Toothpaste Truths


One of our most frequently asked questions is ‘what toothpaste should I use?’ And the easy answer is one that you will use twice a day. But, that doesn’t quite narrow down your options with the numerous choices that are now on the market, especially when we are bombarded with daily radio and TV advertising touting the benefits of specific products, all seemingly ‘the best’.


The first part of our answer is to select one with the American Dental Association’s (ADA) seal of approval on the packaging. Still – there are countless products that meet these criteria. So, to best answer your question, speak with your dental hygienist and your dentist to see what product is best suited for your specific needs. After all, everyone’s oral health status and expectations are different. The standard clean and fresh is important, but you may also be interested in whiter teeth; you may have some bleeding when you brush; you may experience some sensitivity. And, so on.

With the caveat that we know all our patients are unique, when we asked our three experienced hygienists to give us some tips regarding products they recommend to our Colony Square Dental Associates patients, we received a multi-options answer. Given that all ADA accepted options contain fluoride, which helps fight decay, the remaining categories of toothpastes that they select from are those that:


  • Help decrease tooth sensitivity: Sensodyne® has been on the market for years and with their over dozen options, offers helpful solutions to reduce and manage sensitivity for many. Their active ingredients, sodium fluoride along with potassium nitrate, work together to reduce the sensations of discomfort. Sensodyne® has also developed toothpastes to address the other categories below, while increasing comfort. However, it should be noted that there are potential causes of tooth sensitivity such as overzealous brushing, infections, gum recession that exposes the tooth’s root, all of which may require active intervention by your dentist. So, if these over-the-counter toothpastes are not effective in meeting your needs be sure to schedule a visit.
  • Help reduce the buildup of plaque and calculus: Plaque, full of bacteria that when combined with acids from foods can damage the tooth’s enamel and is potentially cavity causing. And, when left on the surface of the tooth, it will harden and form calculus. Once this occurs, try as you might, it takes a professional to remove it. Left on the tooth, it can result in periodontal disease. So, brushing with toothpastes that inhibit the plaque from accumulating and if there, reduces the opportunity for plaque to harden, will help those who find they are ‘cavity prone’. Colgate Total® is one toothpaste option that we recommend for this. When bleeding gums are noted, another to consider is Paradontax™, which contains a very mild abrasive, helping to remove plaque that is irritating the gum tissue.
  • Help whiten and brighten teeth: It’s important to note that everyone is born with a certain tooth color. Some have whiter teeth than others; and as we age teeth most find that their teeth tend to yellow. And certain foods, drinks (such as coffee, tea, and red wine), and cigarettes oftentimes result in surface staining, causing teeth to appear discolored as they are stained. Many toothpastes that are on the market claim to whiten and brighten using one of two types of ingredients. They will contain either a mild abrasive (such as Crest 3D ®) to remove the surface stains or a chemical – hydrogen peroxide (found in Colgate® Optic White®) to lighten natural teeth. Of course, it’s important to remember that if the tooth’s internal structure(s) are discolored, neither toothpaste will prohibit the internal discoloration from limiting the toothpaste’s ability to enhance the appearance of your smile.


So, the good news is that today there are options to meet your and your dental health provider’s goals.

Don’t be intimidated by the dental health aisle in your pharmacy. It’s exciting to have opportunities to pick a product that is geared to specifically address ways to keep your smile healthy and bright. At your next visit take a moment to ask Drs. Hochberg and Diora, and your hygienist, what they recommend for you!

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