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Dental Health

How to Choose the Right Toothpaste

When you’re trying to decide on a toothpaste, you’ll note that most of them claim to fight cavities, gingivitis, plaque, sensitivity and tartar, while many of them promise to whiten teeth and freshen breath. With so many on the market, here’s what to know when you choose:

Does whitening toothpaste really work?
Yes, though most don’t have enough whitening ingredients to get noticeable results in the short term. And long-term use may cause sensitivity.

Can over-the-counter toothpaste for sensitive teeth work as well as prescription brands?
If you have sensitive teeth, you have fewer options. Over-the-counter sensitive toothpastes are a little more affordable, and they work fairly well. But you can also pay more for a sensitive toothpaste prescription from your dentist if the OTC brand doesn’t provide the results you want.

Can a toothpaste restore enamel?
A lot of brands claim they can restore enamel. While this is possible, restoration depends on the condition of your teeth. A fluoridated toothpaste will help restore enamel that has not yet decayed. If there is decay, however, all bets are off.

Should I rinse after I brush?
You reap the best benefits by not rinsing after brushing because this allows the ingredients to be absorbed fully into your teeth and gums. This goes for all toothpaste, including those for sensitivity. Most people are conditioned to rinse, though. (This may be especially true with sensitive toothpaste, which typically doesn’t taste as good as the regular kinds.) A good rule of thumb: Don’t rinse, eat or drink until 30 minutes after brushing.

Related:
Kids' Dental Coverage Uncertain Under ACA

Along with flossing, a good toothpaste is an essential part of your daily dental care routine. Pastes, gels or powders enhance the cleaning power of your toothbrush. Be sure the one you choose contains fluoride—at least 1,000 parts per million—so it removes plaque effectively. Also check the package for the American Dental Association stamp of approval.

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