Toothpaste (or a gel dentifrice) is something most of us take for granted – it’s always there when we need it, and most of us don’t give much thought to what it’s made of. With the toothpaste market as big as it is, with many different products promising different effects, it can be a tough job to choose which pea sized potion will give you a dazzling smile, kissable breath, rid you of dental sensitivity, or fight against dental and gum disease.
Toothpaste is a cleansing agent used to clean your teeth and aid in the elimination of halitosis (bad breath). The main cleaning is done with the mechanical friction effect from brushing with your toothbrush. Toothpaste acts as a lubricant, easing the friction of the brush’s bristles on your teeth and gum. A modern toothpaste does incorporate several key elements, so in your two minute “good brushing routine with a pea size potion,” you can do quite a bit of good for your mouth. Toothpaste has abrasives to scour off bacterial films, it has fluorides to harden tooth structures against decay. It can also contain different active ingredients serving various purposes, such as triclosan (an antibacterial agent which fights against plaque-forming microbes), pyrophosphate (a tartar control agent), potassium nitrate (desensitizer), carbomide peroxide (bleaching agent) and sodium lauryl sulfates (detergent and foaming agent to carry away debris).
Some ingredients like lauryl sulfates can irritate soft tissues, or allergic reactions with certain people (often replaced with lauryl sarcosinate). There are many other inactive ingredients in toothpaste, like thickeners which serve for the right viscosity and moisture of the paste, water softener to make detergent work better, flavor and sweetener for a more pleasant brushing experience. Wow, there are too many chemicals in that little bit of paste! If you prefer a more holistic approach for your oral hygiene, you may choose all-natural products like Tooth & Gums paste(which are antibacterial but contain no artificial chemicals).
Other things about the marketing slogan “Teeth Whitening” – this simply means removing surface stains, not actually whitening the color of your teeth. Make sure your children do not consume any fluoride-containing toothpaste, only use as a topical agent. After brushing, be sure to rinse well. If you still have questions about which toothpaste is right for you, consult with your dental professional!