Toothpaste and Toothbrush are essential complementary dentifrice that almost everybody get used to in their lifetime. Unlike other dental products like dental floss and mouthwashes, they are very popular and universal.
Toothpaste use can promote good oral hygiene: it can aid in the removal of dental plaque and food from the teeth, it can aid in the elimination and/or masking of halitosis, and it can deliver active ingredients such as fluoride to prevent tooth and gums disease.
We all have learnt and taught our kids about good habits. We begin our day with brushing our teeth. Well, is it just brushing or proper brushing we should be concerned about? Now it is a big confusion. So many branded toothbrushes and toothpastes are available.
The question is which one is suitable for me and for my family?
Let us take a dive to know about toothpastes.
Toothpastes are available in gel, paste and powder form. Choosing one, is based on your personal preference and sometimes on your dentist’s recommendations.
A modern toothpaste which is branded toothpaste must generally have the following components.
- It must have abrasives to scour off bacterial films.
- It must have fluorides to harden the teeth against decay.
- It must have a strong enough flavor to hide the bad tastes of decaying bits of previous meals, and the awful taste of some of the other ingredients, such as detergents and phosphates.
- Toothpaste must have thickeners to stay on the toothbrush, and squeeze out of the tube.
- It must have detergents to remove fatty films,
- It must have water softeners to make the detergents work better
- It must have sweeteners, preferably non-nutritive, so bacteria are not encouraged.
- The anti-bacterial agent is added to kill plaque-forming micro-organisms.
This kind of toothpaste is efficient enough to clean all teeth and to keep the mouth fresh for extended periods.
There are some medicated toothpastes available as well. These should be chosen based on the suggestion from a dental surgeon. Some of such toothpastes are grouped based on the extra function they perform:
- Fluoridated toothpaste
Fluoride is a mineral which can reduce occurrence of tooth cavities. It can also re-mineralise cavities in the early stages and thus strengthen the teeth. Fluoride containing toothpastes are thus recommended for people who have high chances of having holes on their teeth.
N.B when fluoride is swallowed in higher quantities, it can get deposited in bones and be dangerous to general health of the body. Hence its use should be restricted to kids above 6 years and for adults who have control on their swallow reflex. To simply this, we talk about age-appropriate tooth pastes.
Almost all the common tooth paste has fluoride in Nigeria and are endorsed by either NDA/ FDI not just NAFDAC alone.
- Tartar control toothpastes
Tartar is the hard deposit that gets collected over the surfaces of teeth. They harbour bacteria. These tooth pastes are recommended for people who have higher tendency to develop deposits over their teeth which get hardened over time.
- Toothpaste for sensitive teeth
Sensitivity in teeth on consuming hot or cold food or beverages is a quite common problem. Toothpastes which reduce sensitivity contain potassium nitrate and other ingredients. Sensitivity in teeth is due to opening of channels in dentine of teeth with nerve fibres to variations in the mouth environment. Desensitising toothpastes block these channels and thus reduce pain or discomfort.
- Teeth whitening toothpastes
These contain ingredients like hydrogen peroxide which lighten the tooth colour. Thus they make teeth look whiter and brighter. But they are not advisable in the long run as there is risk of enamel loss and tooth sensitivity.
- Toothpaste for kids
They are milder in action, have little fluoride and contain various flavouring agents to make the paste more acceptable to kids.
READ ALSO DENTAL TIPS FOR CHILDREN
It is not only what kind of toothbrush or paste you have chosen, but also the method of using them is what matters the most. Cultivate proper brushing techniques, reduce snacks in between food, increase fluid intake, chewing sugar free gums all reward you with strong teeth for lifetime.
Click here to read about tooth brushing.