Choosing A Toothpaste

Ask Dr. Stanfield: Which is the best toothpaste for my family?

Ah, the wonderful, confusing world of toothpaste. It seems there is a toothpaste for every special need under the sun.  So, how do we choose the best toothpaste to use for our needs?

Seriously, toothpastes often don’t just clean your teeth; many contain added components to prevent decay and tartar, whiten teeth, and desensitize teeth. Some of these additives – especially those used for whitening and tartar control – can cause teeth to be sensitive teeth and may not offer you significant benefits. And if you already have sensitive teeth due to gum recession, tooth grinding, or overzealous brushing with a hard toothbrush, these additives can make your teeth even more sensitive.

In my experience, most people who get regular professional dental care don’t need tartar control additives because the tartar that forms between regular teeth cleanings is not enough to cause a problem.

In any case, choose a brand-name toothpaste with the approval seal from the ADA Council of Dental Therapeutics. Only buy one toothpaste with the components you really need (most people only need fluoride). If in doubt, ask your dentist.

Why are toothpastes “for sensitive teeth” good to use?

Toothpastes designed “for sensitive teeth” contain a substance that “seals” the outer layer of the tooth, especially any exposed roots. These toothpastes reduce natural sensitivity as well as post-bleaching tooth sensitivity.