Saskatoon, you don’t have to choose your dental hygiene tools alone! Let us help you find the best toothpaste.
With so many retailers in Saskatoon and a bounty of options in the oral care aisles, it can be hard to tell which is the best choice for you. From pastes and gels to colourful stripes with glitter, to fluoride-free herbal to toothpaste with activated charcoal—the options are exhaustive. How do you choose one? Our patients often ask us how to pick the right toothpaste and which ingredients to avoid. In this blog, we break down the basics of toothpaste to help you decipher the labels and choose the one that’s best for you.
How much toothpaste to use on my toothbrush?
A little goes a long way. Most people are using a lot more toothpaste than necessary—you only need a pea-sized amount each time you brush. For children under six years old, use even less—only about the size of a sunflower seed or grain of rice.
What’s in my toothpaste?
To fulfill multiple and varying claims on their labels, dental care products rely on various types of ingredients. These ingredients each play an essential role in your dental hygiene. Most of the leading toothpaste brands on today’s retail shelves contain the following ingredient types:
1. Abrasive agents (up to 50%)
To clean the plaque that builds up throughout our day, toothpaste contains abrasive agents such as aluminum hydroxide, calcium carbonate, calcium hydrogen phosphates, silicas, zeolites, and hydroxyapatite.
2. Water (20-40%)
To keep your paste from drying out, many kinds of toothpaste contain ingredients such as glycerol, sorbitol, or xylitol.
4. Emulsifiers, stabilizers, and thickening agents
To maintain the right texture and consistency many add sodium alginate, carrageenan, carbomers, or xanthan gum.
5. Surfactants or cleaning agents
Ingredients like sodium lauryl sulfate are added to create bubbly cleansing foam.
6. Flavouring, sweeteners, and colourants
To make your toothpaste taste and look more appealing and encourage its regular use, saccharin, sorbitol, titanium dioxide, glycerol, or essential oils and plant extracts are included into the formula.
Common toothpaste types and how they work.
The ingredients you find in toothpaste will depend on the intended use and claims. The most common types of toothpaste are briefly explained below:
Anti-plaque toothpaste aims to prevent plaque from building up on your teeth in the first place. These toothpastes usually contain antibacterial agents such as triclosan, zinc chloride, or chlorhexidine.
Tartar control toothpaste usually contains zinc citrate or sodium pyrophosphate, which prevents the formation of crystals that become tartar calculus.
Children’s toothpaste will not contain fluoride because children’s teeth are more susceptible to fluorosis—they should not be exposed to fluoride until after the age of 8 years. Children’s toothpaste will be less abrasive and more colorful and flavoured to make it appealing to kids.
Fluoride toothpaste: children develop the ability to spit at around the age of 3. This means you can increase the amount of fluoride toothpaste that you put on their toothbrush. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends using a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste for children ages 3 to 6.
Sensitivity toothpaste is formulated for people with sensitive teeth. It usually contains active ingredients that reduce sensitivity and discomfort, such as potassium nitrate. Many of the leading sensitivity toothpastes contain 5% potassium nitrate. Sensitivity toothpaste may also contain calcium sodium phosphosilicate or arginine.
Whitening toothpaste contains abrasive ingredients and cleansing agents that help remove or reduce surface stains, such as sodium tripolyphosphate or peroxide. It is generally not recommended for prolonged periods because it can wear down the enamel over time.
Herbal toothpaste is becoming increasingly popular for people looking for oral care products with ingredients that are gentle and healthy. You might find sodium bicarbonate as the main ingredient with essential oils and other natural ingredients such as chamomile, charcoal, cinnamon, clove, neem, or chitosan. Many of these have not been proven safe or effective, and most do not contain fluoride, which is recommended for enamel protection and cavity prevention.
Ask your dentist how to choose the best toothpaste and dental floss.
At your next dental exam and cleaning, ask your oral health care team to suggest trusted products that you can rely on. When in doubt, look for the CDA seal of validity. With the CDA seal, you can be sure that certain oral health benefits have been validated by the Canadian Dental Association. Click here for a list of products recognized by the CDA.
Even the best products won’t work well without the right technique.
It all comes down to the user: Follow this guide to proper brushing and flossing.
Everyone needs professional dental cleaning services.
No matter how well you brush your teeth, we always recommend professional cleanings twice annually. When it comes to oral hygiene, nobody is perfect and tartar develops even on your dental hygienist’s teeth! Book your dental cleaning appointment today!
Saskatoon shines—and so can your smile! A dentist’s best compliment is your healthy smile.
Thorough homecare makes our job easier, and the right toothpaste can help. We can’t take full credit for your beautiful smile, but we’re happy to know we can help brighten up our prairie city, one smile at a time. A smile is infectious, they say.