This article is all about toothpaste, what should be in it and why you should use it when brushing your teeth. Forgive me but I’m going to start out with a very simple question.
What should you be putting on your brush?
Right, and what needs to be in the toothpaste?
Fluoride is the single most important thing that is going to protect your teeth. Fluoride works by being incorporated into your tooth structure, toughening up existing enamel and any areas of early decay. It is by far the best ingredient to protect your teeth, demonstrated by the fact that every single decent toothpaste contains it in one form or another. Most toothpastes contain it in the form of sodium fluoride. Other forms have been shown to be good for protecting against decay but this is still the most common form it is used in toothpaste in the UK. Most toothpastes for adults will contain 1450 parts per million (or 1450 PPM) sodium fluoride (otherwise written as NaF). This is what you want. If a toothpaste contains 1450 PPM sodium fluoride (NaF), it doesn’t really matter if it’s from the cheap-cheap range. It will be effective at protecting you against holes in your teeth. If it doesn’t contain fluoride then it is not going to do you any good. Fluoride is the key. Forget all of the marketing. Look at the back of the packet and look for
‘Fluoride’ or ‘F ⁻ ’. 1450PPM Sodium Fluoride (NaF) is probably what you will see most frequently. So most toothpastes are as good as each other. In my opinion, there are two notable exceptions to this;
So most toothpastes are as good as each other. In my opinion, there are two notable exceptions to this;
1. Sensitive toothpastes. In my opinion, a specific sensitive toothpaste can be extremely effective if your teeth are a bit jumpy with things like ice-cream. Unfortunately, different pastes have different ingredients and work in different ways. For me, there is no right or wrong answer here. Different pastes seem to work for different people. You may have to try a couple and see what works for you best. But they do work!
2. Prescribed toothpastes. Dentists will sometimes prescribe toothpaste for patients who are at high risk of decay. These toothpastes are much stronger than what you can get in the shops off the shelf; they contain much more fluoride. As dentists, we currently have 2800 PPM and 5000 PPM fluoride available to prescribe. These are fantastic for any patients who have had a lot of decay in the past.
At this point, I would like to give you my opinion on whitening toothpastes. To my knowledge, most whitening toothpastes tend to work by being quite abrasive. This means that they are not bad for stain removal but they won’t be very effective at actually changing the colour of your teeth. To learn about whitening your teeth, take a look at the articles in the cosmetic section.
Now you’ve got your toothpaste, how are you going to use it? Well first, put a bit on your brush and put the brush in your mouth. I know you know what you’re doing with that stage. The important bit comes when you’ve finished brushing. Once you have brushed your teeth, spit out the toothpaste but DO NOT RINSE! If you rinse out, you are washing away all of that protective fluoride that you’ve worked so hard to get to the right areas. I know this takes a bit of getting used to but it means that the toothpaste can keep working after you’ve brushed your teeth.
Why would you want to get rid of it?
After brushing, spit out but DO NOT RINSE!
Our advice is based on evidence collected and reviewed by Public Health England.