Toothpaste – choices, choices

How do I choose a toothpaste?

When I walk the Oral Care isle of the drug store or supermarket I am amazed at all the different toothpastes to choose from.  Just like bath soap, kitchen cleaners etc.  How does one decide 'the right' product to use?  First and foremost – all you really need to clean your teeth is a brush.  A soft brush.  What you are removing is a 'sticky like' substance -plaque- that has a pudding consistency.  I will get more with the toothbrush later.  So how you choose a paste really depends on a persons needs.  How much to use – a 'pea size' amount, squeezed into the bristles works best.  If you are using more, you are wasting the product. 

Toothpaste Ingredients


More often toothpaste has two types of ingredients- active – what makes them work or 'special' to your needs and inactive- what binds them together or makes it taste good, or not necessarily needed.   The ingredients listed below are not indicative to all pastes, but a general list. 

Active Ingredients:

  • Fluoride – is a mineral that has shown to mineralize and strengthen tooth structure
  • Antibacterial agents, most often Triclosan is used to control plaque (bacteria)
  • Desensitizing agents – Potassium Nitrate is used to help with temperature sensitivity
  • Anti-tartar agents – to decrease the amount of tartar/calculus buildup
  • Sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) – an abrasive to help clean and also neutralize acid in the saliva
  • Enzymes, to enhance the antibacterial properties of saliva
  • Xylitol, a non-sugar sweetener, which reduces levels of cariogenic (decay causing) bacteria in the mouth and enhances remineralization

Inactive Ingredients:

  • Water
  • Detergent – Sodium Lauryl Sulfate to make the toothpaste foam
  • Binding agents to hold the 'stuff' together
  • Humectants to retain moisture
  • Flavoring, sweetening, and coloring agents like peppermint, spearmint, cinnamon, wintergreen, and menthol
  • Preservatives
  • Abrasives for cleaning and polishing

Choosing a Toothpaste

You should choose a toothpaste based on your needs.  If you tend to buildup lots of tartar in a short period of time, then you should try using a tartar control paste and see if this helps to decrease your tartar buildup.  Are you having difficulty with cold or hot temperature than consider a toothpaste for sensitive teeth.  A baking soda paste works well for stain.  Some individuals have problems with Sodium Lauryl Sulfate and you might consider a paste without this ingredient. 

No matter what toothpaste you choose, toothpaste will never take the place of a professional dental hygiene cleaning.  Ask your Dental Hygienist what paste she would recommend for you. 

Are you searching for 'just the right place and person' to give you an awesome dental cleaning?  Call Dental Fitness & Spa and schedule for a professional dental cleaning today – 970-214-8420


Leave a Reply