Tooth Talk with Brinkley Dental Group: Toothpaste, Teeth Whitening and Fluoride, should you try for whiter than white?

In our last blog we addressed the overwhelming variety of toothbrushes on the market and while doing so, we referenced the equally large number of toothpastes crowding out the shelves beneath those brushes. With everything from “all-natural paste,” whitening and/or brightening, fluoride and non-fluoride varieties, paste geared to sensitive teeth and special paste for dentures, the sheer volume of stuff that comes in a tube to clean your teeth can confuse even the most conscientious shopper. Throw in the added incentive to whiten your teeth quickly through magical, strips, dips and mouthwash in just one application (but only if you apply while turning around backwards, spinning on your head and hanging upside down) it’s hard to know what to choose. How complicated does brushing your teeth really need to be?

The short answer according to Dr. Corazza, is “keep it simple.” First and foremost, simply establish a regular tooth brushing routine, preferably three times a day. When it comes to choosing toothpaste, one with fluoride is still best. Because young children may have a tendency to swallow toothpaste however, you should use only a grain sized amount for children younger than three and a pea sized amount for those aged 3-6. This ensures they get the benefits of fluoride without the danger of over-consumption. Brinkley Dental follows Canadian Dental Association guidelines that for youth and adults, regular tooth brushing with fluoridated toothpaste is fine as long as “the total daily intake of fluoride is carefully monitored.” Further, we rely on the proven statistics that suggest “fluoride is considered to be a most important health measure in maintaining oral health for all Canadians and that over 50 years of extensive research throughout the world has consistently demonstrated the safety and effectiveness of fluorides.” (1)

The team here at Brinkley reminds you to also take this into consideration when choosing your brand of toothpaste: Whitening toothpastes contain chemicals or polishing agents that help remove surface stains only. If you choose to use this kind of toothpaste as part of your oral care, make sure it has been approved for use by the CDA. Many such products get the job done through a “chemical chelation” process which is potentially harmful to teeth or may cause already sensitive teeth to become even more sensitive.

Over time, you should be cognizant of the fact that harsh abrasives and chemicals in whitening toothpaste can actually harm the enamel, causing it to wear away more quickly, leaving you with yellower teeth over the long term. As for teeth whitening through bleaching or chemical agents, this should only be done after consultation with your Dentist and then completed by your Dentist. The combination of chemicals in over the counter teeth whitening remedies, without proper consideration and supervision, may possibly do more harm than good.

Your teeth have to last you a lifetime. You may want them to look great for the upcoming holiday party but you don’t want to put your long – term oral health care at risk. Consider, as part of your next appointment with us, allowing time for a conversation about tooth whitening and whether it is right for you. If you’re not due for a visit soon, simply stay tuned for our next blog which will move on from the topic of whitening in toothpaste to whitening your teeth “To Do or not To Do – Over the Counter Whitening Options or Whitening your teeth at Brinkley? Which should you choose?

(1) www.cda-adc.ca