Choosing the Right Toothpaste for Your Teeth

There are two kinds of people:  those who know exactly what kind of toothpaste they use and NEVER change it and those who go down the oral hygiene aisle and become completely overwhelmed with the choices offered.

Whichever group you fall into, however, you may want to pay attention, because as we get  older and as our bodies change, our teeth may need something different.  There’s a reason why there are so many choices of toothpaste, and no, it’s not to just drive us completely insane.

Let me ease your stress by giving you this handy guide on choosing the best toothpaste for your teeth.  Before we begin however, it’s important to make sure whatever toothpaste you use contains fluoride.  “Fluoride is important as it is effective in preventing tooth decay, strengthening enamel, and lowering the risk of cavities” (source).

If you have yellow teeth…

…chances are you’re trying to whiten them up.  First off, you should know that your teeth have been turning yellow for reasons.  The most common reasons are probably your eating, drinking, or smoking something that’s staining your teeth.  Coffees and teas are pretty big culprits to turning your teeth yellow.  We might suggest brushing your teeth after consumption.  A general rule, if it’s staining your tongue, it’s probably staining your teeth.

However, if your teeth are already yellows and you’re looking for your pearly whites to be, well, white, then we suggest looking for the toothpastes that have the word WHITE or WHITENING in it, such as Crest 3D White Luxe Glamorous White Toothpaste or Rembrandt Deeply White + Peroxide Whitening Toothpaste.  These aren’t really bleaching solutions as they are a solution to removing stains from your teeth.  We don’t really want to just cover up the stains.  We want a toothpaste that will tackle the problem by getting rid of them.  Whitening toothpastes usually do the trick (source).

If you have cavities…

…at this point, you definitely want to come in and see us.  And the biggest question we get is if you can reverse a cavity without needing a filling.  You can with a rigorous oral hygiene routine and upkeep.  But, just so we’re clear, if you have a severe cavity that has not been treated, you need it filled!

But none the less, if you have issues with cavities, choosing a toothpaste that has words such as “prevent & repair,” and you also want to make sure it has a high fluoride content.  Fluoride is “a mineral that can fill in these spots and harden the surface of the enamel.”  It’s also important you don’t use a tartar-control toothpaste.  These toothpastes stops mineral from forming on your teeth.  When using these toothpastes, you may not want to rinse.  Definitely spit, but if you skip the rinsing, you leave the fluoride in and working overtime on your teeth.  We want the good minerals to help with your cavities.   Colgate Sensitive Prevent and Repair Toothpaste and Colgate PreviDent 5000 Plus are the types of toothpastes you need, and you may even need a prescription for a high fluoride toothpaste from your dentist (source).

If you have sensitive teeth and/or gums…

…you might be brushing too hard!  Go figure!  Many people have the misconception that brushing hard is equivalent to brushing well.  But in fact, you could be causing more damage to your teeth and gums,and you might have sensitive teeth now.

However, that’s not always the case.  There are many reasons you could have sensitive teeth, and there are toothpastes that can help with that.  When shopping for a toothpaste that accommodates to your sensitive teeth, look for “strontium chloride” or “potassium nitrate” ingredients.  These desensitize your teeth and gums.  Sensodyne products are obviously toothpastes specifically for people with sensitive teeth, and this is a good way to go (source)

If you’re trying to prevent/treat tartar build-up…

As previously noted, if you’re trying to treat a cavity and treating tartar buildup as well, you’re not going to get very far.  Tartar prevention toothpastes rids the teeth of minerals, which, as we said, includes the cavity fighting mineral, fluoride.  Tartar is simply hardened plaque that hasn’t been removed.  It’s incredibly difficult to take off, and on top of that, it can be painful when you visit your dentist.  Obviously brush your teeth and floss regularly, but use a toothpaste that fights tartar.  You still want a good fluoride toothpaste but also find a toothpaste that also contains sodium polymetaphosphate.  These two ingredients together attack the tartar.  Crest Pro-Health Advanced Active Strengthening toothpaste is a good tartar treating selection (source, source).

If you’re a toddler…

…then I’m amazed you can read this!  Joking aside, if you’re shopping for toothpaste for your toddler you want to look for something that’s not too harsh.  You still want the important fluoride ingredient, however, other toothpastes that treat tartar and plaque build up might be too abrasive for your kid’s brand new teeth!  Definitely stick to the kids toothpaste, look for fluoride, and maybe even consider the flavor.  You want your kid to enjoy brushing their teeth.  Make sure you encourage them to spit and only give them a small amount of toothpaste, as too much ingested fluoride is bad for you toddler. Fun Colgate Kids Minions toothpaste contains fluoride and has a fun flavor you kid should love (source).

If you have dentures…

…your oral hygiene routine changes, but not too much.  It’s still important to brush your teeth regularly, but there are some added steps you want to go over with your dentist. Some people with dentures opt for tablets and solutions to clean their dentures.  Talk about that with your dentist.  If you plan on brushing your dentures, look for a sensitive toothpaste, such as Colgate Sensitive Complete Protection and use a soft bristled toothbrush (source).

Here are some tips on brushing your teeth properly:

  1.  Don’t brush too hard.  Just because your brushing hard doesn’t mean your brushing properly.  Unless your dentist tells you otherwise, use a medium to soft brush and let the right toothpaste to most of the work.
  2. Make sure you’re brushing behind your teeth as well.
  3. Brushing should take you at least two minutes.  Put a song on, or better yet, buy one of those toothbrushes that play a song while you brush.
  4. Brush your tongue.
  5. Be sure you spit, but don’t rinse.  Let the fluoride continue to do the work.

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Dr. Del Greenhalgh
Green Family Dental
10510 Montwood Drive
El Paso, TX 79935
(915) 778-4681