Is there Really that Much Difference Between Toothpastes?
When it comes to buying toothpaste, it’s alarming how many different brands there are. How do you know which toothpaste is most effective if every dentist recommends them? Surely there’s an odd one out, one that doesn’t include certain ingredients that make your teeth cleaner.
So, in this article, we’re going to be looking at whether certain kinds of toothpaste are ‘better’ for you than others. More specifically, we’re going to be analysing the finer ‘features’ that come with toothpaste, such as ‘extra whitening’, ‘enamel protection’, and ‘sensitive teeth’ toothpaste.
Let’s start with the most popular toothpaste feature:
These kinds of toothpaste are arguably the most popular because everyone wants white teeth for a cheap price, right? These usually contain more abrasives or additives, both of which are thought to help ‘scrub’ the surface of your teeth more efficiently. However, what many people fail to understand is that whitening toothpaste will not change the colour of your teeth, nor will they remove stains from coffee, tea, fizzy drinks etc.
Additionally, excessive use of whitening toothpaste can wear down your enamel, making your teeth more sensitive.
Enamel repair toothpaste
In stark contrast to the above toothpaste potentially damaging enamel, enamel repair kinds of toothpaste work to, well, repair your enamel!
These products use calcium-based substances to help aid and replace the surface of your tooth’s enamel. While they can act as a sort of ‘barrier’ it doesn’t last particularly long and the barrier will fade swiftly. Enamel cannot be replaced manually, so any toothpaste claiming it protects enamel will only offer a very thin layer of protection that won’t stand the test of time.
Most kinds of toothpaste that claim they numb that cold pain you get when eating an ice-cream is usually infused with potassium nitrate or NovaMin. Both of these agents work to calm and numb the nerves in your teeth. The reason your teeth feel cold when eating cold foods and drinks is that they come into contact with your dental tubules. These are like fluid-filled straws that start from the outer surface of the tooth to the inner part where the nerve and blood supply of the tooth is.
Additionally, you won’t notice the effects of the toothpaste until the fluoride has had time to build within the tooth. So, you’ll be waiting a while before you notice any changes to your tooth’s sensitivity.
Another popular feature toothpaste is beginning to incorporate are anti-cavity agents. These kinds of toothpaste usually contain higher amounts of fluoride than what you’d find in generic toothpaste. However, the kinds of toothpaste that claim they are specifically ‘cavity protectors’ usually employ agents that deliver fluoride to the enamel.
Although, sodium fluoride is found in almost every generic toothpaste, so it almost makes anti-cavity toothpaste seem irrelevant.
So, is there much difference?
The short answer, no! Aside from a few very minor differences in ingredients, almost all toothpaste is the same. There is not a huge amount of difference between a brand that claims it’s specifically for ‘sensitive teeth’ and a brand that doesn’t (a generic toothpaste). You can rest assured that you don’t need to weigh up the differences in toothpaste next time you visit the supermarket or pharmacy unless of course, you want to!
You might be asking “why do I see adverts that say 9/10 dentists and orthodontists recommend this brand?” well, that’s because they just want you to use their toothpaste! There’s no specific brand of toothpaste that all dentists recommend because they all serve the same basic purpose – cleaning your teeth! As long as the toothpaste has been approved by the relevant government agency, improves oral hygiene and doesn’t cause harm to the user, you’re good to go!