When used with a toothbrush, toothpaste helps to remove dental plaque, surface stains and food debris on the surfaces of teeth, gums and the tongue. It has preventive, therapeutic and cosmetic benefits. Toothpaste comes in three forms: paste, gel, and a combination of paste and gel.
Almost all toothpastes contain fluoride in the form of sodium fluoride, sodium monofluorophosphate or stannous fluoride. Research has shown that these preventive agents can reduce cavities.
Main categories of
- Whitening toothpaste
- Anti-tartar toothpaste
- Toothpaste for sensitive teeth
- All-in-one toothpaste
- Toothpaste for children
- “Natural” toothpaste (generally containing no fluoride)
What is fluoride?
Fluoride is a natural element found in the soil, water and various foods. It is good for your oral health, in that it strengthens tooth enamel and helps prevent cavities.
Watch out for fluorosis
Young children who swallow too much toothpaste can develop dental fluorosis, so it is important to supervise children under six while they are brushing. The teeth of children under three should be brushed by an adult.
Slight fluorosis produces white stains on the child’s teeth, but is not dangerous. Fluorosis does not occur in adults.