Choosing a Toothbrush and Toothpaste
A common question that is fielded frequently not only in our Springfield Dentist Office, but dentist offices all around the world is, ‘What is the best toothbrush and toothpaste for not only a healthy mouth, but to make my teeth look their best?’ Our dentist’s response is that you should use, “Whatever toothbrush you feel comfortable with using, but it should be a soft-bristle brush, and a toothpaste that will not strip the enamel from your teeth and that includes fluoride.”
Are all Toothbrushes the Same?
Yes and no. All dentists have their own personal opinions and preferences on what styles and brands of toothbrushes are the best. Some toothbrushes are quite “fancy” or seem more technologically advanced because they spin or vibrate, but this doesn’t necessarily make them better. The purpose of a toothbrush is to remove bacterial plaque from your mouth. A good standard to use when toothbrush shopping is to look for the American Dental Association’s seal of approval on the package. This means the toothbrush you select has been scientifically proven to be safe and effective.
In order to receive this seal of approval a company must demonstrate:
- Every part of the toothbrush is safe for the mouth
- Bristles are not sharp and do not have jagged edges or endpoints
- Handle is tested to show how it holds up to everyday use
- Bristles remain in place during everyday use
- Toothbrush can be used by the average adult to significantly decrease gum disease and plaque removal
What About Toothpaste?
When it comes to toothpaste, any dentist will tell you it comes down to fluoride. This is important because fluoride maintains the strength of your teeth and helps reduce cavities. The American Dental Association does have requirements for all fluoride toothpastes that are on the market.
The toothpaste manufacturer must provide:
- Studies of humans using the product that show a consistent and satisfactory safety record
- Laboratory research that clearly states the amount of fluoride in the toothpaste, the amount of fluoride that is released each minute of brushing and the amount of fluoride absorption in both normal and compromised tooth enamel. These tests are conducted in the American Dental Association’s laboratory.
- Many toothpastes including baking soda have been used as a tooth whitener and cleaner. The problem with baking soda is that it can be abrasive and should not be used daily. It does, however, help reduce acids from oral bacteria and it may help reduce cavities.
- There is a current trend for toothpastes to claim they are “whitening.” Although some may contain peroxide, which is used in dental bleaching, it is in such small amounts it really does not significantly help bleach the teeth.
- There are also many toothpastes that are targeted towards sensitive teeth. Sensitivity can be caused by numerous dental issues such as a cavity, a broken or cracked tooth or nerve damage. The active chemical in these toothpastes is potassium nitrite. It will not eliminate sensitivity but does help reduce it for exposed root surfaces along the gumline. The chemicals work by blocking holes or pores in the enamel-free, root surfaces of the teeth.
How to Make a Decision on Toothbrushes and Toothpaste
No matter what kind of toothbrush and toothpaste you choose, make sure it suits your needs, that you are happy with the taste of the toothpaste and that it is certified by the American Dental Association. Remember, it does not matter which toothbrush or toothpaste you choose as long as you brush thoroughly and .with proper technique. Should you have any questions or any doubts on how to properly brush and floss, contact your Springfield dentist, Quail Creek Dental, today. Dr. Stunkel and staff will be happy to explain proper oral hygiene techniques and get you up to speed on your checkups, x-rays and exams.