How to Choose a Quality Toothpaste 101

You’ve heard that the best thing you can do for your mouth is to have regular dental checkups and cleanings every 6 months, but what happens in between appointments? To ensure that your teeth and gums remain healthy and well taken care of, brushing with quality toothpaste is essential.

The exact compositions of different toothpastes vary slightly, but, in general, toothpastes should include the following things:

  • Gentle abrasives to remove plaque from teeth (magnesium carbonate, dehydrated silica gels, calcium carbonate, hydrated aluminum oxides, phosphate salts)
  • Substances that keep the toothpaste from drying out (glycerol, sorbitol, other “humectants”)
  • Thickeners to give the toothpaste a homogenous appearance and texture (seaweed, mineral colloids, synthetic cellulose, natural gum)
  • Flavoring agents that do not cause tooth decay (saccharin, for example)
  • Detergents to make the toothpaste foamy (sarcosinate)

Quality toothpastes should also contain fluoride to strengthen your tooth enamel and make your teeth more resistant to decay.

With rows and rows of toothpastes to choose from, picking the right one for you and your family can seem overwhelming and impossible. When you find one, make sure that the product is safe and does what it claims to do. (If the toothpaste claims to whiten your teeth, make sure it has a whitening agent in it, etc.)

If in doubt, just look for the American Dental Association’s seal of approval on the toothpaste box. This symbol indicates that the manufacturer has participated in a voluntary testing program conducted by the ADA to gauge a product’s safety and effectiveness. Any toothpaste containing sugar, for example, will not get the seal of approval.

For more information about oral health and hygiene, call one of the four Pannu Dental Care offices, located in Fremont, San Jose, Cupertino, and Dublin, California. Dr. Dalvir Pannu has been a practicing dentist since 1995, and has been invited by the American Dental Association to speak on several dental topics.

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