There’s a reason that dental professionals (including our Armadale dentist) put such heavy emphasis one regular brushing: simply put, it’s the best way to look after your oral health!
Most of us brush twice a day (or at least, we should be). But how many of us are brushing properly?
Believe it or not, there’s a whole science to brushing the proper way – there are a lot of considerations you’ll need to remember if you want to keep your teeth clean and healthy such as brushing technique and brush type.
And of course, who could forget your choice of toothpaste?
While we all understand the importance of brushing your teeth, fewer understand the importance of choosing the right toothpaste.
And with so many different types of toothpaste on offer, even those who are in the know don’t necessarily understand what makes a good toothpaste!
Confused? Find yourself overwhelmed when you step into the toothpaste aisle?
Luckily for you, our dentist in Armadale is here to explain!
Let’s start with ingredients…
Fluoride is a natural mineral found in water, air, food, plants, rocks, soil and – you guessed it – toothpaste.
When it comes to your teeth, fluoride strengthens and protects enamel, and prevents cavities and plaque (which turn into tartar when they harden) from building up on your teeth.
In short, fluoride is the main active ingredient in toothpaste, and is an important source of fluoride for your teeth to boot.
A dentist may also prescribe toothpaste with a higher than normal concentration of fluoride for patients who face a high risk of tooth decay or cavities.
Naturally, you’ll want a toothpaste with plenty of fluoride content.
While this is generally true, it’s important to remember that this isn’t a hard-and-fast rule. There are some cases where you can have too much fluoride!
While we recommend fluoride toothpaste for children, it makes some specific recommendations about it (which we’ll cover in more detail further down).
You may also see toothpastes described as “natural” or “herbal”. Some of these may not contain fluoride at all – a bit of a problem, since fluoride is such an important ingredient in toothpaste (not to mention, fluoride is naturally occuring anyway!)
Toothpaste flavour – does it matter?
Toothpaste doesn’t just come in the traditional mint, spearmint or peppermint anymore – some toothpaste now comes in more tropical or fragrant flavours!
Provided that flavouring has been added to toothpaste responsibly, there’s no reason to avoid choosing your favourite one.
Not to mention, fun or pleasant flavours can help with getting children in the habit of brushing daily. It can even help picky adults!
Just be aware that some of these flavours may be achieved using sugar – public enemy number 1 when it comes to oral health!
If you’re looking at unconventional toothpaste flavours, we suggest carefully looking at the ingredients and immediately discarding any toothpaste the moment you notice sugar pop up on the back.
To help you out, here’s a list of 56 alternative names for sugar that manufacturers might use to sneak past your initial glance.
We suggest reading it carefully – some manufacturers can be sneaky!
Toothpaste for sensitive teeth
If you have sensitive teeth, you’ll no doubt know that brushing isn’t always a pleasant experience.
To minimise your pain, some toothpastes are designed with those who have sensitive teeth in mind.
This can reduce, or in some instances totally prevent, the pain of brushing sensitive teeth. It can even grant temporary relief if you need to eat or drink something afterwards.
Toothpaste for sensitive teeth blocks the area where eroded tooth enamel or receding gums lead to exposed nerve endings.
These toothpastes are usually easy to spot, with stickers proclaiming their suitability for those who suffer sensitivity or sensitive teeth prominently displayed on the packaging.
While there is toothpaste for sensitive teeth out there, you shouldn’t let this replace treatment for the underlying problem!
If you are experiencing tooth sensitivity, your dentist can advise you on the underlying problem and a toothpaste that might help.
In severe cases, we can also perform restorative dentistry – specifically, we might provide crowns or veneers to cover sensitive sections of your teeth.
Dental pain can require urgent access to your dentist. Read about our emergency dentist treatment for patients experiencing tooth pain.
Looking to whiten your teeth? In-chair tooth whitening isn’t the only option – Your choice of toothpaste may have an impact!
Many toothpastes claim to have a whitening effect. But how can you tell if they’re genuine?
Many whitening toothpastes will also feature an abrasive such as calcium carbonate.
Like the name suggests, the idea behind abrasives is to brush away particles that can otherwise lead to decay in your teeth and gums.
Think of it like sandpaper applied to the messes on your teeth.
While the abrasive in your toothpaste needs to be effective, it’s also important that it’s mild enough to not erode or damage your teeth.
According to the ADA, there’s an important distinction to be made between whitening toothpastes and products, and toothpastes that have a bleaching effect.
It’s a subtle difference in wording, but one which can have a dramatic impact on your teeth.
Some toothpastes will use hydrogen peroxide to achieve their whitening power. Essentially, it’s a mild form of bleach that’s intended to cut through surface staining.
While the portions are safe, it isn’t suitable for all patients.
If you think a toothpaste may not contain these ingredients, or you want advice about the right amount of peroxide or abrasive in your toothpaste, you should talk to your dentist in Armadale for dental hygiene advice.
Choosing toothpaste for children
We said we’d cover toothpaste for children later. Well, now’s the time!
When perusing the toothpaste aisle, you’ll notice that there are many toothpastes that are specifically targeted at children, with bright colours, sweeter flavours and their favourite characters.
A specific segment of the toothpaste market is products targeted at children.
Apart from flavour (which we discussed above), children’s toothpastes also tends to feature extra decorative effects such as sparkles in the toothpaste, or children’s themed packaging.
These are not a necessity but may in some instances have a positive effect on children’s brushing habits. We see no problem with choosing them if you wish!
One thing that you’ll want to keep close attention on however is the amount of fluoride present in the toothpaste you’ve chosen for your children.
While adult toothpaste tendts to contain between 1,000 and 1,500ppmF (parts per million of fluoride), children’s toothpaste sits between 500 and 1,000ppmF.
Many assume that less fluoride is better for young teeth.
Unfortunately, this is dead wrong – in our experience, most kids can safely use adult toothpaste, with under-3s using 1,000ppmF toothpaste.
And since young children are prone to swallowing toothpaste, the ADA has some other recommendations about the use of toothpaste and brushing for children aged:
- Up to 18 months – only a toothbrush and water should be used
- Between 18 months and 6 years old – “a pea-sized amount of low fluoride toothpaste (sometimes labelled junior or children’s)” should be used according
At Dental Care group, our Armadale dentist helps all members of the family – that includes children and toddlers.
Need advice about your child’s dental hygiene? Our friendly team is more than willing to help!
Contact a dentist in Armadale to discuss your dental health today
There are a lot of toothpaste products out there in the market. With so many options out there, knowing which one to choose can be a challenge – hopefully, this quick crash course will help you make a start start.
Still confused? If you need more guidance about the right toothpaste, your dentist in Armadale can help.
All the more reason to book an appointment with your dentist – especially if you’re overdue!
Dental Care Group is committed to providing the best dental treatment and service in Armadale.
Ask us anything you want to know during your next appointment with our team, and we’ll have an answer for you.
With over 25 years of experience, Dr Zelman Lew and his team of oral health experts provide Armadale residents like you with the best dental care, treatment and advice.