Toothpaste FAQs - Holladay Family Dental
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Toothpaste FAQs

Toothpaste FAQs

Every time you go to the dentist, you probably hear the same thing: “Make sure you brush your teeth twice a day.” Brushing is essential to preserving your teeth and fighting off gum diseases like gingivitis. Since brushing is so important, toothpaste must be important, too.

We are lucky today to have so many flavors and choices. In the past before toothpaste was invented people were left to their own devices—fingers, sticks, pumice, even crushed eggshells—anything to dislodge stuck food and to cause some abrasion in order to clean teeth. Today, it can be overwhelming to know what kind of toothpaste is the best to use for your teeth. Hopefully this article will give you some guidance and help you to know what to look for in a good toothpaste so you can have good dental hygiene.

How much toothpaste should I use each time I brush?

You should use a “pea” sized amount. Although toothpaste is essential to reducing the amount of plaque and bacteria in our mouths, too much toothpaste can be overly abrasive to your teeth and could actually damage your enamel.

What about fluoride? Is it good to have in toothpaste? Or not?

Brushing with fluoride has been shown over and over again to strengthen tooth enamel and even help remineralize teeth. Fluoride can even reduce the amount of bacteria in your mouth. There is no question that a fluoride toothpaste can help reduce tooth decay.

However, studies have also shown that ingesting or swallowing large amounts of fluoride can also be bad for your health. Large amounts of fluoride can cause dental fluorosis, which is weakened teeth, sometimes with brown stains on them. Fluorosis can occur because people get fluoride from several different sources, like water supply, and it all adds up.

But, just to be safe, many toothpastes designed for young children will not have fluoride in them or will have small amounts. If someone in your family tends to swallow more toothpaste than they spit out, you may want to consider a toothpaste without fluoride in it. But older teens and adults can benefit from using a fluoride toothpaste.

Are there ingredients in toothpastes that I should avoid?

Unfortunately, several toothpastes on the market today DO reduce tooth decay like they claim, but have other toxic ingredients that can harm you. In toothpaste and all your personal care products, you should be aware of what you are putting on or in your body.

Avoid products with the following ingredients:
  • Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS). This was once a detergent used to clean floors. Now it is in a number of personal care products for its foaming effect. It’s irritating to skin and can make cold sores worse. It’s even in some foods like angel food cake mixes! Look for glycyrrhizin as a healthier alternative. SLS is carcinogenic, which means that it is potentially cancer-causing.
  • Propylene Glycol is an ingredient in anti-freeze and is used to soften cosmetics. It also has several possible negative effects on the body, including nerve and liver damage.
  • Diethanolamine or DEA is a known hormone disruptor and carcinogen. It’s also found in other beautify products like hair dyes.
  • Triclosan is antibacterial and thus can help reduce gingivitis but also is a carcinogenic chemical that can interfere with the endocrine system of the body.
  • Artificial Sweeteners like saccharin are found in a number of toothpastes. Many people believe that saccharin is cancer-causing. Instead of saccharin, look for xylitol. It is a sweetener that has cavity-preventing properties.

If you have anymore questions, feel free to contact us at Holladay Family Dental. Take advantage of our new patient dental specials to take great care of your teeth.