Newspaper article The Chronicle (Toowoomba, Australia)

Time to Brush Up on Toothpaste; Which One Should You Make Your Main Squeeze?

Newspaper article The Chronicle (Toowoomba, Australia)

Time to Brush Up on Toothpaste; Which One Should You Make Your Main Squeeze?

Article excerpt

Byline: Kelly-Anne Waters Dentist and Senior Lecturer in Oral Health Practice, CQUniversity Australia

CHOOSING a toothbrush is relatively simple: dentists recommend brushing with a small-headed soft-bristled brush, for two minutes, twice a day. But how on earth do you decide between the 50-odd toothpastes on the supermarket shelves?

Everybody has bacteria in their mouth which live on sugars in the diet. During the day, this bacteria forms plaque on our teeth and gums. Over time, this begins to dissolve the teeth, causing dental decay (holes).

At the same time, the bacterial plaque irritates the gums and can lead to gum disease.

Here's what to look for when choosing a toothpaste.


The most important ingredient in toothpaste is fluoride. Fluoride helps with remineralising (strengthening) the teeth to reverse and prevent decay. More than a decade of evidence shows using a fluoride toothpaste twice a day results in less decay.

Common forms of fluoride in toothpaste are sodium fluoride, sodium monofluorophosphate and stannous fluoride. Stannous fluoride also has an antibacterial effect which further helps prevent decay and gum disease, and may provide some protection against sensitivity.

High-fluoride toothpastes provide increased protection to those at high risk of dental decay. But they should be used only on the recommendation of your dentist or hygienist, and are only available from pharmacies.

Children's toothpastes usually contain less fluoride, as children may not effectively spit toothpaste out. Too much fluoride increases the risk of fluorosis, mottling of the enamel, especially among children under six years old where their water supply is fluoridated.

From age six, children can use a regular-strength toothpaste.


Triclosan is another common ingredient in toothpaste. It's a well-proven antibacterial agent that helps to reduce plaque build-up and therefore helps protect against decay and gum disease.

Although the US Food and Drug Administration recently banned the use of triclosan in soaps, it's currently still approved for use in toothpaste. …

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