Brushing your teeth is step one of maintaining good dental health. But do you really know everything you need to know about what you are brushing your teeth with? Not all toothpaste is created equal. Here is a primer on the subject.
For starters, toothpaste is not always paste. It can be a gel or a powder as well as a paste that you use to remove plaque, food, and other debris from your teeth and gums. Most toothpaste on the market today contains fluoride, which helps in the fight against tooth decay.
What Toothpaste Contains
Toothpastes can vary in contents, depending on what benefits they tout. In general, most toothpastes contain these ingredients:
- Abrasives – These are gentle abrasives including dehydrated silica gels, calcium carbonate, phosphate salts, and magnesium carbonate.
- Humectants – These are substances that are intended to keep the toothpaste from drying out and becoming ineffective, such as sorbitol and glycerol.
- Thickeners – Seaweed, synthetic cellulose, mineral colloids, and natural gum are all used to give the toothpaste texture and an homogeneous look.
- Fluoride – Fluoride is another common toothpaste ingredient that has long been proven to make enamel stronger and resistant to tooth decay.
- Flavoring agents – These are agents intended to make the toothpaste more appealing in terms of taste, and that so not promote tooth decay. Saccharin is one such agent.
- Detergents – These make the toothpaste foamy, and include sodium lauryl sarcosinate.
Making The Right Toothpaste Choice For You
With so many choices, it can be hard to determine the one right for you. Your first order of business should be to find one that is safe. Toothpastes that contain fluoride are always a good choice, as they are regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The reason for this is because they make claims of being able to fight disease. These toothpastes will have a drug facts panel on the packaging with a list of active ingredients.
Toothpastes that do not contain fluoride are not supervised by the FDA and are considered cosmetic products. Still, they should also have a clearly visible list of ingredients as well. Steer clear of any toothpaste that does not clearly display this information.
If you want to feel safer, look for toothpastes that have the ADA seal of approval. You can feel safe knowing these products will do what they claim to do. If you want a list of these products, click here to visit the ADA web site and see for yourself.
At the office of Dr. Ira S. Morrow, DMD in Yonkers, Westchester County, New York, we know it can be confusing when buying products such as these, and we have the expertise to help you make the best possible decisions. You can also get complete dental care for the entire family, and you’ll feel at home with the friendly and professional staff here. Call the office or visit the website to set an appointment today.