The mouth is one of the main ways of contact of our organism with the outside. A healthy mouth has an enormous influence on the general state of health of people, as it can prevent pathogenic microorganisms from entering the body.
Nowadays, the population is becoming more and more and better informed about mouth care. This is due to the efforts of the health collective and public administrations, which have promoted education campaigns and general publicity on the subject, which has contributed to the population becoming increasingly aware that the correct state of health of the mouth provides physical, mental and social welfare, which translates into an increase in the adoption of hygienic measures of a preventive nature.
Toothpaste is an indispensable part of routine dental hygiene, but given the wide variety of brands and different components may be difficult to choose which type of toothpaste to use so this article will clarify these aspects.
We must start from the premise that any toothpaste has the objective of preventing dental caries, hence its content of fluorine and xylitol.
From here we can have special components depending on the needs of each patient.
What is The Origin of Toothpaste?
To know the history of toothpaste, we must go back to Ancient Egypt. It can be said that in this civilization, so advanced, there were already dentists who warned of the dangers of a neglected mouth.
The first toothpaste, called clister, was made of pepper, salt powder, mint leaves, flowers, myrrh, crushed egg shells, oxen’s fingernails and pumice stone.
What Kind of Toothpastes are There?
The toothpaste is a chemical substance which, as we have said, is one of the indispensable parts of daily dental hygiene.
One of the characteristics of toothpaste is that it consists of sodium and fluoride. These are essential to protect the enamel of your teeth, above all.
This type of toothpaste prevents tartar formation and retards it. Its active ingredients are commonly Pyrophosphate or Zinc Citrate.
It is true that fluoride helps to reduce cavities, but sometimes it can cause greater risks in our mouth. For example, the iodine in our body decreases which makes it one of the causes of hypothyroidism. Therefore, there are fluoride-free toothpastes.
They have a certain fluoride content in their formula to prevent cavities.
Organic toothpaste, also known as “herbal toothpaste”, is made from natural ingredients. Many brands of organic toothpaste are made from essential oil and contain no controversial ingredients.
It is advisable to know the amount of fluoride contained in the toothpaste and not allow children to swallow the toothpaste or foam that is formed, as excessive and prolonged intake of fluoride can produce bone and tooth alterations.
The placement of toothpaste in the toothbrush must always be done or supervised by an adult and it is important that, during the first years, the brushing is also done under adult supervision, controlling that the toothpaste is not ingested.
Useful Tips if You Have Children
- Children under 2 years of age should use fluoride-free pastes or brush without paste as they usually swallow what they should spit out.
- Two to six year olds should barely stain brush bristles in a pea-sized area and always use low fluoride toothpaste (less than 500 ppm*).
- In children between six and twelve years old, the amount of paste equivalent to the volume of a pea can be placed, and the most suitable toothpastes are those whose fluoride concentration ranges from 500-1000 ppm*.
As far as babies are concerned, breast milk is highly sugary. Therefore, after each feeding (both breast milk and formula), wet gauze should be passed over the gums to remove any traces of sugar. When the first teeth appear, you can use the special baby brushes. These are a kind of thimble which is placed on the finger of the father or mother.
For patients with a tendency to suffer periodontal disease such as gingivitis, there are special toothpastes to help us minimize it.
Patients with dental sensitivity, a very common and annoying pathology, whose potassium nitrate content will help us reduce this problem. Its active ingredients provide relief against dental sensitivity in two ways. First they block the neuronal response to pain and second they block the passage of dentine.
The characteristic ingredients of this type of toothpaste are Nitrate Potassium, or Arginine.
It is recommended that before purchasing a toothpaste of this type, consult your dentist about the type of sensitivity you have and purchase the product with the ingredient indicated for that type of sensitivity.
This type of toothpaste contains mild abrasives that help remove stains on the surface of the teeth, giving it a whitening effect.
The long-term effects of this type of toothpaste are unknown until now.
It can be said that the most effective treatment for whitening your teeth is toothpaste whitening, which consists of reducing the tones of the tooth to look clearer. It can be carried out clinically (in the dental clinic by halogen light) or on an outpatient basis (at the patient’s home independently).
Toothpastes: With or Without Fluoride?
Most toothpastes contain fluoride to protect the teeth, making them more resistant to caries attack. This protection is obtained in a topical way, that is to say, when the fluoride is in contact with the tooth; for that reason it is necessary to brush the teeth for an approximate time of 2 to 3 minutes in order to produce this action.
However, experts in dentistry recognize that it is also essential that toothpaste is reinforced with other products. Specifically, these are tools that will be responsible for reaching the areas of the mouth where the brush does not have access, which will mean better oral hygiene of the person in question. We are talking about floss and also mouthwash.
Whitening Toothpaste, Do They Work?
Each person’s teeth are originally of a different color and, over time, all dentures darken, but there are elements that speed up the process:
- The consumption of beverages such as tea, coffee or red wine, and other foods with a high content of coloring.
- Tooth decay, fillings and tartar.
- A cavity or a blow that affects the nerves and blood vessels of the teeth.
- Some medications, such as tetracycline, an antibiotic given to children in the 1960s.
Whitening pastes basically whiten teeth in two ways, the first, removing the possible dirt that covers the true color of our teeth (like any other toothpaste) and the second, by adding chemicals in its composition (which the rest of toothpastes do not have) that help the tooth get a lighter shade. Deserving of in-depth analysis is the question of whether or not these added compounds are harmful to our teeth. There is no doubt that these are more aggressive compositions than those found in a regular toothpaste, as they are abrasive in nature.
Whitening toothpaste usually contains between 1% and 1.5% hydrogen peroxide. This amount is sufficient to clean the surface stains of the enamel, but it is of no use against the dirt that accumulates inside the teeth (in the dentine and pulp), which is more difficult to remove.
If your teeth have accumulated non-surfaced dirt (something very likely from certain ages) you will not be able to remove it using these products.
Finally, to keep your mouth healthy for much longer, you will have to remove certain habits from your diet, such as alcohol or tobacco. These can not only create spots, but can also create serious diseases, as in the case of tobacco that can lead to the appearance of gingivitis or periodontitis.