Kara Johansen BSRDH
The dental isle in the grocery store can be very overwhelming. Rows and rows of toothpastes, mouth rinses, and floss. We are here to help make that isle less confusing. In a previous post Julie West BS RDH wrote about mouth rinses, thanks Julie! So here is the breakdown of toothpaste.
What is the purpose of toothpaste?
There are 4 reasons to use toothpaste. 1. Fluoride 2. Bacterial Plaque reduction 3. Tartar Inhibition 4. Desensitization. Here is the breakdown of each type of toothpaste.
- Fluoride has been the greatest public health venture in the United States. The most rampant form of disease in children is dental decay. Fluoride can cause a 20-30% decrease in decay (451, Wilkins). The fluoride remineralizes areas of decay that are in the beginning stages. When your dentist says they are going to “watch” a tooth it means that the he/she understands the decay can remineralize with good oral hygiene, great nutritional habits and fluoride use.
- Here is a tip: switch up your oral hygiene routine.
- Brush for 2 min with fluoridated toothpaste.
- Walk away. Do not rinse after you brush. You want the fluoride to stay on your teeth and remineralize that weak spot that the dentist is watching.
- Fluoride also helps with: tooth sensitivity, deceases tooth loss, promotes less frequency of periodontal diseases, overall bone health and bacterial reduction.
Bacterial Plaque Reduction-
- There are different products in toothpastes to decrease the amount of bacteria in the mouth. Some of these products are: Triclosan, fluoride, Chlorhexidine, peroxide and bicarbonate, sanguinaria, and essential oils.
- Brushing and flossing is the best way to reduce the majority of cavity causing bacteria in the mouth. Plaque is like pancake batter, it is sticky. Mechanical Removal will have the greatest affect on decreasing plaque levels in the mouth.
- The goal of these toothpastes are to reduce the production of tartar. These toothpastes however, do not have any effect on existing tatar. The toothpastes is meant to reduce the amount of tartar initially created. The only true way to get rid of tartar is mechanical removal by your dentist or hygienist. Come for you cleanings, they would love to help you out with that part. If you don’t love the scrapping do you part at home, brush with an electric toothbrush and floss two times per day.
- Sensitive teeth are no fun. Cold, hot , sweet foods or drinks, and mechanical forces can cause sensitivity.
- How did I get sensitive teeth? This can be caused by multiple factors. The most common is tooth root exposure. When the gums recede a part of the tooth called dentin is exposed. It is a much more porous structure and sensitivity happens frequently.
- When you are seeking out a toothpaste for sensitivity look for the active ingredients. Flip that tube of toothpaste over and take a peek. Potassium Nitrate calms down the nerve that is more sensitive with exposed dentin. Sodium and stannus fluoride strengthen and occlude the more porous dentin. A mix of Potassium Nitrate and fluoride is your best bet for desensitization.
- MI Paste RECALDENT (CPP-ACP) has been found to help with sensitivity. Like fluoride it blocks the small porous openings of dentin. You can get a prescription for it from your dentist.
- Other Products: Sensodyne, Pronamel, Colgate Sensitive Pro Relief, etc. Scan the dental isle.
What is in my toothpaste?
Cleaning and Polishing 20-40%
- An abrasive is used to clean and the polish smooths the surface of the tooth. These agents help to decrease the adherence of stain and plaque buildup.
- Possible agents: Calcium carbonate, IMP, dicalcium phosphate, hydrated aluminum oxide, and silica
- Detergents make your toothpaste foam and are surfactants. They lower the surface tension, loosen stains, foam, and emulsify debris.
- Possible agents: sodium laurel sulfate, sodium cocomonoglyceride sulfonate
- Sodium Laurel Sulfate can cause sloughing of the tissue, make one more prone to canker sores and decreases healing time of mouth sores for some people. Patients who experience this should avoid Sodium Laurel Sulfate. Sensodyne does not use sodium laruel sulfate, this product would be a good choice for you.
- Binders keep your the solid and liquid ingreadients together
Now the next time you walk down the dental isle hopefully you will know exactly what type of toothpaste is perfect for you and your needs. If you have more questions ask your dentist or dental hygienist. Watch out for the next post on what type of floss to choose, its going to be a duesy. Happy brushing and don’t forget to floss.
GC America Professional Dental Site. Frequently Asked Questions. Retrieved from http://www.mi-paste.com/faq.php
Wilkins, E. M. (1994). Clinical Practice of the Dental Hyginienist: Seventh Edition. Media, PA: Williams and Wilkins.