If you look hard enough, you’ll find all kinds of weird and not-so wonderful toothpastes. Unfortunately, some of our favourite foods don’t translate quite so well into toothpaste, and variations such as bacon and cupcake have been met with a mixed reception. For now, mint remains a firm favourite!
Fun flavours aside, though, what should you look for when choosing a toothpaste?
Protection against tooth decay
Fluoride is the most important ingredient when it comes to picking out a toothpaste. It’s a naturally occurring mineral that’s often added to drinking water because of its excellent ability to prevent tooth decay. It does this by strengthening your teeth’s enamel and reversing the damaging effects of sugary and acidic foods. Adults should use a toothpaste that contains at least 1,350 ppm of fluoride. Look out for the following ingredients: sodium fluoride, sodium monofluorophosphate or stannous fluoride.
Help with sensitivity
If you have sensitive teeth, you may want to consider buying a toothpaste that’s specifically designed to help. Sensitive toothpastes can work in different ways depending on their active ingredients. Arginine bicarbonate blocks dentine tubules for quick relief, while potassium nitrate prevents the nerves in your teeth from sending pain signals to your brain.
Whiter, brighter teeth
Toothpastes can’t dramatically whiten your teeth, but they can help to brighten your smile by polishing or dissolving away surface stains. It’s important to choose a reputable brand, because some whitening products, for example activated charcoal, can be quite abrasive and potentially damage enamel. You should also check that your toothpaste is for daily use.
Once you’ve found the right toothpaste, brush using a pea-sized dab, twice a day. It’s also best not to rinse after brushing.