When it comes to choosing the best toothpaste for your kids, all of the options available can be quite overwhelming. Should you aim for tartar control? How important is fluoride? Do you kids complain of tooth sensitivity? And then there are the formulas with different flavors and sparkles that make brushing teeth fun. Smile Reef would like to offer the following basics to help you decide on the best toothpaste for your child.
Toothpastes are available in paste, gel and powder forms. Despite the many different types of toothpaste, there are some ingredients that are common to most varieties that have different purposes. These include:
- Abrasive agents. Scratchy materials like calcium carbonate and silicates help remove food, bacteria and even some stains from teeth.
- Humectants. These are added for moisture retention. Paste and gel toothpastes often contain substances like glycerol to prevent the toothpaste from drying out.
- Detergents. Think about all of those suds you see when you brush your teeth. They are caused by detergents like sodium lauryl sulfate.
- Flavoring. Artificial sweeteners like saccharin are often added to toothpaste to improve the taste. While many adults associate the flavor of toothpaste with mint, toothpaste is also available in a variety of flavors including cinnamon, lemon-lime, and even kid friendly bubblegum.
- Thickening Agents. These add thickness to the toothpaste to help achieve and maintain the proper toothpaste texture.
The most important ingredient to look for when choosing a toothpaste is fluoride. Fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral which has been instrumental in the dramatic drop of cavities and tooth decay over the last 50 years! Bacteria in your mouth routinely feed on the sugars and starches that remain on your teeth after eating. Fluoride helps protect your teeth from the acid that is released when this occurs by making your tooth enamel stronger. In addition, it can actually reverse the early stages of acid damage by re-mineralizing areas of the teeth that have already started to decay! Using fluoride toothpaste is an important way to ensure that teeth are reaping the benefits of this mineral. Many people think they do not need to worry about fluoride if they like in an area like Las Vegas where fluoride is already added to our water, but studies have shown you can still benefit from using fluoride toothpastes.
Tartar Control Toothpaste
There are many tartar control toothpastes on the market, most of which also contain fluoride. We all have a layer of bacteria on our teeth called plaque. If this plaque is not removed, it quickly hardens into tartar. Tartar is a difficult to remove deposit that can build up on your teeth and under your gums which can ultimately lead to gum disease. There are a variety of ingredients used in toothpaste to help prevent the buildup of tartar on teeth. Chemical compounds are often added and sometimes even antibiotics which kill off some of the bacteria in the mouth. Certain toothpastes that contain multiple anti-plaque agents have been found to be even more effective at tartar control than varieties with only one plaque fighter.
Sensitive Teeth Toothpaste
For children who have teeth that are easily irritated, particularly by hot or cold temperatures, there are many toothpastes available that are targeted towards sensitive teeth. These toothpastes usually contain chemical compounds to help tooth sensitivity by blocking pathways through the teeth that attach to the nerves inside. Please be aware that when trying a new toothpaste, it can take up to four weeks for the sensitivity to improve.
With so many options available, you can try different brands, types and flavors to find the best toothpaste for you and your children. And always feel free to call upon Smile Reef for advice!