I am a stickler for taking good care of my teeth, as well as my gums, not only for reasons of health, but also because I smile a lot. A smile can set the tone of any encounter so why not make the best impression we can.
Brushing twice a day is a regular routine for me – I hope it is for you, too. I’m also a firm believer in water flossing each night before bedtime as it removes any hard-to-get food particles. Water flossing also stimulates the blood circulation in the gums for stronger and healthier gums and teeth.
So What About Toothpaste?
Are all those ingredients as effective as claimed?
I looked into it.
Detergents, such as sodium lauryl sulfate and cocamidopropyl betaine. While they make the toothpaste foam as you brush, they don’t bolster cleaning power and some people who are sensitive to them could suffer sores or peeling of tissue.
Whiteners, like hydrogen peroxide and pyrophosphates. According to dental experts, these ingredients are not concentrated enough in toothpaste or in contact with the tooth surface long enough to be effective.
Desensitizers. Potassium nitrate reduces nerve sensitivity, and stannous fluoride can keep food and drink from stimulating nerves. So, used regularly, desensitizers can ease sensitivity, but from my readings, experts recommend discussing your sensitivity with your dentist first. She might suggest some other treatment.
Antimicrobials. Research has shown that the combined ingredients triclosan and fluoride reduced plaque and gingivitis more than fluoride-only products. But another study reported that triclosan may contribute to antibiotic resistance and disrupt immunity. Again, your dentist is your best advisor. There are mouth rinses for gingivitis, both over-the-counter and by prescription.
Xylitol. This is a non-sugar sweetener. It reduces levels of decay-causing bacteria in saliva. But most studies of its effectiveness are small and even brushing several times a day won’t provide enough to deliver significant benefit.
Choose toothpaste with an American Dental Association Seal of Acceptance that certifies it’s safe and effective. However, experts say there is not one that’s “best” for everyone. Instead find one you like that doesn’t cause you any problems, and then brush your teeth twice a day and floss or water-floss daily.
“If You See a Friend Without a Smile, Give Her One of Yours”