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Are you using the right toothpaste? Your Fort Lauderdale dentist wants you to know what to look for

When you visit your dentist in Fort Lauderdale every six months for your dental cleaning, you leave with a "goody bag" containing a new toothbrush, floss and toothpaste.  As your partner in your oral health journey, your dentist wants to provide you with the tools needed for the job of maintaining your oral health and preventing dental decay: dental floss, a proper, soft-bristled toothbrush and ADA Accepted toothpaste.

What is toothpaste?

Toothpaste, whether gel or paste, is an abrasive that helps clean teeth by removing plaque and prevent gum disease. Your toothpaste may contain specialty chemicals to prevent sensitive teeth or to whiten teeth.  Toothpaste can also contain artificial sweeteners to provide a pleasant flavor. Other toothpaste ingredients include thickeners for improved texture, humectants to retain moisture and detergents like sodium lauryl sulfate that cause it to foam.

When selecting a toothpaste consider:

Flouride :  Proven to help strengthen your tooth's enamel and prevent decay, flouride is a vital ingredient in all toothpaste.  It may be in the form sodium fluoride, stannous fluoride, or sodium monofluorophosphate (MFP).  Most toothpastes contain 1,350 to 1,500ppm fluoride; however, higher strength toothpaste is available by prescription from your dentist in Fort Lauderdale.  In order for toothpaste to receive the seal of ADA Acceptance, it must contain flouride.

Abrasiveness : The abrasive effect of toothpaste is indicated by its Relative dentin abrasivity (RDA) value.   While all ADA-approved toothpaste must have an RDA of 250 or less, the ADA recommends the RDA of a toothpaste should be 70 or below.  Toothpaste that has a RDA higher than 250 may damage the teeth. 

At least 50% of a typical toothpaste is made up of its abrasive agent. Whether sodium bicarbonate, calcium carbonate, aluminum hydroxide, or other agent, these abrasives are designed to help remove plaque, debris and surface stains from the teeth. Removal of plaque and calculus stops the accumulation of tartar and development of dental decay, or cavities. 


Flavor :  The taste of your toothpaste is obviously important. While most modern toothpastes seem to be mint flavored, others may be cinnamon or fruit flavored. Be careful when selecting trendy, flavored toothpastes as some may contain ingredients that actually contribute to tooth decay! ADA-approved toothpaste will not contain sugar or any other substances that contribute to tooth decay.

Cost : Just because it costs more, do not assume it is better. A lot of money is spent in marketing toothpaste and that cost is passed to the consumer. Costs can range from $1 to more than $20 per tube depending on brand, the type of ingredients being used, and the size of the tube.

ADA Approval : The most important aspect of selecting a toothpaste brand is making sure it has the ADA (American Dental Association) Seal of Acceptance on the label.  In order to earn the ADA Seal of Acceptance a toothpaste must contain fluoride.  These ADA accepted toothpastes may contain other ingredients that improve oral health such as lessening tooth sensitivity, reducing gingivitis or tartar build-up, or preventing enamel erosion. Additionally, ADA accepted toothpastes may contain ingredients for cosmetic results  such as whitening teeth.

If you have further questions about which toothpaste is best for you, talk to your Fort Lauderdale dentist at your next visit.  Call Excellence in Dentistry in Fort Lauderdale at 954-928-1666 to schedule your dental cleaning and check up. 

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