The shelves at your local convenience store are loaded with toothpaste choices and come in various sizes and flavors. But, in addition to the taste and cost, you should use a more important factor as you pick your toothpaste: your teeth.
When it comes to brushing, everyone’s teeth are unique, and what works for your other family members might not be best for you (or vice versa). It can be challenging to pick a toothpaste that tastes great, works well for everyone, and is affordable.
So how do you conquer this challenge? Read on to find the tips that will help you find the right toothpaste for your teeth!
1. Start With the Seal
One way to quickly weed out your choices is to look for the ADA Seal of Acceptance on your toothpaste. The ADA, or American Dental Association, doesn’t work like the Federal Drug Administration (FDA). It’s not required for manufacturers to have this seal before they can sell their products.
However, reputable companies want to have this label because it establishes a relationship of trust between them and the consumer. When the ADA approves toothpaste, it means it’s a safe and effective way to reduce tooth decay (the goal of all toothpaste).
Achieving this seal only happens with toothpaste with fluoride, but other ingredients can boost oral health. Some kinds offer reduced teeth sensitivity, decreased tartar buildup or gingivitis, or whitening effects. They can also add flavoring, as long as those flavors don’t contribute to tooth decay.
It’s the manufacturer’s responsibility to submit research-backed data demonstrating their product’s safety and efficacy. If the ADA reviews the information and agrees with the claims, it will add the seal to the product.
As you’re scanning through your selections, skip it and keep looking if you don’t see the ADA seal.
2. Know Your Teeth and Shop for Them
Do you (or does someone in your home) have sensitive teeth? Gingivitis? Periodontitis? Surface stains?
When you recognize the issues, you can target your search to look for ADA-approved toothpaste that helps fix the problem.
Shopping for Sensitive Teeth and Gum Disease
For instance, if you need a toothpaste that reduces the pain of sensitive teeth, you’ll want a product that markets itself for that issue. These usually have potassium nitrate or strontium chloride as the active ingredients.
With 5% or more, these two ingredients block the nerve pathways in the teeth and reduce the pain you feel when hot and cold temperatures hit your roots.
Sensitive teeth caused by bruxism need a little extra TLC. In addition to the right toothpaste, consider adding some natural remedies for teeth grinding into your routine. Without fixing the problem, sensitive toothpaste is similar to putting a bandaid on it.
The same idea applies if you’re dealing with gum disease. You’ll need a toothpaste that is designed for the level of your condition. Gingivitis and periodontitis are distinctly different.
If you have advanced gum disease (periodontitis), you’ll probably use a prescription toothpaste from your dentist. Gingivitis can be reversed, so it’s a wise idea to use a pricier toothpaste that works to eliminate the problem rather than letting it advance further.
3. Avoid Certain Ingredients
As long as you stick with the ADA-approved seal step, you shouldn’t need to check the ingredients too closely. However, some products, like tartar-control toothpaste, can have an ingredient called Triclosan in them.
Triclosan is an antibiotic. It works well at killing bacteria, but it’s not recommended for the average user. You might need this level of control if you have progressive gum disease or your dentist suggests it. If you’re shopping for general use, it should be avoided.
One more thing to watch for is toothpaste made in China that isn’t ADA-approved. These often contain the right chemicals, but at a higher level than is safe for your dental health. These products can also contain a chemical called diethylene glycol, which was deemed unsafe by the New Zealand government.
Check the label to find out if it’s ADA-approved and where it was made. Be sure to avoid anything with Triclosan in it unless you’ve been prescribed that toothpaste, and don’t use toothpaste with diethylene glycol.
Finding the right toothpaste for you is more than checking the cost and flavor (although, let’s be honest, flavor matters when you’re putting the product in your mouth).
Look for the ADA seal, find products designed for your unique dental health, and recognize the warning signs. With these three tips, you’ll happily scrub your teeth with the ideal toothpaste for your bright, healthy smile.