you live in an area like ours with non-fluoridated water or you don’t drink your fluoridated tap water, the American Dental Association recommends that you choose fluoridated toothpaste. In general, Dr. Duffy agrees, though he understands that some will want a fluoride-free alternative. Our typical American diet encourages many to consume an abundance of natural sugars and simple starches routinely. If you can relate, we urge you to consider toothpaste with fluoride as well as following regular oral hygiene guidelines. However, if you have a very good handle on your dietary factors and are diligent with your oral hygiene at home, read on for some alternatives.

Fluoride helps to fight the growth of plaque and reduce inflammation leading to gum disease. It also helps remineralize damaged enamel and root surfaces from cavity-causing bacteria. Dr. Duffy or your hygienist will be happy to answer your questions about types of fluoride with respect to your oral health needs.

2. Whitening Ability

Many options are also available if you’re looking for toothpaste that will help whiten your teeth. However, note that no toothpaste can completely remove all stains from teeth. If you’re concerned about discoloration or just want a boost in your smile’s whiteness, talk to us about teeth whitening.

3. Sensitivity

If your otherwise healthy teeth feel sensitive to hot or cold drinks, look for kinds of toothpaste specifically designed for sensitive teeth. They usually contain ingredients such as potassium nitrate that help to block pain signals from the nerves in your teeth. And your hygiene appointments are important so that we can rule out decay or other causes of sensitivity.

4. Natural Ingredients

If you’re interested in using natural ingredients, there are many natural types of toothpaste made with ingredients like baking soda, essential oils, and herbal extracts. However, it’s important to research before purchasing natural toothpaste as some may not be as effective as traditional kinds of toothpaste at preventing cavities and gum disease. Xylitol is particularly effective at suppressing harmful bacterial activity. Calcium phosphate is also very good and is what your saliva naturally uses to rebuild teeth, but it can be hard to find in a form you can brush with. Some brands have introduced toothpaste with hydroxyapatite, which is the actual mineral your tooth enamel is made of, but how well it is absorbed and used by the tooth will require more time to see (think research). As always, we are here to help you monitor the strength of your teeth to see how well these are working for you.

5. Flavor

The flavor is also an important consideration when choosing a new toothpaste. Tubes of toothpaste come in many different flavors, including mint, citrus, cinnamon, and even bubble gum! If you or your child doesn’t like the taste of minty freshness, there’s no need to force yourself to use it – plenty of other options are available. It may be worth noting that while many people enjoy the taste and feel of cinnamon dental products, it has been known to cause mouth pain and canker sores in some susceptible people. 

6. Triclosan, chlorhexidine, and other antibacterials

Dr. Duffy generally does not recommend these unless every other solution has been tried, including significant changes in diet and specific nutrients and cleaning tools and techniques. While reserved for more advanced gum disease cases and promoted by some, Dr. Duffy believes that antimicrobials used in this way could still carry a significant risk of allowing resistant or more harmful strains of bacteria to take hold. While triclosan itself is becoming harder to find in toothpaste because of this, other antimicrobials are being introduced, such as chlorhexidine.

With the right toothpaste, you can help to keep your teeth and gums healthy and fight gum disease. However, brushing is just one part of a complete care solution, starting with dietary factors and cleaning techniques. Ask Dr. Duffy if he can recommend a toothpaste for you.

Periodontal Disease Treatment in Gig Harbor, WA

As you can see, there are many things to consider when choosing a new toothpaste. The most important thing is to find one that meets your unique needs with the end goal of achieving healthy gums and tooth surfaces while resisting decay and poor oral health. Once you’ve found the perfect toothpaste in a flavor you enjoy, you’ll be heading down the path to even better oral health!

To schedule an appointment, call Peninsula Family Dentistry today at 253-525-5186 or use our convenient Request an Appointment form.

To learn more about oral hygiene for your entire family, visit our Dental Services section.