Toothpaste is considered, together with the toothbrush, as the single most important way to promote good dental health; and to prevent the majority of the most predominant dental issues that someone can face.
Toothpaste’s abrasive qualities clean the teeth, in turn preventing the build-up of plaque, as well as providing a whole host of other dental and oral hygiene benefits.
Here’s the only toothpaste guide you’ll ever need: where toothpaste has come from, what it’s used for, what to look out for, in addition to an outline of the different types of toothpastes for specialised dental needs.
The History Of Toothpaste
As far back as 5000 BC, Ancient Egyptians used a tooth powder – which combined powdered ox hooves, myrrh and burnt eggshells, amongst other things – to clean their teeth. Over time, Western civilisations iterated on that recipe, while similar innovations cropped up in Asia and the Middle East.
Hydrogen peroxide and baking soda-based pastes first appeared towards the end of the 19th century. By the 1950s, fluoride had been successfully added, and modern toothpastes as we know them hit the shelves.
But why did we ever need these powders, and later pastes, in the first place? Wasn’t brushing a good enough defence on its own?
The Purpose Of Toothpaste
While it is true that brushing your teeth without toothpaste can go some of the way towards breaking down and preventing plaque build-up; that’s just one part of the equation. Toothpastes hold many important purposes in good dental care.
These are just some of the many applications of toothpaste:
- It’s an abrasive that removes plaque and food build-up from the teeth
- Delivers ingredients such as fluoride to combat tooth decay and gum disease such as gingivitis
- Can assist with the suppression of halitosis
These benefits are just the ones that come from most simple toothpastes. There’s an entire world of specialised toothpastes, which take the guesswork out of treating a diverse set of dental and dental hygiene-related issues.
What To Look For When Selecting A Toothpaste
First thing’s first though: identifying the non-negotiable “must-haves” that need to be present in every toothpaste.
All good toothpastes will have:
- Fluoride: this one is absolutely key. It’s far and away the most important, because the fluoride fights tooth decay by strengthening the enamel of your teeth over time
- A clinical seal of acceptance: your toothpaste needs to certifiably be considered a toothpaste by a governing body, in order to ensure that you’re getting a product that will clean your teeth
- A great taste: because seriously, life is too short to brush your teeth with a bad-tasting toothpaste!
If you’re using a toothpaste regularly that has all three of these things, then you can be assured of a dental future largely free of complication.
All that having been said, another one of the fantastic (and at time confusing!) benefits of toothpaste are their versatility. Many different variants exist, each of which cater to one or many different problems.
One such variant is children’s toothpastes. For the most part, children’s toothpastes aren’t paid attention to. That’s mainly due to the fact that children and adults have nearly identical needs from their toothpastes. However, tooth decay is an increasingly important issue among children.
It’s hard to convince kids to sit still and brush their teeth, so often, a toothpaste with bright packaging or a unique taste is just what’s needed to get them to get brushing.
Another common specialised toothpaste is toothpaste for sensitive teeth. These toothpastes – which are gentle on gum and teeth – are a very popular choice for those who struggle to eat and consume common things such as ice-cream and hot drinks.
Although teeth-whitening toothpastes can only do so much, they do have some degree of teeth-whitening effectiveness. That’s because they contain specifically designed abrasives to polish teeth to a greater extent than typical toothpastes.
The final common type of specialised toothpaste is known as tartar control toothpaste. Tartar is the term for plaque which has hardened over time. It’s stubborn and hard to get rid of. Even though tartar control toothpastes cannot completely resolve issues with tartar, they’re a good place to start for those with large build-ups.
Unsure which toothpaste is for you? Do you want to know how you or your family could benefit from a specific dental care plan? Get in touch with our dentists in Camberwell today. We’re here to help.