We love to have choices. We have hundreds of television stations to choose from, endless movie options at the box office, and about a million kinds of hot sauce in the grocery store aisle. While choice can be a great thing, it can also lead to unnecessary anxiety as we compare two relatively similar products and try to deduce which is best for us. Do we want shinier, stronger hair, or livelier, bouncier hair? Should our morning coffee be French roasted or Colombian? When it comes to choosing a toothpaste, the choices can be just as endless as they are in the rest of the store. The American Dental Association (ADA) has come up with strict guidelines for toothpastes that are awarded their Seal of Acceptance, and that seal is a great place to start your hunt! Today we’re looking into what the ADA describes as a good toothpaste, so you know the bare bones of what you’re getting when you pick up any bottle with their Seal of Acceptance.
1. Fluoride is a must.
The ADA will not approve any toothpaste that doesn’t contain fluoride, an important mineral that helps strengthen the enamel of teeth. If a toothpaste doesn’t have the ADA seal, it doesn’t necessarily mean this product is fluoride-free, but it is important to check the active ingredients yourself to find it.
2. There must be other active ingredients that support oral health.
Fluoride is front and center, but ADA-approved toothpastes must also contain ingredients that either whiten teeth, reduce gingivitis, help with tooth sensitivity, prevent bad breath, or help your teeth defend themselves against erosion. These ingredients will be listed as active ingredients on the box of toothpaste, and often there will be an explanation as to what each ingredient may do.
3. Sugar is an outlaw.
Any flavoring agent that is known to lead to tooth decay is banned from ADA-approved toothpastes. Sugar is the biggest flavor enhancer on that list, and any toothpaste that uses sugar will never be approved by the American Dental Association.
4. Science is the backbone.
Any brand hoping to earn the ADA Seal of Acceptance much show rigorous scientific research that supports their claims. Along with the research conducted by the company itself, the ADA Council on Scientific Affairs will conduct its own, unbiased research to back up the claims made. There must be scientific evidence to prove the safety and efficacy of each approved toothpaste, and the analysis must be objective.
Picking the right toothpaste can be difficult, but it’s an important first step in your oral hygiene routine. While there are many different benefits touted by each brand, make sure that whatever you pick is ADA-approved and doing your teeth as much good as the label claims. If you’re lost on toothpaste options, asking your dentist for his or her recommendation is a great place to start!
To come in for a consultation or routine check up, give us a call at Oradent Associates in Chicago today!