A Short Lesson on Toothpaste

We use toothpaste every day, but do you ever wonder what exactly you’re putting into your mouth? When you look at your toothpaste ingredients, you probably don’t recognize most of the chemicals listed but that doesn’t mean that they’re necessarily bad for you. Here is a list of basic ingredients that you might want to look out for.

Sodium Lauryl Sulfate – This chemical helps create foam when you brush your teeth making your teeth feel especially squeaky-clean. If you have sensitive gums or are prone to getting canker sores, you may want to try a toothpaste that doesn’t include this chemical as it is harsh on your mouth.

Tetrasodium Pyrophosphate – This ingredient helps keep the tartar from building up on your teeth. While this is normally not a big deal, the active ingredient can only work if it is dissolved in a stronger chemical, which can affect people who are sensitive to high pH levels.

Silica – This is the slightly abrasive material that is used to polish the teeth. Most whitening toothpastes include this ingredient and it is probably why your dentist will advise you to take a break from whitening toothpaste every now and then. If you are noticing more sensitivity in your teeth and gums, take a break from whitening toothpastes and go to your dentist instead for a professional cleaning.

Saccharin – Saccharin is an artificial sweetener that is used to balance the bitter flavor that toothpaste would be without it. Even though it sounds like it’s a type of sugar, it doesn’t actually harm your teeth or cause decay. The only worry about saccharin is that it has conflicting reports on safety (Saccharin was linked to cancer in studies done in the past) and young kids may end up swallowing a lot of toothpaste accidentally.

These days, you can find all sorts of different toothpastes (whitening, tartar control, breath control, advanced, sensitive teeth, enamel health, etc.). There are also many “natural” toothpastes but be aware that this doesn’t mean that they are necessarily better for you. Find the toothpaste that works best for you and that you are most comfortable with. If you have any questions about this topic, or need to see a dentist for any other issue, call Candlewood Dental Care at 203-746-1200 or make an appointment here with Dr. Lorraine Burio who has been practicing in the New Fairfield, CT area for over 25 years.