What’s in toothpaste and how should I pick?
Toothpaste no longer comes in simple choices of fluoride and fresh breath. Paste is not even the only option! You also have a choice of an array of colors and flavors. With so many varieties available, it may be difficult to know which features or combinations of ingredients are best for your mouth. Dr. Chauvin and our amazing Lafayette Louisiana team are here to help!
When it comes to dental care products, toothpaste is one of the most important components of proper dental hygiene for kids and adults. It cleans and polishes your teeth and removes bacteria and plaque that cause gum disease, dental decay, and bad breath. Toothpastes contain various ingredients that work in different ways. Detergents produce foaming action to better remove plaque and food particles. Abrasives help remove stains, and fluoride strengthens and protects teeth. The toothpaste you choose should reflect your personal dental care needs.
Types of toothpaste
- Fluoride Toothpaste – The most common ingredient in toothpaste is fluoride. It aids in cleaning the teeth and strengthening the enamel.
- Desensitizing Toothpaste – Contains active ingredients such as potassium nitrate or arginine that assist in blocking the nerve pathways from the tooth.
- Whitening Toothpaste – Usually does not contain bleaches but contain relatively coarse abrasives which function by abrading the stains on the tooth surface, giving a whitening effect. You may want to keep in mind that whitening toothpaste does not do the job of a professional bleaching – it simply helps to remove minor stains and touch up a faded smile and are often too harsh for the average tooth.
- Tartar Controlled Toothpaste – These help to prevent any further build up of tarter but cannot reach the tartar that collects below your gum line. However some companies are looking to produce toothpaste which fights gum disease.
- Smokers Toothpaste – These are specially designed to remove nicotine and tar stains on teeth caused by smoking.
- Children’s Toothpaste – These are fairly similar to the adult versions the only difference being that they will contain a smaller amount of fluoride and have more child friendly flavors.
One very important thing to know about your toothpaste is it’s abrasivity. Toothpaste makers regularly measure their product’s abrasivity. It’s necessary for FDA approval, and usually is not included in marketing. Abrasivity measurements are given by what’s known as an RDA value which stands for radioactive dentin abrasion or relative dentin abrasivity.
There is an ever changing chart to keep up with the values. Anything below 70-80 RDA is considered low abrasive.
|RDA||Dentifrice brand and variety||Source|
|07||straight baking soda||Church & Dwight|
|08||Arm & Hammer Tooth Powder||Church & Dwight|
|30||Elmex Sensitive Plus||Elmex|
|35||Arm & Hammer Dental Care||Church & Dwight|
|42||Arm & Hammer Advance White Baking Soda Peroxide||Church & Dwight|
|44||Squigle Enamel Saver||Squigle|
|48||Arm & Hammer Dental Care Sensitive||Church & Dwight|
|49||Arm & Hammer Peroxicare Tartar Control||Church & Dwight|
|49||Tom’s of Maine Sensitive (given as 40’s)||Tom’s|
|52||Arm & Hammer Peroxicare Regular||Church & Dwight|
|53||Rembrandt Original (RDA)||Rembrandt|
|54||Arm & Hammer Dental Care PM Bold Mint||Church & Dwight|
|57||Tom’s of Maine Children’s, Wintermint (given as mid-50’s)||Tom’s|
|63||Rembrandt Mint (‘Heffernan RDA’)||Rembrandt|
|70||Arm & Hammer Advance White Sensitive||Church & Dwight|
|70||Colgate 2-in-1 Fresh Mint (given as 50-70)||Colgate-Palmolive|
|83||Colgate Sensitive Maximum Strength||Colgate-Palmolive|
|93||Tom’s of Maine Regular (given as high 80’s low 90’s)||Squigle (Tom’s)|
|94||Plus White||Indiana study|
|95||Crest Regular (possibly 99)||P&G (P&G)|
|101||Natural White||Indiana study|
|103||Arm & Hammer Sensation||Church & Dwight|
|104||Sensodyne Extra Whitening||Colgate-Palmolive|
|106||Colgate Platinum||Indiana study|
|106||Arm & Hammer Advance White Paste||Church & Dwight|
|107||Crest Sensitivity Protection||Colgate-Palmolive|
|110||Amway Glister (given as upper bound)||Patent US06174515|
|113||Aquafresh Whitening||Indiana study|
|117||Arm & Hammer Advance White Gel||Church & Dwight|
|117||Arm & Hammer Sensation Tartar Control||Church & Dwight|
|120||Close-Up with Baking Soda (canadian)||Unilever|
|124||Colgate Whitening||Indiana study|
|130||Crest Extra Whitening||Indiana study|
|133||Ultra brite (or 120-140)||Indiana study (or Colgate-Palmolive)|
|144||Crest MultiCare Whitening||P&G|
|145||Ultra brite Advanced Whitening Formula||P&G|
|145||Colgate Baking Sode & Peroxide Whitening (given as 135-145)||Colgate-Palmolive|
|150||Pepsodent (given as upper bound)||Unilever|
|165||Colgate Tartar Control (given as 155-165)||Colgate-Palmolive|
|168||Arm & Hammer Dental Care PM Fresh Mint||Church & Dwight|
|200||Colgate 2-in-1 Tartar Control/Whitening or Icy Blast/Whitening (given as 190-200)||Colgate-Palmolive|
The ADA Seal
The most important thing you should look for when buying toothpaste is the seal of the ADA (American Dental Association). According to Dr. Ada Cooper, an ADA spokesperson, “This shows the product has been tested, its claims are legitimate and its ingredients are effective.”
The ADA seal indicates that the toothpaste contains fluoride, an ingredient that removes plaque. One of the biggest threats to your dental health, plaque is a sticky film of bacteria that forms on the teeth and gums and can cause tooth decay and gum disease.
You may also want to consider the flavor of your toothpaste. You are more likely to use toothpaste in a flavor you enjoy. If you’re curious about testing a new flavor, but aren’t sure whether you will like it, try a travel-sized tube instead of a full size. Or, ask your favorite Lafayette La dentist, Dr. Chauvin for a sample during your next dental visit!
Visiting your dentist
Once you find the toothpaste that is right for you it is important to keep up with good dental hygiene. Brush and floss your teeth twice a day and make sure you schedule your routine teeth cleaning every six months with Dr. Chauvin.