Toothpaste is toothpaste, right? Choosing the right toothpaste should be easy! Well, if you’ve seen the toothpaste section of any shop, you’ll know this isn’t quite true. Although the vast majority of toothpastes contain similar ingredients, various types of whitening, sensitive, fluoride, gel and flavoured toothpastes are available.
Here’s a guide to choosing the right one for you.
Everyone wants teeth free from staining, and nobody wants sensitive teeth. Whitening toothpaste often has abrasive ingredients that polish teeth and help remove stains, but it might not work as effectively on older stains and may lead to increased sensitivity. They are also not guaranteed to work on all people in exactly the same way, especially if you consider the ways teeth can end up stained through activities such as smoking and coffee consumption.
Sensitive toothpaste will contain more potassium nitrate, which helps to settle nerves in the tooth. Whilst it is recommended not to rinse your mouth after brushing with any toothpaste (see our Guide to Daily Dental Care). this is especially true with sensitive toothpaste, as it forms a protective coating over your teeth as you brush with it.
Also known as anti-cavity, this type of toothpaste will contain higher levels of fluoride for prevention of cavities. Stronger types of this toothpaste with even more fluoride are available on prescription.
Gel vs Paste?
It may seem that there’s not much of a difference between the two, but the slightly more abrasive texture of paste breaks down the waste in your mouth that little bit better than gel. However, if you prefer the texture of gel and take good care of your teeth, the benefits or demerits should be minimal.
Toothpaste flavours aren’t just variations of mint, some very unusual brands come in cupcake, pumpkin and curry, amongst others! This list will either inspire or disgust you: 15 of the world’s most bizarre toothpaste flavours.
Remember, ask your dentist!
Your dentist will be able to recommend the best toothpaste for the current condition of your teeth. You may find that you need sensitive toothpaste, or be advised to change your regular brand whilst recovering from dental work. Your dentist knows best, and if you follow good dental care, you should never be more than six months away from a check-up appointment.