Whitening, Sensitivity Relief, or Tartar Control: Which Toothpaste is Right for You?

When you go to the store are you overwhelmed by the range of toothpastes available? The marketing messages put out by toothpaste brands can be confusing. Take a look at these key differences between the various types of toothpaste to work out which one is right for you.

Fluoride Toothpaste

HealthDirect recommends that all adults select a toothpaste that contains at least 1,450 parts per million fluoride. Most mainstream toothpastes meet this recommendation, but some natural toothpastes don't contain fluoride at all. Dentists recommend steering clear of these fluoride-free toothpastes and instead choosing a product that meets the 1,450 ppm fluoride recommendation.

Whitening Toothpaste

Whitening toothpastes contain tiny abrasive particles that scrub stains away from the surfaces of your teeth. This type of toothpaste is a good choice if you want a whiter smile. Although some people worry that whitening toothpastes could wear away tooth enamel, studies show that they cause no more enamel damage than other types of toothpaste. If you want to use whitening toothpaste every day to keep your smile bright, you can do so safely.

Toothpastes for Sensitive Teeth

If your teeth are sensitive to hot and cold, a toothpaste for sensitive teeth could be the right choice for you. These toothpastes contain ingredients that block tiny openings in the tooth structure, protecting the nerves inside teeth from unwanted sensations. Look for a toothpaste with strontium chloride or potassium nitrate, which can gradually reduce sensitivity.

Tartar Control Toothpastes

Bacteria in your mouth collect on your teeth, forming a film called plaque. Brushing and flossing remove plaque, but if you forget to brush or miss some surfaces with your bristles, plaque can remain on the teeth and harden into a scaly substance called tartar. Dentists remove tartar during professional teeth cleaning treatments, but it is difficult to remove yourself at home. Tartar control toothpastes are specially designed to stop tartar building up on your teeth, but in fact any toothpaste can reduce the risk of tartar if you use it every day.

Which Toothpaste Should You Use?

The type of toothpaste you should select depends on the particular benefits you need it to provide. If you simply want to reduce your risk of cavities, select a toothpaste that has at least 1,450 ppm of fluoride and use it twice a day. In combination with daily flossing and regular dental checkups, fluoride toothpaste can protect you from dental decay.