Have you ever wondered what was used to clean the teeth before toothpastes came into existence? People used neem sticks, baking soda, hydrogen peroxide, ginger, cinnamon, clove, peppermint, and certain essential oils.
What motivated people to switch over to toothpastes? Well, though the natural ingredients are harmless, some of them are overly abrasive to the enamel. The essential oils, if not diluted well, could cause burning sensations and blisters.
Toothpastes contain mild abrasives that remove plaque. They also contain certain active ingredients like fluoride, which makes our teeth resistant to decay as well as prevent diseases related to teeth and gums. Furthermore, certain special ingredients that are added to toothpaste remove stains and polish our teeth over time, resulting in a ‘whitening effect’. Lastly, toothpaste leaves a clean feeling in our mouth after rinsing and keeps our breath fresh.
Choosing the right toothpaste can be overwhelming, considering the number of products that are displayed on multiple aisles in almost any supermarket. Which type of toothpaste would you opt for – whitening, fluoride, tartar control, or herbal?
Let us look at the basics first. Toothpastes come in paste, gel or powder form. All of them contain more or less the same ingredients and are as effective. Hence, the type of toothpaste that you prefer is more a personal choice than a recommended one! Is there any ideal toothpaste that suits all? The answer is ‘No’.
The toothpaste that you choose depends on your unique oral needs (sensitive tooth, ulcers, dentures, etc.), dental disorders (if you are suffering from any) as well as your susceptibility to dental issues (bad breath, cavities, etc.)
- Whitening toothpaste is generally recommended for people having stained teeth as it contains mild abrasives that help to “polish” the teeth and also prevents build-up of stain and teeth discoloration.
- Fluoride toothpaste is recommended for people who are susceptible to developing cavities, as it protects the enamel and also strengthens the teeth. Most toothpaste contains this ingredient.
- Some people have sensitive teeth and gums and find it difficult (or nearly impossible) to consume foods that are hot (coffee, tea, soups) or cold (ice creams and soft drinks). In that case, toothpaste containing desensitizing ingredients such as potassium nitrate or strontium chloride is recommended.
- Tartar control toothpaste is recommended to prevent plaque build-up as it contains anti-tartar ingredients such as zinc citrate or pyrophosphates.
- Natural (herbal) toothpaste offers a combination of anti-cavity and whitening options.
- People wearing dentures should also clean with effervescent tablets and solutions in addition to brushing.
Remember that no toothpaste is effective if you do not follow a healthy oral routine – brushing twice a day and flossing once a day. But, choosing the right toothpaste can be a long-term solution to maintaining strong and healthy teeth in addition to preventing serious dental disorders.
Furthermore, stay away from toothpastes that promise the ‘magic’ of claiming to be an ‘all-rounder’ of all dental issues.