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The Ultimate Toothpaste Guide

The use of toothpaste began in Egypt around 5000 BC, years prior to the development of the first toothbrush. Still, the ingredients in ancient toothpaste are unlikely to be used today. Items, such as ground eggshells and ashes made of an ox's hooves, have been replaced by flavoring, foaming agents, pigments, sweeteners and fluoride compounds.

Nowadays, more than 300 million consumers in the United States use a toothpaste to clean their teeth. However, many people fail to find the paste that is best for their particular oral health needs.

Here is a guide to the most popular types of toothpaste and the advantages that they offer.

Cavity-Fighting Toothpaste

Toothpaste that claims to fight cavities includes fluoride. Fluoride has the ability to remineralize the teeth and make them more resistant to decay.

Dental decay is the process of demineralization that occurs as the teeth are subjected to the oral acids. As the acids dissolve the minerals of the tooth enamel, the tooth material weakens and holes, which are called cavities, form. 

Fluoride draws the displaced minerals back to the tooth enamel and combines with them, forming a new tooth material. This new enamel is better able to withstand acid exposure than the original tooth material.

Tartar Control Toothpaste

Tartar control toothpaste helps reduce the amount of tartar that accumulates on the teeth. Tartar, which is hardened plaque, is difficult to remove. Thus, dentists use special scaling tools to scrape the porous, yellow substance from your teeth during dental appointments.

Nevertheless, tartar only develops if plaque is left in place for an extended period. Tartar control toothpaste helps remove the plaque before it becomes tartar. 

Sensitivity Control Toothpaste

Dental sensitivity may develop as the tooth enamel wears away or the gums recede. With less protection from environmental stimuli, such as cold, heat and pressure, the dental nerves may cause chronic oral discomfort.

Toothpaste that is used to control dental sensitivity contains substances, such as potassium nitrate, to hinder or block pain signals from being transmitted by the nerves within a tooth. To realize the full benefit of the desensitization, you will likely need to use the sensitivity control toothpaste multiple times.  

Anti-Gingivitis Toothpaste

Gingivitis is an early form of gum disease. The condition occurs when the acids from oral bacteria inflame the gingival tissues. 

Anti-gingivitis toothpaste helps eliminate the microbes of the mouth to discourage the development of gingivitis. Antimicrobial agents, such as chlorhexidine, are often active ingredients in an anti-gingivitis toothpaste.

Whitening Toothpaste

Stains on the teeth develop as pigments from ingested substances become lodged in the pores of the teeth. As the pigments accumulate, the teeth become progressively discolored.

Whitening toothpaste includes mildly abrasive ingredients, such as sodium bicarbonate and titanium dioxide, to gently polish away stains. Hydrogen peroxide, which is a bleaching agent, may also be included in a whitening toothpaste.

All-natural Toothpaste

For people who are trying to avoid chemicals, an all-natural toothpaste may be an option. These pastes contain ingredients that are found in nature, such as peppermint extracts, activated charcoal, and coconut oil.

Some people even choose to make their own natural toothpaste by combining ingredients that they have at home. Baking soda, coconut oil, stevia and peppermint oil are commonly used in homemade natural toothpaste preparations.

Denture Toothpaste

A denture toothpaste is specially designed to remove stains and plaque from dentures. You apply the toothpaste to the appliance with a toothbrush as you would apply a paste to natural teeth.

Some types of toothpaste address multiple dental concerns in the same formulation. If you are unsure of the best toothpaste for your individual needs, contact the office of Steven Devins, DDS to schedule a consultation.