We’ve all been there. Blank stares at the wall of options all claiming to be the best choice for your pearly whites. Whitening, sensitivity, cavity protection, gingivitis and bad breath…what really makes a toothpaste good at its job?
Typically, you want a toothpaste with at least 1,000 parts per million fluoride and the American Dental Association stamp of approval. Everything else is generally a matter of personal preference. It all comes down to how fresh it makes your mouth feel and how well the toothpaste cleans your teeth.
But with so many choices, features, and flavors, it can be overwhelming and hard to know what to look for.
A Few Things to Know About Toothpaste Claims
Whitening: does it really work?
Yes, although some toothpastes may not contain enough active ingredients to see results immediately. Long term use could also lead to sensitivity issues.
Sensitivity: are over the counter toothpastes effective?
Good news! Over the counter toothpastes have proven quite effective with sensitivity issues. However, if you are not experiencing the results you want, then talk to your doctor about a prescription paste.
Enamel Restoration: can a toothpaste really restore enamel?
This depends entirely on the condition of your teeth. A fluoridated toothpaste can help restore enamel before decay has occurred. Once decay is present, there are no guarantees.
Rinsing: is it best to rinse after brushing?
No. A good rule of thumb is to wait at least a half hour before eating or drinking after brushing. You want all that good fluoride to settle in and do its job. Brushing before bed is a great way to let that happen.
Aloe Vera: is it needed for good oral health?
You may be seeing some brands including aloe vera in their toothpastes. While it can aid in fighting plaque and gingivitis, there is little evidence that it is more effective than traditional toothpaste.
No matter what choice you land on for your toothpaste, be sure to check the fluoride content. Along with flossing, brushing is a vital part of daily oral care. The paste, powder, or gel you choose turns your brush into a weapon against plaque to properly clean and protect your teeth and gums. Regular visits to your dentist will help prevent major issues and keep you on top of your oral care.