One of the mandatory few things that we do every day to make ourselves presentable in front of our family, friends, and colleagues is brushing our teeth. Yes, the job of every toothpaste in the world is washing away plaque, bacteria, and food particles trapped between our teeth, the last job being shared with toothbrushes too.
There are different toothpaste types available in the market for purposes other than cleaning our teeth — minimizing teeth sensitiveness, extra whitening, preventing tartar buildup, and cavities. Read through to find out about the ingredients present in various kinds of toothpaste and how some of them could actually be harmful to your health.
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Table of Contents
There are several kinds of toothpaste available in the market for oral issues and also for everyday brushing. Let's go through the factors to consider before buying them.
When bacteria present in our mouth feed on the sugars present in the foods we eat, they release acids as byproducts that can corrode our teeth. People who constantly consume acidic food and drinks, for example, citric fruit juices, processed meats, are also at risk of developing cavities.
You can still prevent tooth decay by taking immediate action as soon as you see white spots on your teeth. Anti-cavity toothpastes prevent tooth decay by removing plaque, remineralizing tooth enamel, and also by washing away and killing the bacteria present in your mouth.
An anti-cavity toothpaste contains fluoride, which is the prime ingredient in any toothpaste as it is a mineral present in our saliva that plays a major role in tooth repair. But that's not the only ingredient responsible for preventing tooth decay. Look for ingredients like calcium carbonate and phosphates, which are also present naturally in our saliva, in your toothpaste.
You must be thinking, the purpose of using toothpaste is to prevent tartar buildup and clear any, if present, right? What's the deal with toothpastes made specially to prevent tartar buildup? Well, to answer that, you must understand that plaque and tartar are not the same.
If your daily brushing and flossing are not proper, plaque will stay on your teeth and harden to become tartar. Both plaque and tartar are known to cause tooth decay and gum diseases like gingivitis. These toothpastes have ingredients that prevent tartar buildup and also remove existing plaque that prevents tartar formation.
Normally, tartar control toothpastes have pyrophosphate as disodium pyrophosphate or tetrasodium pyrophosphate. Flip the packet of your toothpaste that claims to control tartar formation to make sure one of these ingredients is present. Also, keep in mind that no toothpaste can remove tartar; you can only prevent tartar formation by removing plaque buildup.
Potassium nitrate and strontium salt work by blocking the water flow through dentinal tubules, thus desensitizing your teeth. The purpose of fluoride in a desensitizing toothpaste is to rebuild the lost enamel, thus gradually covering the exposed nerve endings.
There are fluoride-free desensitizing toothpastes available in the market too, but if you do not have any allergic reaction to fluoride, it is recommended not to go for it as fluoride is a necessary compound for rebuilding lost tooth enamel.
Abrasive agents cannot reach deep inside the tooth, so it might lead to discoloration. For this, companies use chemicals like hydrogen peroxide and carbamide peroxide in toothpaste. Yes, hydrogen peroxide is dangerous when ingested, but don't worry; toothpastes don't contain more than 0.1% of this chemical, so they are safe to use.
One thing to keep in mind is that whitening toothpastes use abrasive agents almost every time, so everyday use is not recommended. They will cause the slow wear of your enamel that protects your teeth, leading to breakage and increased tooth sensitivity. Most whitening toothpastes take one to six weeks to show results. Use them till you get the desired result and switch over to your normal toothpaste.
You must have read on the internet or heard people recommending to go for fluoride-free toothpaste until your baby reaches the age of 2. The reason being, there is a chance for your baby to develop enamel fluorosis, which is a condition that causes tooth discoloration in the form of white spots, streaks or dark marks, because of fluoride exposure at an early age.
You don't have to worry about this if you are using the recommended grain-size amount for babies and toddlers, and a pea-sized amount for kids above 3.
The organic product trend has been around for a long time in the toothpaste industry too. People are switching to organic toothpastes not only because of the fear of chemicals but also because of allergic reactions to certain ingredients commonly found in toothpastes, face washes, and shampoos like sodium lauryl sulfate.
But you should keep in mind that herbal toothpastes may also contain surfactants or detergents for making the toothpaste foam. Nature has provided us with many herbs with anti-cavity, antibacterial and anti-fungal properties that could be used in toothpastes too.
Herbs like mint are added to toothpastes for its cooling and refreshing effects, while cloves are used in desensitizing toothpastes, just to name a few. Unfortunately, no herbs can replace the so there is a chance that you may find these ingredients in herbal toothpastes too.
Even if brushing lasts for two minutes, maybe three, we want a taste that is pleasing to our tongue. Some toothpastes have harsh minty tastes that some people like, but that's not for everyone. Herbal toothpastes usually taste hot and spicy because of the antibacterial herbs present in them, in most cases, along with mint.
If you prefer to use a toothpaste that makes brushing fun, look for the ingredients present in it if the flavor is not obvious from the front of the packet.
Kids' toothpastes usually come in exciting flavors like strawberry and bubblegum. But if you also consider how the toothpaste feels in your mouth, keep in mind that toothpastes with titanium dioxide in them will have a different texture and feel than gel-based toothpastes.
Saccharin and Aspartame are artificial sweeteners used in toothpastes. Both are known as carcinogens. Carrageenan is a substance extracted from seaweed. But being natural doesn't mean it is safe, because it is known to cause colon inflammation and intestinal issues.
That's not all. Diethanolamine is a foaming agent known to hormone disruptions; titanium dioxide is a chemical added to toothpastes to make it white to attract people to buy the product; known for causing non-reproductive organ system toxicity.
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Herbs and More
Herbal Dental Paste
Toothpaste for Overall Dental Health
Toothpaste With a Pleasant Flavor
Xtar The Professional Toothpaste
Tartar Control Toothpaste for Preventing Tooth Decay
Potassium Nitrate Free Desensitizing Toothpaste
Awesome Orange Toothpaste for Kids
Healthy and Flavorful Toothpaste for Kids
Ganoderma Works Best for Plaque and Gingivitis
Gel Based Toothpaste for Whiter Teeth and Fresher Breath
Cleaner, Whiter Teeth With Activated Charcoal
Whitens Teeth and Prevents Tartar Formation
Freshness Gel Cardamom Toothpaste
Gel Based Toothpaste for Fresher Breath
What makes this toothpaste our number one recommendation is the wonderful blend of ingredients in it. Herbs and More Herbal Dental Paste contains neem, clove, aloe vera, and symplocos extracts. Each ingredient is proven to tackle a wide range of dental issues like cavities, gum problems, inflammation, and sensitivity.
The antioxidants present in neem and symplocos help cure gum problems, mouth ulcers, prevent tooth decay, and relieve pain caused by tooth sensitivity. And, the clove and aloe vera extracts kill the bacteria present in your mouth that cause tooth decay.
Arata Refreshing Toothpaste can be used by kids and adults alike. It's a fluoride-free herbal formula with peppermint, cinnamon, and chamomile extracts that cleans your tooth gently and leaves a refreshing feeling in your mouth.
Other ingredients include coconut oil, clove, fennel and lemon known for their antimicrobial and anticavity properties. Arata Refreshing Toothpaste is free from chemicals like formaldehyde, triclosan, parabens, and heavy metals that can cause cancer and hormonal disruptions.
For people diagnosed with a condition where their teeth develop plaque and tartar quickly and frequently, this toothpaste will definitely help them. Calcium in our saliva is responsible for replacing the calcium lost from the corroding action of acids produced by bacteria and our food. But people diagnosed as heavy tartar formers, the calcium binds with the plaque on their teeth, causing tartar.
The pyrophosphates in this toothpaste prevent the calcium from binding with the plaque. XTAR toothpaste also has sodium fluoride in it for preventing bacteria growth, thus providing complete tartar control action. But, remember, no toothpaste can remove already formed tartar; you need to consult a dental professional.
Most desensitizing toothpastes contain potassium nitrate as the desensitizing agent. For people allergic to potassium nitrate, this toothpaste is an apt alternative. Colgate Sensitive Plus contains arginine bicarbonate that works with calcium carbonate in sealing the open dentin tubules that cause increased sensitivity resulting in pain.
The calcium carbonate also works as a remineralization agent that helps prevent tooth decay. This toothpaste also has sodium bicarbonate, which acts as a gentle abrasive agent for removing plaque from the teeth to reveal your enamel’s whiteness under it.
For kids above the age of 4, Mamaeasrth's Awesome Orange Toothpaste will provide an enjoyable brushing experience. The toothpaste contains only 750 ppm fluoride, which is lesser than the recommended 1000 ppm. But don't worry about that; the fluoride content is more than enough to kill bacteria and less enough not to cause fluorosis.
The other natural ingredients in the toothpaste are xylitol, a natural sweetener that prevents bacteria from sticking to the teeth; aloe vera, which helps keep gum diseases and cavities away; natural orange flavor to make the toothpaste fun and exciting for kids. Mamaearth Awesome Orange Toothpaste is free from sodium lauryl sulfate, which is a surfactant found in most toothpastes.
Many of us are probably hearing about Ganoderma for the first time. Let me clear the confusion in the air. It is a genus of polypore fungi that has proven to be efficient in reducing dental plaque and gingivitis and is also popular for its antibacterial properties.
Dxn Ganozhi Toothpaste also has xylitol, a natural sweetener known for its many benefits like maintaining the mouth’s pH, preventing bacteria from sticking to our teeth, repairing tooth enamel, preventing dryness of mouth, and promoting tooth demineralization.
It also contains peppermint and menthol for freshening your breath and is free from parabens, SLS/SLES, and artificial colors, making it a wonderful choice for kids too.
Colgate is a popular choice for many of us. The brand has offered a variety of toothpastes over the years, and Max Fresh has been one of the top choices for many Indians.
This toothpaste works best for people struggling with bad breath. Colgate Max Fresh contains silica known for its gentle abrasive properties that scrape away the plaque from your teeth, making your teeth whiter with continuous usage.
The sweetening agent used in Colgate Max Fresh is sorbitol, which is a non-carcinogen that doesn't get broken down by bacteria in the mouth to release sugars. But the presence of sodium lauryl sulfate and an unknown flavor is a drawback of this product.
With the ongoing activated charcoal trend, we decided to research a charcoal toothpaste in the market. Herbodent Charcoal Toothpaste made it to our list for having ingredients beneficial for fighting many oral health problems. Activated charcoal is known for its ability to pull out dirt from any surface.
But the other ingredients in it caught our eye. Thyme and cardamom present in it help in fighting mouth bacteria, while clove helps with pain caused by sensitive teeth, and wheat germ oil is an antioxidant popular for promoting gum health. The drawbacks of this toothpaste may be the presence of sodium lauryl sulfate, a surfactant, and sodium saccharin, a sweetener.
Just like every whitening toothpaste in the market, Colgate Visible White also whitens your teeth by scraping away the plaque on your teeth using an abrasive agent, and that is silica. The sodium fluoride content helps in fighting bacteria and also in tooth remineralization.
Another benefit of using this toothpaste is the presence of pyrophosphates in it, known for preventing calcium in our saliva from sticking to the plaque on our teeth that results in tartar formation.
Lever Ayush Freshness Gel toothpaste works best for a longer, fresher breath. The company markets this product as an Ayurvedic proprietary medicine for long-lasting fresh breath. The ingredients in this toothpaste are cardamom and arimedas tailam.
Lever Ayush Freshness Gel is not a 100% herbal toothpaste. If you are looking for a fluoride-free toothpaste, this is not for you. But the presence of this mineral is beneficial as it kills bacteria and promotes tooth remineralization.
For your dental care, we've designed buying guides on manual as well as electric toothbrushes followed by the product recommendations. So, check the articles below to know more.
You must have realized by now that every toothpaste will have a chemical in it in one form or the other. These are actually necessary for improving the shelf life and maintaining the consistency of the product. Medical associations all around the globe have conducted studies to evaluate the effect of all these ingredients and proposed an amount that is safe for humans.
Most of the time, these ingredients shouldn't cause any health issues. The only problem is when you are hypersensitive to an ingredient.Take your time to go through the ingredients present in a toothpaste before you buy to maintain a healthy life.
Author - Arun F Xaviour
No. 1：Herbs and More｜Herbal Dental Paste
No. 2：Arata｜Refreshing Toothpaste
No. 3：ICPA｜Xtar The Professional Toothpaste
No. 4：Colgate｜Sensitive Plus
No. 5：Mamaearth｜Awesome Orange Toothpaste for Kids
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