What are the options for toothpaste products? there are many toothpaste brands on the market, all performing the same basic function, some more effectively than others and with a whole host of product descriptions and marketing messages. Any toothpaste with the ADA (American Dental Association) seal of Acceptance has to contain fluoride. As well as fluoride toothpaste can contain a variety of other active ingredients which work to reduce sensitivity, whiten teeth, reduce gingivitis or build up, reduce enamel wear or rebuild enamel, or freshen bad breath. Any flavouring agents which can lead to tooth decay such as sugar is not allowed to be added to any products carrying the ADA seal.
Quality and standards of dental care products – products carrying the ADA seal must earn the status by providing science backed proof which shows the safety and effectiveness of the product. This is then reviewed according to assessment criteria. You can be safe in the knowledge that products carrying the seal are effective and will help you maintain and improve your dental health and your family dental health. Your dental expert may be able to provide samples. To earn the seal of approval manufacturers must be able to demonstrate the amount of fluoride contained, the release per minute and the absorption in both normal and weakened tooth enamel.
What should a toothpaste actually do? toothpaste is known as an over the counter dentifrice product which is a French word meaning an abrasive gel substance which delivers anticaries to the teeth. Anticaries being defined as a drug which helps prevent cavities – decay or caries. Toothpaste can also be in the form of gel, paste or powder.
What is in a typical toothpaste? typical products contain both active and inactive ingredients. These can be to improve oral health, such as fluoride which is a mineral that actively prevents tooth decay through making tooth enamel stronger. Active ingredients can include anticaries ingredients such as fluoride in the form of sodium monofluorophosphate, sodium fluoride and stannous fluoride. Fluoride actually re-mineralizes tooth enamel. Anti-sensitivity agents can also be included to help decrease the sensitivity of teeth. Anti-microbial ingredients such as stannous fluoride and triclosan effectively work to reduce gingivitis. And pyrophosphates, tricolsan and zinc citrate can reduce the build up tartar (calculus).
Other ingredients can include abrasives for cleaning and stain removal – such as abrasives and enzymes, calcium carbonate and other ingredients. Detergents are used to create a foaming affection to help remove plaque and make the brushing experience more pleasant. Flavouring ingredients and zero calorie sweeteners may be used to enhance the taste, sugar is not allowed as an ingredient. Humectants can be used to maintain moisture and prevent water loss in the toothpaste. Thickening agents and binders are used to form a paste and stabilise the product formula.
Allergies and irritations – some ingredients can cause allergies but it is likely most patients are able to find a favourite brand or alternatives that work well for them. Some essential oils can cause irritation, including spearmint and peppermint which are used for the freshness of scent.
Choosing toothpaste for your child – choosing a brand with fluoride is the most effective decision when choosing a toothpaste product. These will be specially formulated for children in age group categories. The recommended amounts to use when brushing are the size of a grain of rice from the first tooth coming through until the age of 3, then a pea sized amount between the ages of 3 and 6.