Standing in the toothpaste aisle is a bigger decision than it used to be. Tarter control? Halitosis control? Whitening? Baking soda? Sparkly gel? What really matters when it comes to brushing your teeth?
“While most toothpaste claims are helpful or at least fairly harmless to your teeth, some can be downright dangerous,” said Dr. Aaron Jones, DDS of Highland Park Dental in Snider Plaza. “You used to be able to say ‘just make sure it has fluoride,’ but now there are more factors to consider.”
Here’s Dr. Jones’ “Toothpaste Hype or Help” List:
- Whitening – “No toothpaste can match the results of a professional teeth whitening at your dentist’s office,” notes Dr. Jones. “It can’t hurt for coffee and red wine drinkers to have extra help in between cleanings and whitening sessions, but it won’t be as dramatic as the claims.”
- Tarter Control – “This one surprises people,” say Dr. Jones. “Tarter control formulas contain an ingredient called sodium pyrophosphate, which can lead to hypersensitivity for normal teeth and already sensitive teeth. Such toothpaste only protects teeth above the gum line, not below, which can cause even bigger dental health problems, such as periodontal (gum) disease.”
- Sparkly Gels, Fun Colors, Snappy Flavors – These are generally designed for visual appeal or for mouth feel. They won’t hurt you, but they don’t do anything special no matter what the box says.
- Big Wads of Toothpaste – “All those boxes and TV commercials always show someone putting a huge amount of toothpaste on their brush. This is just to sell more toothpaste. In fact, you only need a pea-sized amount,” says Dr. Jones.
- Fluoride – Your toothpaste absolutely needs this ingredient. It makes the tooth structure stronger and more resistant to tooth decay and cavities. Some “natural” toothpastes don’t have it so read the ingredients carefully if you’re not sure.
- ADA Seal – Not a marketing ploy, this seal assures you that the toothpaste has been tested in controlled and clinical trials to ensure safety and efficacy. “If your toothpaste doesn’t have this seal, put it back on the shelf,” adds Dr. Jones.
- Sensitive Formulas – Toothpastes like Sensodyne help the sensitivity that comes from gradual gum tissue recession very effectively. “Be sure to talk to your dentist first,” says Dr. Jones. “Sometimes sensitivity is an indication of a cavity or greater problem which can be masked by Sensodyne and go untreated.”
- Triclosan – Found in Colgate Total, this ingredient has been clinically proven by the ADA to fight germs and bacteria for up to 12 hours after brushing. Colgate Total is the first toothpaste that actually prevents and reduces bad breath. “This is a tremendous breakthrough in the field of oral hygiene,” says Dr. Jones.
Once you have the right toothpaste for you, don’t forget to floss. No toothpaste or fancy toothbrush replaces the need to floss. Mouthwash can help kill germs and keep your breath fresh longer.
Dr. Jones practices at Highland Park Dental in Snider Plaza. Make an appointment at 214-521-3730 today for your best oral health.
Highland Park Dental
6725 Hillcrest Avenue
(next to Starbucks in Snider Plaza)
Dallas, Texas 75205