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Q: Why type of toothpaste should I use?

Posted July 17, 2013 in Advice Column, Winterset

A: Toothpastes are formulated to meet a variety of oral care needs. There are many products and brands available.

The most common ingredient found in the majority of toothpastes is fluoride. Fluoride fights cavities by strengthening teeth and making them more resistant to acid attacks. Fluoride can also act as an effective antibacterial agent by fighting plaque and gum disease. Fluoride is like vitamins, but for your teeth. Look for stannous fluoride and triclosan listed in the ingredients.

For tooth sensitivity, potassium nitrate is a key ingredient that works by interrupting pain signals in the nerve cells. Also, stannous fluoride controls sensitivity by blocking the microscopic holes in your teeth (tubules) that connect to the nerve and trigger pain when irritated.

If you would like a brighter, whiter smile, look for ingredients such as sodium hexametaphosphate and silica. They physically remove stains on the tooth surface as well as help to keep the plaque from hardening on the teeth to form tartar, which causes discoloration and other tooth issues.

Toothpaste has come a long way since 1960 when the American Dental Association gave their first Seal of Acceptance for cavity protection. Today’s toothpastes are formulated to address many oral health concerns. Talk with your dental professional about which toothpaste is right for you.

Information provided by Dr. Christopher W. Blanchard, Blanchard Family Dentistry, 820 West Summit St., 462-4474

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