I am frequently asked by patients what is the best type of toothpaste to use because as a consumer they are so inundated with information from ads on TV, newspaper coupons, internet, etc. As a consumer, you may think:
- “Because I am using this expensive toothpaste, I cannot possibly have any plaque in my mouth”
- “I use this special herbal toothpaste in my mouth that is guaranteed to cure my gum problems”
- “My toothpaste makes my teeth whiter”
- “My toothpaste makes my teeth stronger”
With all these different toothpastes on the market, you the patients are certainly in a quandary as to what you should use. If you use toothpaste, make sure it has sodium fluoride as the active ingredient since it is helpful in making the tooth more resistant to decay (cavities) and it also has antibiotic properties. Most of the other ingredients polish, make it taste good, and act as binders and fillers.
I tell my patients that toothpaste on the brush is not enough. It is like throwing a bucket of expensive soapy water on a dirty car (you still have to scrub all the nooks and crannies where the dirt lies and then rinse the dirty soapy water off). The bristles of the brush must reach all the surfaces of all the teeth if you expect the tooth to be plaque free (free of germs). So after all is said and done, my favorite toothpaste is called Elbow Grease. When it is properly applied, with a good brush, it will do wonders for keeping the teeth clean! (But it does not get between the teeth, so flossing is still needed). Choosing a good toothpaste and using proper brushing technique can go a long way to preventing periodontal disease…