Toothpaste is an everyday utility, although we usually ignore its importance – we typically only make this acknowledgement when we need to choose from a dozen of them in the store. What should you look out for when you want to select toothpaste among many? In order to answer this question, we must consider the factors below.
What you have inside that tube is a mixture of substances whose origin can be traced as far back to the ancient Egyptians. In the past, ingredients such as crushed bones, pumice, and ashes were the principal elements of traditional toothpaste.
Today, we have witnessed the invention of modern toothpaste, which incorporates both new ingredients that are effective at preventing tooth decay, as well as ingredients that were used in the past. Some of the crucial elements of modern toothpaste include:
- Abrasives, which play a vital role in scrubbing away deposits and stains in the tooth surface, and also improve mechanical action. They contain mild cleansing ingredients such as hydrated silica, alumina, calcium carbonate, or dicalcium phosphate.
- Detergents, which include sodium lauryl sulfate, which is what causes a bubble production when brushing intensely. These substances are accountable for disintegrating and dissolving substances that would ordinarily be difficult to wash away.
- Fluoride, the key ingredient in toothpaste. Fluoride can occur in different forms such as sodium fluoride, stannous fluoride, or sodium monofluorophosphate. It is the active ingredients that protects the enamel against erosion and prevents tooth decay.
Aside from these principal ingredients, other substances such as preservatives, flavorings, and binders can be found in most toothpaste. This extra substance ensures the paste does not dry-out, split-out, or taste odd. Moreover, some toothpaste also includes other materials that perform therapeutic functions.
Two Major Types of Toothpaste
- Whitening toothpastes generally contain special abrasives or enzymes designed to help remove stains on the tooth’s surfaces. Whether or not they will work for you depends on why your teeth aren’t white in the first place: If it’s an extrinsic (surface) stain, they can be effective; however, they probably won’t help with intrinsic (internal) discoloration, which may require a professional whitening treatment.
- Toothpastes for sensitive teeth contains unique ingredients that can help to stop the function of the pain-sensitive nerve in the tooth. Potassium nitrate or strontium chloride are vital ingredients in this kind of paste. Tooth sensitivity occurs when the dentin loses its enamel protection. Please note that it can take a few weeks to experience any results.Therefore, how best should we select our toothpaste? Well, it depends on your need according to the factors listed above. However, the best approach is to choose a toothpaste recommended by the American Dental Association.