One of the best ways to find out which kind of toothpaste is the best option for you is to ask your dentist for a personal recommendation. However, if you are running out of toothpaste now and your next checkup is still some time away, there are some principles that you can follow to find a good toothpaste for yourself and your family.
Should You Use a Fluoride Toothpaste?
Dentists recommend using a toothpaste that contains fluoride to lower your risk of tooth decay. Fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral that is present to some degree in drinking water and helps to strengthen tooth enamel to make it more resistant to cavities. By brushing your teeth with fluoride toothpaste, you give them extra strength and protection.
Fluoride-free toothpastes exist to meet demand from people who believe that fluoride is harmful to their health. These toothpastes are generally not recommended by dentists. Apart from a very small number of people who are allergic to fluoride, the vast majority can use toothpaste safely with no chance of consuming enough fluoride to have an adverse reaction.
Should You Use a Whitening Toothpaste?
If you regularly drink coffee or red wine, or you are a smoker, you might find that whitening toothpaste helps to limit the degree of staining that affects your teeth. Whitening toothpastes are not a substitute for professional whitening treatments, which strip away stains to produce a dramatically whiter smile. However, they can help to prevent stains from developing if you use them every day.
Should You Use Toothpaste For Sensitive Teeth?
If you ever feel pain in your teeth when you sip a hot drink, eat ice cream or drink a glass of iced water, you might have sensitive teeth. Sensitive teeth do not hurt all the time, but they can be painful when they come into contact with something very hot or very cold. Desensitising toothpaste contains compounds that block the oversensitive nerves in sensitive teeth, allowing you to enjoy all your favourite foods and drinks.
Some people worry that using desensitising toothpaste could prevent them from feeling the pain of a cavity or other dental issue that requires attention from a dentist. However, this situation is unlikely. Cavities usually cause pain when the decay reaches the inner part of the tooth, whereas toothpastes for sensitive teeth block signals from the outer tooth. As long as you attend dental checkups regularly, your dentist should be able to identify and fix cavities long before they become advanced enough to cause pain.
Contact a local dentist if you have questions.