Toothpaste is important, but not as important as brushing and flossing your teeth properly. What is important about choosing the right toothpaste, is knowing what's in it. There are brands of toothpaste that whiten your teeth, prevent gum disease, help bad breath and to fight cavities. The difference between them are a few key ingredients and the percentages of other basic ingredients.
How do you choose between the many toothpaste brands and the claims they make they do for you? This article will will help you with toothpaste reviews of popular brands sold in most major stores, including health food stores. Most people choose based on flavor and how their mouth feels after brushing. You should choose based on the ingredients and not what the label says or how the toothpaste makes your mouth feel or how it tastes. These are the icing on the cake, but not what matters.
Studies indicate there is a direct relationship between poor oral health and increased risk of heart disease. A healthy mouth should be free of gum disease and bad breath.
Why Toothpaste Ingredients are Important
Unless you are a chemist, you will likely buy certain brands of toothpaste because you like the taste or how it makes your mouth 'feel', and not for effectiveness. However, toothpaste ingredients are extremely important.
The mouth is one of the fastest ways to absorb anything into the body. Pain and heart medications are administered 'sublingually' or under the tongue, for fast delivery to your body. Your toothpaste ingredients are also absorbed, especially if you have any level of bleeding gums. This can be a problem depending on the ingredients, especially since toothpaste is used daily.
Fluoride has always been controversial since it was determined to help prevent tooth decay. The American Dental Association (ADA) puts its seal on toothpaste only for the fluoride, not on how effective the toothpaste as a whole is.
Below is a list of questionable ingredients and a chart comparing several popular toothpaste brands. You be the judge which to buy for you and your family.
- Saccharin - artificial sweetener that has gone on and off the FDA list for health safety.
- Antimicrobials - natural or synthetic, include tea tree oil, alcohol and triclosan among others. These days found in many products, such as deodorants, dish soap, hand and body soaps, shampoos, etc. Center for Disease Control warns that over use of antimicrobials could result in antibiotic resistant bacteria.
- Chlorine dioxide - industrial bleach, used for bleaching wood, flour, and disinfection of municipal water.
- Sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) - industrial detergent may cause canker sore, dry mouth and allergies
- Sodium hydroxide - NaOH, also known as lye or caustic soda, is a metallic base, used in textiles, drain cleaners and industrial detergents.
- Salicylates - also known as salicylic acid, this common aspirin ingredient for inflammation, has given rise to increasing rate of salicylate sensitivity. Always look for salicylate free products.
- Herbal extracts - herbs have side effects and drug interactions. With frequent use, they could also be the cause of allergies. Many products add herbal extracts and oils for marketing and call their products 'natural'.
- PEG/PPG - polypropylene glycol is a surfactant used as a wetting agent, dispersant and in leather finishing.
- PVM/MA copolymer - binder that can be highly irritating to the soft tissues of the mouth and skin.
- Hydrated silica - found in many toothpaste as an abrasive to help remove stains, it may harm the surface of tooth enamel due to abrasiveness.
- Potassium nitrate - used in toothpaste for sensitive teeth, it blocks the transmission of nerve cells within teeth and gums. Also found in gunpowder, fertilizers, rocket propellants and fireworks.
Just the facts please. That's what we would like from oral health brands, so we can decide which to become loyal to. Instead we get clever ads and multitude of toothpaste to choose from.
Most people do not realize the Food & Drug Administration does not regulate personal care products, including toothpaste. They do mandate a warning if it contains any active ingredients, such as fluoride. The American Dental Association seal on many commercial toothpaste means the fluoride type and amount in that product follows the ADA guideline.
Abrasive toothpaste may cause sensitive teeth. Compare the chart below for toothpaste abrasiveness, which is measured by the American Dental Association standard known as the Relative Dentin Abrasion of Dentifrice.
The standard set for non-abrasive is less than 100. Too far below 100 may not adequately remove plaque, and higher than 100 is considered abrasive. At 68, Cleure has been shown to be gentle, yet effective.