Toothpaste isn’t absolutely essential to cleaning your teeth. You can brush without it and can remove the plaque. But it helps get them a little cleaner. So which is the best toothpaste?
The main working ingredient in toothpaste is an abrasive.
Some of them are too abrasive.
Smokers’ toothpastes can be very abrasive. A solution to tenacious stains is Supersmile® toothpaste which, rather than having a harsh abrasive, relies on a chemical that dissolves the protein pellicle. In addition, it is extra gentle to patients with cosmetic dental work such as dental bonding or porcelain veneers. I recommended it to all my patients with staining problems, who had tooth whitening done, or who had cosmetic work.
The importance of fluoride in the best toothpaste
Most of these teeth cleaning agents will have fluoride in them. This has been shown to help fight cavities. The small amount of fluoride that they contain is absorbed by the teeth and is incorporated into the outermost surface of the tooth. What happens is that little spots of tooth decay start and your saliva works to repair those defects. When you brush with fluoride, that accelerates the repair and extra fluoride is added to the repair site as a part of the repair.
Some care needs to be exercised with fluoride-containing dentifrices and small children. It is possible to swallow too much, and this can have an adverse effect on the teeth. So limit your children to a pea-sized drop of toothpaste on their brush, and then you’re safe if they should swallow some.
So which toothpaste is best?
So which brand should you use? It depends on your needs.
If you have no special needs, get one with fluoride in it with the seal of the American Dental Association. These have been tested under controlled clinical situations and shown to be effective in fighting decay.
Do you want a whitening toothpaste? A dentifrice won’t whiten the inner structure of the tooth because whitening agents, in order to affect the structure of the tooth, need to soak in. Their whitening power comes from the removal of surface stains.
If you have cosmetic dental work or if you have a special tooth staining problem, I’d recommend Supersmile®. This is one of two dentifrices that have been tested and proven safe for bonding and other delicate cosmetic dentistry, besides having a whitening action. Many are too abrasive for bonding or porcelain veneers and will cause scratches in the materials, loss of luster, or excess wear. Supersmile® and Rembrandt® have gentle abrasives. Supersmile® has the added benefit of having a gentle but powerful stain dissolving agent that will gently remove smoking stains, stains from Peridex mouth rinse, or other stubborn stains. Because it’s not available in stores, we provide links on this website to a place where you can buy Supersmile® for a discount.
If you have problems with bad breath, you may want to try the special toothpastes for bad breath. BreathRx makes an excellent bad-breath-fighting formula, and so does Dr. Harold Katz’s TheraBreath company. Visit our bad breath page for information on how to get those products.
If you have sensitive teeth, get a toothpaste that is designed for sensitive teeth.
All of these special dentifrices can be manufactured with fluoride in them. Look for the fluoride content on the label.
Did you know that chewing gum is good for your teeth? It can be an effective way to clean the teeth when you can’t brush? It’s true.
Read Dr. Hall’s blog posts about toothpaste, where he answers questions from visitors.
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This content was written by Dr. David Hall.