There are hundreds of toothpaste brands out there; jumbo size, small, flavored, disinfectant, whitening, fluoridated, and so on and so on. Most people just grab whatever brand they like and off they go; but knowing the different options out there and the several benefits they provide will help you make a more conscious choice that could have a great effect on your oral hygiene.
Toothpaste’s function (aside from cleaning) heavily depends on their active ingredients; two different brands under the same category might have extremely different chemical composition that leads to wildly different results depending on your particular situation. This is why you should always consult a healthcare professional before you start using a new product and are unaware of what effects it might have on you.
Anti-decay toothpaste (AKA Fluoridated toothpaste)
Most toothpaste already carries at least a small amount of fluoride, but there are specialized products that add even more. Fluoride is like a shield for teeth, it provides an extra layer of protection for the enamel preventing acid-derived degradation (such as acid produced by bacteria). A good fluoridated toothpaste contains at least 1.000 ppm (parts per million) of active ingredients such as Monofluorophosphate, Sodium Fluoride or Stannous Fluoride.
Child fluoridated toothpaste is also quite common, it usually comes in sweet flavors such as bubblegum or candy, and has around 550 ppm. Keep in mind that fluoride can be toxic, and the sweet flavors might lead some children to try and eat it, so always keep it away from your child’s reach, and consult a health professional if you ever ingest a significant amount (considerably more than what you use to brush)
Teeth sensitivity, as in, the uncomfortable sensation felt when you bite or when you ingest cold or hot food, can be a bother. Desensitizing pastetries to help you with that by inhibiting the pain receptors. Potassium Nitrate and Arginine are the two most commonly used active ingredients, but there are many more possible combinations made by different brands.
Before opting for desensitizing toothpaste consult your health professional, to a) see which one is best fitted for you and b) to diagnose and treat the probable cause of your sensitivity.
As the name implies, the active ingredient prevents the calcification process of food residue, preventing the formation of tartar. While a there are more than a few brands on the market, keep in mind that most research has shown that the actual reduction of tartar is actually quite small, so it’s not a good replacement for a regular cleansing.
Lastly, whitening toothpaste uses very weak abrasive substances to remove the residue that gives your teeth that yellowish color, while the effects are noticeable after a couple of weeks of use, keep in mind that we don’t have any longitudinal evidence of the side-effects of this toothpaste.