Which toothpaste should I be using?
With so many toothpaste options out on the market, it can sometimes be a little overwhelming for people to feel like they are making the right purchase. It's not uncommon for people to believe that there is a specific toothpaste that trumps them all. Some patients believe that whatever toothpaste their Dentist or dental hygienist is using is probably the toothpaste they should be using, but this may not necessarily be the true.
Which toothpaste do you recommend?
Whenever a patient asks me, "Which toothpaste do you recommend?" I always feel like they are asking me, "Which toothpaste do YOU use?" Instead of telling patient's which toothpaste I like to use, I recommend that they use a toothpaste based on the their specific needs or desires. All of my toothpaste recommendations will include some type of fluoride, unless the patient specifically says they don't want fluoridated toothpaste.
My toothpaste recommendations are based on a few factors and these are:
Risk for tooth decay: If a patient is constantly presenting with several new areas of tooth decay at every check up visit then it's a good idea to have the dentist recommend a prescription toothpaste with a higher concentration of fluoride such as PreviDent 5000 PLUS. Your dentist may recommend a specific brand that they prefer, but most of the time these prescription toothpastes have the exact same activate ingredient and concentration, 1.1% Sodium Fluoride.
Risk for gum disease: If a patient has inflamed and bleeding gums then it's a good idea to recommend a toothpaste that helps fight gum disease. I personally recommend Crest's Gum Detoxify because it has the active ingredient Stannous Fluoride which acts as an antimicrobial and helps reduce gingivitis.
Does the patient have sensitivity to cold and/or hot?: If the patient is experiencing sensitivity to cold and/or hot temperatures this could be a result of root exposure. In this case recommending a tooth paste with the active ingredient Potassium Nitrate can help reduce tooth sensitivity. I typically recommend Colgate's Sensitive complete protection, but Sensodyne toothpaste is a more popular option.
Are the patient's teeth stained?: If the patient feels like they have stained teeth and this is a result of drinking coffee, tea, or any other substance that causes stains. Then recommending a toothpaste that has hydrogen peroxide, microbeads or activated charcoal can help reduce these stains. However if a patient has sensitive teeth then I wouldn't recommend using a toothpaste with hydrogen peroxide as there is a chance this may worsen their tooth sensitivity.
You can find all of these active ingredients and their purpose by simply locating the "Active ingredient" section on the ingredient's label of the toothpaste. It's important to know that all of these activate ingredients are available through several different companies and toothpaste flavors. I recommend that you find a toothpaste that has the active ingredient that you're searching for then choose a flavor that you might like.
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