Recently, bh’s Sam’s dentist told her to buy a particular toothpaste due to some cavities he discovered and it got me thinking, am I using the right toothpaste for my teeth? I spoke to Dr James Malouf of Malouf Dental to help me decipher the dental debate and help you choose the best toothpaste, whether your teeth are sensitive, stained, or blessed with cavities like Sam’s!
If you have sensitive teeth
If drinking cold water makes you cringe and you’re incapable of eating an ice cream without wincing then you’ve probably got sensitive teeth. If this is the case, Dr Malouf says you should look for ingredients like potassium nitrate or calcium-based ingredients like arginine or novamin in your toothpaste.
Dr Malouf explains that potassium-based toothpastes will take up to four weeks to take effect but will “continue to work despite acid consumption during the day”, whereas calcium-based toothpastes work much more quickly but are not immune to the effects of acid erosion. So if you’ve got a diet high in acidic foods, then opt for a potassium-based toothpaste.
If you have stained teeth
Stained or discoloured teeth can really affect your confidence. Luckily, there are loads of whitening treatments available as well as a range of specialist toothpastes. Dr Malouf recommends looking for whitening toothpastes with baking soda and/or peroxide in them for stain removal. He advises, “These whitening toothpastes tend to be slightly more abrasive so care should be taken if you suffer from sensitive teeth.” Noted.
If you have cavities
Turns out there are two options if you have cavities. The first is picking a supermarket toothpaste that contains fluoride. The second is hitting your local pharmacy (or dental practice) and picking up a toothpaste that has an even higher concentration of fluoride. Dr Malouf says you should take option two if you have a high decay risk (which your dentist will be able to identify). Dr Malouf’s tip for those who have or are at risk of having cavities is to, “Spit but not rinse after brushing with fluoride toothpaste.”
If you have porcelain or composite veneers
Porcelain veneers are like permanent covers for your teeth, while composite veneers are their semi-permanent (and less expensive) counterpart. Both are a form of cosmetic dentistry. Dr Malouf tells me, “Most commercially available toothpastes are fine for use with porcelain veneers however for composite veneers it is generally recommended to avoid using whitening toothpastes as they are more abrasive and can scratch the surface of composite veneers, causing them to lose their shine and absorb more stain over time.”
So there you have it folks! Now you know what to look for in the toothpaste aisle on your next grocery shop. Oh, and as for flossing Dr Malouf assures me, “The only teeth you need to floss are the ones you want to keep!” Better add floss to the shopping list, stat!
How would you characterise your teeth? What toothpaste do you use?