Oral & Vision Health Blog

So Many Toothpaste Choices—What are the Differences?

With so many toothpaste choices, what are the differences between each one? Let’s explore the elements of each type.

  • Whitening Toothpaste Whitening toothpastes use chemical or abrasive cleaning agents to remove plaque build-up and stains on teeth. This can make them whiter in appearance. These toothpastes are great for cosmetic tooth care. 
  • Tartar Prevention - Tartar prevention toothpastes are designed to prevent build-up of tartar on teeth. Often confused with plaque, tartar is the build-up of calcium phosphate crystals on your teeth. These toothpastes reduce the formation and deposits of those substances. If you already have discoloration and tartar build-up, only a thorough cleaning by a dental health professional can remove it. 
  • Fluoride Toothpaste - Fluoride toothpaste is anti-microbial. It cleans plaque from your teeth and prevents build-up throughout the day. Fluoride toothpaste uses tiny amounts of stannous fluoride to disinfect your mouth. It has been shown to prevent cavities and sensitivity. 
  • Sensitive Toothpaste - These toothpastes are specifically designed for people with sensitivity to hot and cold. These toothpastes use potassium nitrate which reduces sensitivity. While sensitivity could be a sign of needing dental care (cavities, gum disease, etc.), sometimes you can manage it by the toothpaste you choose. If you have sensitive teeth, you should see a dentist to ensure that it is not a result of other dental problems. 
  • Natural Toothpaste - People choose "natural" products for many reasons. Typically it’s to avoid chemicals and preservatives found in more “mainstream” products. There are many herbal and natural toothpastes which use different anti-microbial, sensitivity or whitening solutions in their formulas. When a company is advertising a natural remedy, it is important that you research the company. You should also consult a dentist about your options.

With so many choices in toothpastes, it can get overwhelming about which is best for you. But, you’re not alone. Dentists and oral hygienists know the different types of toothpaste and how they work. You can ask for recommendations based on your personal oral health needs. And remember: in addition to brushing daily, you should be flossing, as well! 

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