Standing in the oral healthcare aisle can become an overwhelming task for anyone. There are a variety of toothpaste options from those with fluoride to those without, whitening to sensitivity. There is a lot of hype about different and new things toothpastes do.

Fluoride toothpaste: Fluoride is one of the most common components of toothpaste. Fluoride is used to protect teeth from decay (cavities). The combination of sugars and bacteria in the mouth produce an acid that causes tooth enamel erosion that damages the teeth. Fluoride protects the teeth from this demineralization. If the teeth are already damaged, fluoride starts collecting on the areas, and the enamel is strengthened. Some level of fluoride is recommended by many governments in the world today for both children and adults. Children require fluoride to protect their new, permanent teeth, while adults need it to ensure there are no cavities or decays taking form. Please remember that fluoride toothpaste is not recommended for children under the age of two.

Sensitivity toothpaste: Having sensitive teeth can become an everyday struggle. Choosing toothpaste designed to help with sensitive teeth can eliminate some of the pain. People with sensitive teeth experience pain when their teeth are exposed to something hot, cold or when pressure is applied. The layer of enamel may be thinner and the gum line may have receded, exposing more dentine. Therefore, the enamel and gums offer less protection, which makes teeth more sensitive. Sensitive toothpaste works by either numbing tooth sensitivity, or by blocking the tubules in the dentine. Those that numb usually contain potassium nitrate, which calms the nerve of the tooth. The toothpastes that work by blocking the tubules in the dentine usually contain a chemical called strontium chloride. Repeated use builds up a strong barrier by plugging the tubules more and more, leading to less-sensitive teeth.

Whitening toothpaste: Everyone strives to have a whiter smile and whitening toothpaste might just be the most inexpensive route to achieving that. Although whitening toothpaste is generally safe for daily use, be careful to follow manufacturer recommendations. Excessive use of whitening toothpaste can damage your tooth enamel over time. Keep in mind that whitening toothpaste can't change the natural color of your teeth or lighten a stain that goes deeper than a tooth's surface. If you're considering using whitening toothpaste, look for a brand that has a seal of approval from a reputable dental organization — such as the American Dental Association Seal of Acceptance. This seal indicates that the toothpaste is effective at removing surface stains.

At Kirksville Dental Group our recommendation is to brush with fluoride toothpaste twice a day for two minutes, floss, and have regular dental checkups.