For some of us, the toothpaste isle in our favorite drugstore can seem overwhelming. The dozens of brands multiplied by the various types of product choices make toothpaste selection feel like a game of chance.
Is it as easy as picking your favorite shampoo and sticking with it for decades? How can you be so sure that you’re getting the best type of toothpaste for your oral health needs?
If you don’t have specific types of dental concerns, an ADA-approved fluoridated toothpaste is generally appropriate. Backed by professional research and carefully formulated for precise mineral levels that promote healthy tooth enamel, it’s hard to go wrong. But if you have specific types of dental problems, you’ll want to select a toothpaste formula that’s uniquely designed for those needs.
Whitening — One of the most popular types of toothpaste you can buy is for whitening. But be warned, a whitening toothpaste can only do so much when it comes to the color of your teeth. It can help to limit superficial stains from everyday cups of coffee, but it won’t lift tenacious internal discoloration.
As an important side note, tooth sensitivity is a common side-effect of everyday use of whitening toothpaste.
Sensitivity — Gum recession or whitening products may make your teeth more sensitive than they used to be. With a toothpaste formulated for sensitivity, the added minerals help to block off the microscopic pores in your teeth, preventing nerve irritation when temperatures change, or cold air comes into contact with them.
A sensitivity toothpaste can take about two weeks of daily use before you’ll see the full effects.
Cavity Control — If you have a history of recurring cavities, acid reflux disease, acidic diet, or are prone to decay because of exposed root surfaces, then a standard cavity-control toothpaste is a great choice. This type of formula is more of a generic everyday product that anyone can use, but it’s especially beneficial to people with ongoing dental problems.
Gum Health — Are you prone to gingivitis? Chronic puffy or red gums are more of a problem for some people than others, especially if you’re pregnant or have diabetes. Periodontal disease is a common cause for tooth loss, so if you haven’t had trouble keeping your teeth healthy but you do tend to have gum issues, then this type of toothpaste may work best.
Prescription strength toothpaste from your dentist
From time to time, dentists may prescribe special toothpaste for their patients due to extensive enamel demineralization, sensitivity, or tooth decay. This type of toothpaste helps remineralize teeth to stop the earliest signs of cavities or even reverse early symptoms.
“Natural” and “Holistic” Toothpastes
Some people feel that it’s healthier to choose fluoride-free toothpaste from “natural” brands sold stores. This minor routine change can deprive your tooth enamel of the natural minerals that it needs to stay strong.