When you go to the store to buy toothpaste, you are usually faced with a wide variety of options. There are many different brands and each brand has many different varieties and flavors. Knowing which to choose for yourself and for your family can be quite a challenge! How do you know what to look for in a toothpaste?

Let’s start with the basics. Choosing between a paste or gel is your personal preference. Both have essentially the same ingredients. Select the type that is most pleasant for you, so you’ll use it! This is particularly important when choosing a toothpaste for children. If they don’t like the consistency of the toothpaste, they’ll be less likely to brush as often as they should.

Regardless of the type, your toothpaste should contain fluoride. Even if your tap water has fluoride, you still need a toothpaste with this very important ingredient as well. Fluoride helps to protect your teeth by making the enamel stronger and by reversing the effects of acid damage.

Are your teeth sensitive? Then you should select a toothpaste made just for sensitive teeth. This type of toothpaste contains compounds that keep pain signals resulting from exposure to cold, heat, or sweets from reaching your nerves.

Looking for whiter teeth? You might consider a whitening toothpaste that contains abrasives or chemicals that “polish” your teeth each time you brush. Of course, a professional whitening treatment can be more effective and longer lasting.

Tartar control toothpaste contains chemical compounds that help prevent tartar from building up on the teeth. Some also contain an antibiotic called triclosan that kills some of the bacteria that builds up in your mouth. Tartar control toothpastes are helpful in fighting plaque that can lead to gum disease.

Any toothpaste you choose should have the American Dental Association (ADA) seal of approval. The ADA tests toothpaste for safety and effectiveness before giving it their seal of approval. You can also be assured that any toothpaste that has the ADA seal of approval contains fluoride, which is the most important thing to look for in your toothpaste.

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