Dentist in Methuen on Toothpaste Facts
While trying to pick out a toothpaste, the options may seem endless and overwhelming. Certain ones are better for sensitive teeth, some contain fluoride, some are designed specially for whitening- but what is the best option for you? As a dentist in Methuen, we are often asked about our recommendation on toothpaste choices…but can any of these toothpastes be actually “bad” for you?
As alluded to above, a variety of pastes means a variety of ingredients. Here we will analyze some of the most popular types of toothpaste, their key ingredients and the benefits or detriments they may bring.
Fluoride is a very popular and common ingredient in toothpaste and was the cause for toothpaste to come under FDA regulation. It has been shown that usage of fluoride, overtime, can help improve the strength of your teeth by making your teeth more resistent to acid attack that create cavities, but fluoride does not necessarily clean them. While many of the surrounding communities have fluoride added to the municipal water supply, Methuen, does not participate in a municipal water fluoridation program, so a fluoride toothpaste would be highly reccomended, maybe even a prescription high fluoride toothpaste based on the tooth decay risk of that individual. The debate on “safety” of fluoride rages on and is an individual opinion, but we stress the benefit of it compared to risks in most individuals.
As much as half of the population complains about sensitive teeth issues. Toothpastes specializing in diminishing these pains could be a great choice. Some of these pastes include potassium nitrate &/or fluoride within their ingredients which help numb the nerve endings in the roots that are sensitive &/or block the dentinal tubules (the micro tunnels that communicate between the root surface and the nerve). The problem is that the abrasives (called hydrated silica) in all toothpaste (the FDA denotes you cannot call it toothpaste unless it has an abrasive) are causing the wear on the roots to begin with by scrubbing with a horizontal brush stroke, thus causing the sensitivity. It is a vicious cycle. We call these individuals "toothpaste abusers", and replace their toothpaste with a non-abrasive dentifice, such as clear, fluoridated mouthwash. Within 6 weeks , their sensitivity is gone, as the dentinal tubules recalcify utilizing the natural minerals in saliva which the abrasives would rescrub away if continued. While toothpaste abuse is a major cause of sensitivity, their are multiple factors which require an examination and diagnosis by your Methuen dentist in order to truly treat the underlying problem.
Whitening toothpastes have become much more popular within the last few years. They almost always utilize larger abrasive particles than non whitening tooth pastes, scrubbing away at surface stains on your teeth, maybe getting them a bit whiter. But these abrasive particles (again called hydrated silica which in reality is wet sand!!!), can cause even greater damage with the wrong brushing stroke, by scrathing the enamel creating more stain retaining grooves, thinning the enamel, and causing accelerated wear of the much softer root surfaces (which wear 8 times faster than enamel), to the point that you feel notches at the gumline and increased sensitivity, as descibed earlier. The "whitening" done here, again, is really only superficial. Deep stain/discoloration is the culprit, and requires seeing your dentist in Methuen for an in-office whitening treatment or take-home kit which are the best ways to get your smile it’s brightest.
Overall- no, no toothpaste is really “bad” for you. The only way it could be detrimental is if you are not using it right by brushing improperly. Baking soda or even just water could be used in lieu of toothpaste if you spend the proper time (2 minutes, 2x a day) and have the proper technique.
Make an appointment with your dentist in Methuen today by calling (978) 683-3343 or CLICKING HERE.