Toothpastes have come a long way. Brands have been continuously evolving their products to deliver the best to you. The more a product makes your teeth sparkle, the more you like it. Then there are the germ fighter toothpastes which apparently leave your mouth sans germs. And as our food habits continue to wear out our teeth, tooth sensitivity caught all the companies’ attention and they came out with various variants that promise to shield sensitivity and let you enjoy super hot or cold or sweet food without any discomfort. But have you ever wondered that amid all these innovations is your toothpaste safe enough?
Harmful Ingredients in Toothpastes
Antibacterial agents such as Triclosan, zinc salts and chlorhexidine gluconate are used in toothpaste to fight off harmful bacteria to reduce gum infection and bleeding gums. Long-term use of any antibacterial ingredient may promote antibiotic resistant bacteria.
Sensitivity reducing salts such as Sodium lauryl sulphate are detergents that also act as foaming agents and may cause mouth ulcers, dry mouth and the irritation of the oral mucosa.
Certain toothpaste might be very abrasive and may harm you by stripping away the protective enamel.
Toothpaste abrasiveness may be calculated by RDA value which stands for Relative Dentine Abrasiveness. So toothpaste with RDA value of 80 or below is considered enamel friendly.
How to Dodge Harmful Toothpastes?
- Use SLS free toothpaste. Some herbal toothpastes offer SLS free formulations.
- Use fluoride toothpaste for avoiding tooth decay.
- Read the ingredients and decide for yourself which toothpaste is best for you. After all it is the action of the toothbrush that helps remove the plaque on your teeth and gums. Choose a toothbrush with soft bristles.
- Use toothpaste which is less abrasive (with lower RDA value). Colgate total, Colgate Regular, Sensodyne are some good options.
- Patients with active root caries lesions and with risk of lesion progression should use fluoride toothpaste containing 5000ppm fluoride (prescribed by their dentist only), frequent fluoride mouth rinsing, and topical application of fluoride varnish two to four times a year.
- Opt for ADA approved toothpastes. Don’t be carried away by compelling advertisements and offers. Be sure to choose toothpaste that has earned an American Dental Association (ADA) seal of approval.
- Be wary of imposters. In 2007, some toothpastes imported from China were found to contain a toxic substance, diethylene glycol.
The bottom line is that toothpastes may promise enticing benefits but it is you who has to be aware and pick the right toothpaste that meets all your demands. Your brush is the magic wand that does the actual work. Toothpaste complements its action. Your eating habits and hygiene practices will play a vital role in fostering healthy teeth and sparkling smile.