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Toothpaste 101

Usually a gel or paste, necessary for maintaining good dental health. Toothpaste helps fight periodontal (gum) disease, plaque and bacterial build up.

Most toothpastes contain the following ingredients:

  1. A combination of abrasives – ie. magnesium carbonate, dehydrated silica gels, calcium carbonate, hydrated aluminum oxides, and phosphate salts
  2. “Binders” (what holds the ingredients together)
  3. Chalk or baking soda, foam based ingredient (which helps remove leftover food debris)
  4. “Humectant” such as glycerol, sorbitol (ingredient which ensures the toothpaste stays moist)
  5. Flavouring (such as mint)
  6. Fluoride (helps strengthen tooth enamel and fights  tooth decay)
  7. Water
  8. Anti-bacterial agent (which helps with gum disease and fight other potential bacterial issues)
  9. Thickeners like seaweed or mineral colloids, synthetic cellulose, or natural gum to give the toothpaste a homogeneous appearance and texture

How to pick the right toothpaste for you:

Firstly, it’s important to look for products with the ADA seal of approval. This symbol indicates that the manufacturer has participated in a voluntary testing program conducted by the ADA to gauge a product’s safety and effectiveness. Any toothpaste containing sugar, for example, will not get the ADA seal of approval.

To see a complete list, you can check the ADA website here.

There is a toothpaste for everyone, no matter what your personal oral health needs are.

Sensitive teeth, benefit most from products with ingredients such as potassium nitrate or strontium chloride. To fight gingivitis or tartar buildup, choose a toothpaste that contains pyrophosphates, triclosan, and zinc citrate. In addition, you can find products designed to combat bad breath or formulated with special abrasives to help whiten stained teeth.

Source: Toothpaste 101 By Clare Kittredge