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What about Toothpastes





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What about Toothpastes

The most common advertisements seen today are for oral care products like toothpastes, toothbrushes and mouthwashes. And with the proliferation of different toothpastes, each one is trying to find a niche. Hence manufacturers would have us believe that we need a different toothpaste for whitening teeth, for controlling tartar, for fresh breath, for bleeding gums, etc. But is that really the case?

The GEL Craze:

Today gels are being advertised more than regular pastes. And every second person we ask says that they have switched to gel. Some think that gels are better tasting. Others think they are more refreshing, contain a mouthwash, whiten teeth, or are just plain cool!!! None of the above is based on factual data.

Most gels do not contain fluoride, a chemical that is highly recommended to prevent tooth decay. Gels contain Silica gel, as opposed to pastes which contain Sodium Laurel Sulphate. This silica gel may be more abrasive than SLS, however not very significantly. Hence, if you live in a fluoride-deficient region, use Fluoride-containing paste. But if you live in a fluoride-endemic area, then a gel may be used.

Speciality Toothpastes

We get special toothpastes to control tartar, to prevent gum disease, to whiten teeth, to desensitize teeth, and for tobacco users. This bewildering array can be quite confusing to the layman.

  • Tartar control toothpastes cannot remove the tartar that is already present. They can only prevent the formation of additional tartar. Hence it is necessary to get a professional cleaning done before beginning to use this kind of toothpaste.

  • Gum disease preventing toothpastes are the newest addition to the market. They can control the deposition of harmful plaque and can prevent gum disease. However, they cannot treat existing gum disease. They are recommended by dentists to those having a tendency towards heavy plaque deposition.

  • Smoker's toothpastes are not recommended as they contain gritty particles to abrade away the stains caused by the use of tobacco. They can damage the tooth structure by excessive abrasion and also cause gum recession.

  • Sensitivity toothpastes are useful when a person has recession of the gums, causing the roots of the teeth to become exposed to the oral environment. They contain chemicals which can block the sensations from passing to the nerve of the tooth. They can be used for a few months after consultation with your dentist to rule out any other problem.

  • Whitening toothpastes do their work either by chemical action or by physical abrasive action. The abrasive action is harmful to your teeth, as seen under Smoker's toothpastes. The chemical action may be safe but it is a slow process. If you are serious about whitening your teeth, consult your dentist about other options for tooth whitening.

  • Fresh-breath toothpastes or gels contain flavours that will mask your bad-breath for a certain period of time. They cannot get to the root-cause of the problem.

  • Ayurvedic medicated toothpastes are available and some people are very happy with the results. We are not qualified to judge the efficacy of the constituents. The only thing against them is their gritty consistency, which can cause severe abrasion of the enamel. Some pastes contain clove oil, which has no proven value when used in the form of a toothpaste. In addition, the pungent taste can be quite strong.

Some people like to use a toothpowder instead of a paste, believeing them to be better at cleaning teeth. Their abrasiveness is their negative characteristic. There is no actual advantage to using a powder over a paste.

When gels containing mouthwash were first introducted, some people assumed that it was no longer necessary to wash their mouth after brushing - the mouthwash would do it for them anyway!

Brush your teeth twice a day with a fluoride-containing paste. Use a soft-medium bristle brush with a small head and a straight handle. Brushing is achieved by the mechanical action of cleaning with the bristles of the brush. Take the time to learn the correct technique of brushing from your dentist. No toothpaste can help if you do not brush correctly and adequately!


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