Every time you walk down the toothpaste aisle of your store, you’ll see that there are a LOT of toothpaste options out there.
There’s toothpaste that will whiten your teeth. There are toothpastes for sensitive teeth. There are toothpastes with fluoride. There are toothpastes that taste like bubble-gum. There are toothpastes that have hydrogen peroxide. There are toothpastes that are gels. And there’s even organic toothpaste.
So which is right for you?
Dentists agree that brushing with toothpaste twice is day is essential for your oral health. A toothpaste combined with a proper brushing motion works to remove plaque, a sticky, harmful film of bacteria that grows on your teeth that causes cavities, gum disease and eventual tooth loss if not controlled.
The most important ingredient to look for when choosing toothpaste is fluoride. Fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral. Its use has been instrumental in the dramatic drop in tooth decay and cavity occurrence that has taken place over the past 50 years.
As I’ve said before, the naturally occurring bacteria in your mouth feed on sugars and starches that remain on your teeth after eating. Fluoride helps protect your teeth from the acid that is released when this happens. It does this in two ways. First, fluoride makes your tooth enamel stronger and less likely to suffer damage. Second, it promotes remineralization, which aids in repairing early decay before the damage can even be seen.
Also, toothpaste often contains ingredients to clean and polish the teeth and remove stains over time. Lastly, most toothpastes help freshen breath and leave your mouth with a clean feeling.
Some studies have shown that plaque will regrow on teeth that are completely clean within three to four hours of brushing. This is why brushing is so essential to maintaining your oral health. Without brushing, those bacteria stay on your teeth, and eventually degrade your enamel so that you get cavities and even lose teeth.
Just remember with all those options out there, the best toothpaste is the fluoridated one that you’ll use twice a day while brushing.