What are the different types of toothpaste and how do they work?

There is a variety of different toothpaste available for sale, some of which are designed with specific functions in mind. Here is a list of some of them, which explains what their functions are and how they differ from one another:

Children's toothpaste usually contains less fluoride than those designed for adults. This is because of the risk posed by children ingesting too much fluoride. Children's toothpaste often has fewer abrasives in it so that the product is gentler on the sensitive teeth of youngsters. It is common for this toothpaste to be flavoured in such a way as to make brushing appeal to children. You should monitor your child's brushing to ensure that they are not being too vigorous and that they are brushing all areas of their mouth adequately. Any oral health problems developing in children might have an impact on their mouth for the rest of their life. For very young children there is even toothpaste which is completely free from fluoride because of the heightened risk it can pose to those who are under eighteen months of age.

Smokers' toothpaste is specifically designed for those who smoke tobacco. Smokers often find that their teeth become stained because of the process of drawing tobacco smoke into their mouths. Over time teeth become tainted with brown patches because of the tar. Toothpaste for smokers usually contains certain agents which remove these stains, leaving teeth looking whiter.

Teeth whitening toothpaste works in a similar way to smokers' toothpaste. It contains substances which help to maintain the whiteness of teeth. It is more effective to have teeth whitening treatment either at the dental surgery or administered by yourself at home, but using teeth whitening toothpaste has some effect of removing stains and is cheaper than treatment. These toothpastes can be rather abrasive however and are not recommended for children or those with sensitive teeth.

Toothpaste for sensitive teeth contains potassium nitrate which can help to reduce the sensitivity which many people feel in their teeth when they eat or drink hot or cold substances. Usually there is a root cause for this sensitivity like receding gums or damage to enamel and it is best to sort out whichever problem is underlying the sensitivity. In the meantime, toothpaste for sensitive teeth can be effective.

Herbal toothpaste is an increasingly popular option for a number of reasons. Some people are sensitive to some of the ingredients in regular toothpaste and opt for the greater ‘gentleness' offered by herbal toothpaste. They also appeal to those who are concerned about the environment because they use only natural ingredients. Some of these toothpastes even contain no fluoride, popular in areas which have a high amount of fluoride in the water supply. But dentists always recommend that toothpaste with fluoride is used in order to protect enamel and strengthen teeth.

The array of toothpaste on offer can be bewildering. The best advice is to ask your dentist for his or her opinion. They know your mouth better than anyone else and they can point you in the direction of a toothpaste which will suit you and your oral hygiene needs.