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Toothpaste 101

Klement Family DentalClean and fresh — that’s how we all feel after brushing our teeth, right? But toothpaste does more than that! One stop at the toothpaste aisle in your local drugstore will reveal an overwhelming array of available options, and the come in a variety of forms ranging from powders to pastes to gels. However, not all toothpastes are created equally. If you find yourself wondering what kind of toothpaste is right for you, consider the following five main toothpaste types.

1. Children’s Toothpaste

These toothpastes typically contain lower levels of fluoride than adult toothpastes do. Brands create these special formulas to protect kids who might accidentally swallow more toothpaste than is healthy. This type of toothpaste also typically contains fewer abrasives than adult formulas and features kid-friendly flavors, like bubblegum.

2. Toothpaste for Sensitivity

Formulas for sensitivity are designed to help lessen individual sensitivities to hot or cold food and drinks. They often contain potassium nitrate and strontium chloride, two active ingredients that can help lessen pain signals to the nerves in your teeth. These toothpastes are often effective, but they can take several weeks to begin relieving your discomfort.

3. Tartar Control Toothpaste

Tartar control toothpastes are widely available, and they’re popular with many consumers who use them to help prevent tartar from accumulating on teeth and above the gum line. Active ingredients include sodium pyrophosphate and sodium hexametaphosphate, which can help prevent tartar and staining. However, these ingredients won’t remove heavy tartar buildup.

4. Antibacterial/Antimicrobial Toothpastes

These toothpastes may contain active ingredients like triclosan or stannous fluoride, which are antibacterial agents that fight the germs that contribute to plaque formation. Studies have shown that these toothpastes are more effective than standard fluoride toothpaste in protecting your mouth from the germs that cause gingivitis and its more serious cousin, periodontitis, a potentially damaging infection that can lead to bone and tooth loss.

5. Whitening Toothpaste

Everyone wants a bright, shiny smile. Although these toothpaste formulas can help whiten your grin, the additional ingredients that lighten your teeth can also increase sensitivity. So, anyone with sensitive teeth typically should avoid these formulas. Otherwise, the combination of peroxide and abrasive agents can safely remove stains and polish your smile to a megawatt shine without damaging your tooth enamel.

Do you have more questions about choosing the right toothpaste or maintaining your dental health? Contact Klement Family Dental to schedule an appointment. We’ve been providing quality dental care to Tampa-area residents for more than 35 years, and we can help you with everything from routine preventive care to professional whitening and cosmetic dentistry.