As you know, your dentist recommends fluoride toothpaste because fluoride prevents cavities. Fluoride bonds with the calcium and phosphate ions in our tooth enamel, repairing weak spots. Even better, this new bond is stronger and more cavity-resistant than enamel alone.
When it comes to preventing gum disease as well as fighting cavities, though, not all fluoride formulas are the same. The common go-to ingredient in gum-healthy toothpastes is stannous fluoride. Like the more commonly used sodium fluoride, stannous fluoride reduces the risk of cavities and strengthens tooth enamel.
Unlike bleaching products, which contain carbamide peroxide or hydrogen peroxide, whitening toothpaste only cleans the enamel rather than changing the color of your teeth. To obtain the benefits of whitening toothpaste, you need to use it regularly.
If a whitening toothpaste meets the ADA standards and contains fluoride, the next step is to clear it with your dentist. Whitening toothpaste often contains abrasives to remove surface stains. Though abrasives are an effective aid in tooth whitening, they may not be recommended if you have weak tooth enamel.
In certain situations, your dentist may suggest or prescribe specialty toothpaste, depending on your oral health needs. For example, patients who are prone to tooth decay and cavities despite frequent brushing and flossing may benefit from prescription-strength fluoridated toothpaste to help prevent the weakening of tooth enamel. Others who suffer from tooth sensitivity may benefit from the use of desensitizing toothpaste.
Toothpaste for Children
Before a child can spit, use toothpaste without fluoride. This is an ideal time to use toothpaste with xylitol. Xylitol should be listed as the first ingredient; this way you’ll get the almost medicinal property of this natural sweetener. After you have found the right type of toothpaste, consider its flavor. The best kind of toothpaste is one that will be used, so choose a flavor that your child will love.