Choosing the Best Toothpaste

toothpaste Thanks to better care and technological advances, more people than ever before are keeping their teeth throughout their lives. The most important thing you can do to make sure you're one of those who keep their natural teeth is to brush and floss regularly.

Most dental decay is caused by plaque, a sticky, colorless bacteria that is constantly forming on your teeth. Saliva, food (especially sugar) and fluids combine to produce plaque, which collects on teeth and where teeth and gums meet. Plaque that is not removed by regular brushing and flossing can harden into tartar, a crusty deposit that can only be removed by a dentist. Plaque also leads to gum disease, a potentially serious infection that can erode bone and destroy the tissues surrounding teeth. Flossing removes plaque between teeth, and brushing removes plaque from the large surfaces of the teeth and, if done correctly, from just under the gums.

With brushing being such an important factor in your oral health, you can see why your choice of a toothpaste is important, but with so many brands and types - plaque control, tartar control, whitening, gum care, sensitive teeth, polish, smoker's - from which to choose, picking the right toothpaste can be a daunting task. Your dentist or dental hygienist can help narrow the field by discussing what your special brushing needs are.

If you tend to build up plaque or tartar quickly, you'll want a plaque or tartar-control toothpaste. Anti-plaque/tartar toothpastes will have ingredients such as fluoride and/or antibacterial agents to limit plaque and tartar formation. (Check with your dentist before choosing fluoride toothpaste for your young children. Excessive fluoride ingestion by pre-school age children can lead to discoloration of the permanent teeth. If your child uses fluoride toothpaste, make sure s/he does not swallow toothpaste while brushing.)

If you smoke or drink tea or coffee, a whitening toothpaste may help with stains. However, whitening toothpastes only remove adherent stain. The ingredients necessary to actually bleach your teeth are not chemically stable enough to be included in toothpaste. Use caution with those toothpastes made to remove heavy stains, frequently referred to as "smoker's toothpaste" or "tooth polish". These toothpastes may be excessively abrasive and may cause progressive wearing away of the tooth and supporting tissues. (Also, if you smoke, be sure to see your dentist regularly, as smokers are at increased risk of gum disease, early tooth loss and also soft tissue conditions including oral cancer.)

Temperature sensitive teeth will benefit from a toothpaste made to desensitize your teeth. Your needs may change as you age, so don't be surprised if your hygienist recommends a type of toothpaste you haven't used before.

Once you've determined which type of toothpaste is best, choose the one that tastes and feels best and doesn't cause irritation or sensitivity problems. If you like the flavor and texture of your toothpaste, you'll brush more and longer. And brushing well and regularly means you'll be smiling with your natural teeth well into your mature years.© Copyright 2007 Avis Ward of AWard Consulting, LLC

Avis E. Ward is a visonary called to unite the personal, spiritual and political through Love. She is an Ambassador of Love and Certified Seminar Leader. Avis is also a Dental Marketing Consultant specializing in Orthodontics. Avis invites you to view her blog. or Avis Ward

Source: EzineArticles