Our teeth are pretty good indicators of our health and overall hygiene. Health issues such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease, osteoporosis and even lung cancer can show up as early warning signs in our teeth! It is therefore imperative that we keep our teeth clean. With the invention of toothpastes, cleansing teeth has never been made easier, effective and safer!
While picking out a toothpaste for yourself, there are certain things that you should consider to ensure that you get the best treatment for your teeth. Certain things to look out for are:
The American Dental Association or ADA, the oldest and largest national dental association in the world, has certain standards in place to ensure that toothpastes are safe and effective for you and the public. While most toothpastes sold in the market meet the ADA’s strict standards, certain unfamiliar brands do slip past the ADA’s radar. Ensure that you look out for the approval stamp on the toothpaste before you pick up a brand.
Some of the ADA standards are as follows:
- Active ingredients : Toothpaste must contain active ingredients as it helps boost oral hygiene.
- Flavoring-agents: Some toothpastes contain harmful chemicals like flavoring agents which lead to tooth decay.
- Fluoride: As the mineral wards off cavities, ADA guidelines state that toothpastes must contain the ingredient in order to be effective.
2) Check Fluoride Content
Fluoride is a natural mineral that protects the enamel of the teeth and wards off cavities; you must look for toothpastes that contain fluoride. Recent studies indicate that fluoride present in both water and toothpastes can and does reduce cavities. Remember, cavities are preventable and your teeth deserve the best defense against it!
3) Choose customized toothpastes for your specific dental problem
Some toothpastes that are sold in the market are created to cater to people with certain types of dental problems. For example, if you are experiencing sensitive teeth/oral sensitivity issues, you can opt for toothpastes that say ‘Sensitive’ on the tube or box. Do check with your dentist if he or she can recommend a brand that can help with the particular dental issue you are facing.
4) For stains and teeth discoloration opt whitening toothpastes
If you want whiter teeth and brighter smiles, you can opt for whitening toothpastes as these contain chemicals that not only help polish your teeth but remove discoloration and stains. Note: If you are suffering from sensitive teeth, it’s best to give whitening toothpastes a pass, as the harsh chemicals contained in these toothpastes will further exacerbate the issue.
5) Ensure the toothpaste does not contain too high RDA levels
Relative Dentin Abrasivity or RDA helps determine the level of harshness of the paste. RDA levels of 250 or less are relatively safe. However, toothpastes that have RDA levels higher than 250 are generally unsafe and can lead to permanent damage to your enamel if used in the long-run. While picking out your toothpaste, do check for information regarding the RDA levels of the product.
6) For tartar troubles, opt for tartar-control toothpastes
Tartar, a hardened layer of bacteria/plaque that forms both before and after brushing the teeth, can lead to gum disease and is difficult to remove without dental cleanings. If you are suffering from tartar, you can opt for tartar-control toothpastes. Chemicals such as zinc citrate and pyrophosphates help prevent tartar buildup.
7) Avoid sugary toothpastes
There are many toothpastes in the market today that contain sugar to make the toothpaste more palatable. However, sugar leads to teeth decay in the long-run. While ADA approved toothpastes won’t contain sugar, many children’s toothpastes do. If you have any children, try to get your child to transition to regular toothpastes or ADA approved ones.
With the invention of toothpastes, we’ve come a long way from using burnt charcoal and crushed bones. Humans are one of the few species that are capable of smiling apart from our close cousins, viz., chimpanzees. As a social species, smiling during social interaction not only indicates your overall health and hygiene but is a crucial social cue that helps break tension, indicate friendliness and even form bonds. As such, it is important that you give your pearly-whites the best long-term care.
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