Given the wide range of toothpastes offered, how do you know which one is best suited to your needs?
Protection against decay
Brushing your teeth every day helps to reduce the risk of tooth decay. The use of a toothpaste that contains fluoride strengthens the enamel which allows it to better resist the acid that causes cavities. The vast majority of toothpastes contain fluoride.
Whitening toothpastes use either an abrasive that lightly sand the surface of the teeth (baking soda), or ingredients that act on the teeth to whiten them (hydrogen peroxide), or attach to the teeth to make them shine (titanium dioxide).
Their whitening effect is modest. They are useful for removing stains, for example those caused by coffee, wine or tobacco, or to maintain the colour obtained with professional treatment.
Preventing tartar build-up
Regular tooth brushing eliminates most tartar in most people. However, if your hygienist has mentioned that you have a lot of tartar, a toothpaste that prevents tartar build-up may be helpful. This type of toothpaste contains ingredients that prevent tartar from attaching to the teeth. While they are useful for reducing tartar build-up, they cannot remove tartar that has already formed.
This type of toothpaste works in two ways, depending on the active ingredient it contains. Potassium nitrate is used to numb the nerve in the tooth, which reduces pain. Stannous fluoride works by blocking the small canals in the tooth. Thus, substances that cause pain (e.g. hot coffee) can no longer reach the nerve. This kind of toothpaste should be used regularly to achieve a sustained effect, as the effect stops rapidly when it is stopped.
In conclusion, when it comes time to brush your teeth, the most important thing is to do it well because it is the mechanical action that does the most work. The choice of a toothpaste should be guided by your specific needs. All-in-one toothpastes can be a good option if you wish to have multiple problems simultaneously.