Understanding Different Types of Toothpaste
by Dr. Beau Beecher, DDS on 6/1/2023
Toothpaste is a staple in everyone's dental routine. You may prefer a minty paste that fights cavities and plaque, while your kids just want the bright pink, bubblegum-flavored one. But are you and your family using a toothpaste that can enhance your oral health? Learn more about the different types of toothpaste and how each one can help with specific dental needs.
What is Toothpaste?
Made of paste or gel, toothpaste is an oral substance used to clean teeth. While the exact date toothpaste was invented is debatable, there is evidence that the ancient Egyptians, Greeks, Romans, Indians, and Chinese used toothpaste to clean their teeth. Their toothpaste was made of natural materials including ashes, burnt eggshells, mint, charcoal, and animal hooves.
Over time, toothpaste began to evolve from these simple beginnings, changing its form and ingredients many times over. For example, in the 1800s, a common form of toothpaste was a powder made of soap and chalk.
By the 20th century, when dental health became a primary focus, toothpaste was transformed once more. It was now designed to do more than clean and whiten teeth. It also helped prevent tooth decay and disease. Toothpaste became more like the substance we use today, with a smooth texture that contains fluoride to strengthen tooth enamel and of course fight cavities.
How Toothpaste Improves Oral Health
Like a manual or electric toothbrush, a toothpaste’s primary goal is to help keep your teeth healthy. The toothpaste’s ingredients like fluoride and oral detergents help brush away food particles from your teeth, gums, and mouth. With these particles removed, your chances of experiencing cavities, gum disease, gingivitis, plaque, and tartar are reduced. Toothpaste can also help prevent stains and remineralize your enamel.
Different Types of Toothpaste
Depending on your needs and preferences, you may want a toothpaste that can do more than help prevent cavities. The following are different toothpastes regularly available to consumers.
Toothpaste for Sensitive Teeth
If you experience pain when you consume hot or cold beverages and foods, you may have sensitive teeth. Sensitivity is caused by the tooth's enamel wearing down and exposing your tooth’s inner tissue. This pain can also be triggered when brushing or flossing your teeth. Fortunately, toothpastes like Sensodyne® are specially formulated to soothe pain and create a protective barrier over the exposed areas of your teeth.
Plaque and Tartar Control
Plaque is a sticky film of bacteria that can form on teeth. When left untreated, plaque may become calcified or hardened tartar. If you need to clear stubborn plaque or tartar build ups, toothpastes designed to fight plaque can help dissolve these deposits.
One way to combat teeth stains or discoloration is by using whitening toothpaste. These toothpastes have polishing ingredients that help lighten stains left behind by coffee, tea, or colorful foods. However, be aware these toothpastes may be abrasive and damage your tooth’s enamel. Ask your dentist what the right type of whitening toothpaste is for you. If you are looking for other ways to brighten your teeth, consider professional dental whitening treatments which can be more effective.
Fluoride toothpaste can help strengthen your tooth’s enamel and is hailed for being an effective way to prevent cavities. If you’re trying to minimize tooth decay, remove plaque, combat cavities, and remineralize your tooth enamel, fluoride toothpaste may be able to help.
Choosing a fun toothpaste is a great way to motivate kids to brush their teeth more consistently. Popular flavors include Colgate® Kids’ Mild Bubble Fruit and Aquafresh® Bubble Mint. These flavors taste good, but remind kids to not swallow their toothpaste.
Discuss Toothpaste Options With a Kimball & Beecher Dentist
If you would like more information about which toothpaste is right for you, schedule an appointment with one of our expert dentists at any Kimball & Beecher location across Iowa. Our friendly dentists love recommending proper toothbrushes and toothpastes to help keep your mouth healthy. Improve your dental routine with the right tools and techniques. Visit a Kimball & Beecher dentist soon!