What to Look For in Your Toothpaste

In today’s market, the number of brands and formulations of toothpaste is almost innumerable!  It can be tough, standing in the dental care aisle of your drugstore, to know which one to choose.  In this week’s blog, we will highlight a few important things that you should look for on your toothpaste label.

ADA Seal of Acceptance

Here in the U.S., all oral care products undergo a review process by the American Dental Association.  This process ensures the safety of all over-the-counter products sold to consumers.  When a product “passes”, the ADA gives it their “Seal of Acceptance”. 

You should look for this seal on the outside of your toothpaste packaging to confirm that the product is safe for use.  If it has the seal, that means the ADA has tested it for things like the appropriate level of fluoride and a non-damaging level of abrasiveness (especially important in whitening toothpastes).

Fluoride

Fluoride is the active ingredient in most toothpastes available over the counter today.  It may appear as Sodium Fluoride, Stannous Fluoride, or Sodium MonoFluoroPhosphate.  Fluoride strengthens enamel and dentin, helping them fight the bacteria that cause cavities. 

When incorporated into a developing tooth early in life, it promotes healthy teeth with strong enamel that have a lower risk for cavities throughout a person’s lifetime.  When applied topically (through toothpaste), it can re-harden areas of damage through a process called remineralization.

Fluoride is an essential ingredient in oral care products for anyone with a high risk for cavities. 

Other Remineralizing Agents

We know that some people are wary of fluoride, and while we believe strongly that it is perfectly safe, we also respect your personal choices.  If you (or a loved one) happen to have a high risk for cavities and would prefer to avoid fluoride, you need to search for a different remineralizing agent in your toothpaste.  These may be more difficult to find at your local grocery store or pharmacy, but they are widely available online.

  • Nanohydroxyapatite – This mineral is a wonderful remineralizing agent to rebuild and strengthen natural tooth structure.  Nanohydroxyapatite is beneficial for lowering the risk for cavities and fighting acid erosion of the teeth. 
  • Amorphous Calcium Phosphate – This ingredient, often shortened to ACP, is a great fluoride-free option for strong teeth.  This one is more difficult to find over-the-counter, but we can always provide you with the prescription products that contain this remineralizer, when indicated.
  • Arginine – This amino acid works to fight cavities and sensitive teeth by blocking the tiny pores in the dentin (the hard tooth structure underneath the outer coating of enamel).  You might find it more readily in a serum or soft-chew than in toothpaste at this time.

Desensitizing Ingredients

People who suffer from sensitive teeth are thrilled to find a toothpaste that actually works.  Sensodyne is the flagship and gold standard for fighting tooth sensitivity, and it does so with an ingredient called Potassium Nitrate.  This chemical actually calms down the hypersensitive nerve inside the tooth. 

The important thing to understand about this type of desensitizer is that it takes time to work.  That means that you cannot expect immediate results.  You need to brush with a toothpaste containing this ingredient for a minimum of two weeks to feel relief from your sensitivity!

More Questions about Toothpastes?

Call Prosper Family Dentistry  at 972-347-1145 today to schedule a consultation with Dr. Jill, Dr. Cara and Dr. Summer.  They can answer any question you have about toothpaste ingredients and help you select the one that is right for your specific situation.

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