Choosing your toothpaste:
It’s essential that your toothpaste contains fluoride, and the right amount of it. A naturally occurring mineral, fluoride helps protect the enamel, and your teeth from decay. According to the NHS, adults should use toothpaste containing 1,350-1,500ppm of fluoride1. To check the amount, look at the parts per million (ppm) of fluoride on the packaging.
If you’d like to keep your smile bright, you could opt for whitening toothpaste. Containing stain-removing ingredients, whitening toothpastes can remove staining from food and drink. However, they aren’t as effective as whitening treatment provided by a dentist. While they can remove surface stains, most don’t remove stains under the tooth enamel (the protective layer over teeth).
It’s important to check if whitening toothpastes are for daily use and follow the instructions provided. Many whitening toothpastes are abrasive, and if overused, could gradually wear away the enamel. This not only causes tooth sensitivity but could make teeth more yellow long-term - when the enamel is thinned, there’s more show-through of dentine (the tissue that sits below the enamel), which is yellow in nature. Charcoal toothpaste has become a teeth whitening trend, but it’s a myth that it can replace your regular toothpaste. It typically doesn’t contain fluoride and is too abrasive for daily use.
If you have sensitive teeth or gums, desensitising toothpaste is specifically designed to provide relief. It includes active ingredients which block pain signals travelling between the tooth surface and sensory nerves inside it.
Tooth sensitivity can occur due to several reasons, from receding gums, to cracked teeth and tooth decay. So, if you experience sensitivity, it’s also important to see your dentist, who can examine the cause and recommend appropriate treatment.
For children’s toothpaste, we recommend toothpaste which has been specifically designed for children. These typically contain fluoride, which is essential for helping prevent tooth decay.
And it’s important it contains the right amount of fluoride, which depends on a child’s age. The NHS provides the following guidance:
• Children age six or younger should use toothpaste containing at least 1,000ppm of fluoride, or family toothpaste with between 1,350ppm and 1,500ppm.
• Children age seven and over should use family toothpaste with between 1,350ppm and 1,500ppm2.