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 Dental Care

august 2012

Tastes Of Paste

Dr Pradeep Reddy
The humble toothpaste makes its way into all our grocery lists. But how many of us are truly informed about this hygiene essential, is a different story altogether. The earliest toothpastes originated in India, Egypt and China. They were made of flower petals, salt and water mixed into a thick paste and rubbed onto teeth using twigs of medicinal plants.

Modern day toothpastes have a base of baking soda and hydrogen peroxide along with various other additives which cater to a variety of dental requirements.

Types Of Toothpastes
Just the number of options you have when you buy a tube of toothpaste can be overwhelming. Should you go for tartar control or fluoride or both? Not to mention whitening toothpastes or formulas with all natural ingredients. When it comes to choosing the best toothpaste for you, it’s important to think about your unique oral health needs.

Fluoride Toothpaste
Bacteria in your mouth feed on sugars and starch that remain on your teeth after eating. Fluoride helps protect your teeth from the acid that is released when this happens. It works in two ways. First, fluoride makes your tooth enamel stronger and therefore it is less likely to suffer acid damage. Second, it can reverse the early stages of acid damage by re-mineralising areas that have started to deca.

Toothpaste For Sensitive Teeth
For people who have teeth that are easily irritated - for instance, by hot or cold temperatures - there are toothpastes that are specially formulated for sensitive teeth. These toothpastes usually contain potassium nitrate or strontium chloride. These chemical compounds, which can take up to four weeks to offer relief, reduce tooth sensitivity by blocking pathways through the teeth that attach to nerves.

Whitening Toothpaste
To help people on a quest for pearly whites, many whitening toothpastes are now being marketed for everyday use. Whitening toothpastes do not typically contain bleaches. Instead, they contain abrasive particles or chemicals that effectively polish the teeth or bind to stains and help pull them off the tooth surface. Although you might be concerned that the abrasiveness of whitening toothpastes could damage your teeth, studies suggest that whitening toothpastes are no harder on tooth enamel than other types of toothpastes.

Choosing The Best Toothpaste
  • Opt for IDA approval. Whatever be your toothpaste needs, be sure to select the toothpaste that has earned the Indian Dental Association seal of approval. IDA approved toothpastes are evaluated for safety and effectiveness by an independent review board of scientific experts.
  • All toothpastes with the IDA seal of approval contain fluoride - the most important ingredient in any toothpaste.
  • Consider your needs and the needs of your family members. As long as you select a fluoride containing toothpaste, the best toothpaste is a matter of personal choice and preference.
  • If you’re committed to an all-natural lifestyle, you may want to opt for IDA-approved toothpastes that contain only natural ingredients.
  • If you are trying to instill good oral hygiene habits in your children, why not choose fruit-flavoured toothpastes with sparkles to entice them to brush their teeth?
  • If you are seeking to restore whiteness in your teeth, you must opt for whitening toothpastes that contain appropriate whitening ingredients.
Concerns on the abrasiveness of whitening toothpastes apart, studies suggest that whitening toothpastes are no harder on tooth enamel than other types of toothpaste

Teeth It Elsewhere Too!
  • Unpleasant Odours: Cutting onions, cleaning fish or handling garlic can leave a strong odour on your hands. Wash them with toothpaste to remove the smell.
  • Dull Metal Jewellery: Use a soft toothbrush with a tiny amount of toothpaste to brush dull metal jewellery, Rinse and polish it to a shine with a soft cloth.
  • Bathroom Touches: Rub and clean a glass shower door with a damp sponge and a squirt of toothpaste. For heavy scum and soap stains, let the toothpaste sit on the door for several minutes before rinsing it off.
  • Stain Free: Eliminate water marks on wooden surfaces suffered from bottles, glasses or tumblers Rub them off with toothpaste and a soft cloth.
Dr Pradeep Reddy is In-charge, Apollo Dental Centre, Apollo Health City, Hyderabad.