We recently heard from an Advocate reader who was questioning the taste of her toothpaste, as her tongue had been rendered overly sensitive to mint flavours of toothpaste. She wished to know the safety of using children’s toothpaste, or any alternative without any tongue burning flavours.
Firstly, the primary reason to brush any teeth is to remove plaque. This is the enemy of healthy mouths – all day long, all night long, and not just in the morning and at bedtime.
It accumulates after eating or drinking anything except water. Plaque needs to be removed by brushing, and tarter needs to be removed with scraping by your hygienist. Tarter is mature hardened plaque left behind by inadequate brushing. Typically, your hygienist will finish with a flavoured toothpaste with pumice, and a small bit of fluoride following the de-scaling process. Many patients find the flavoured paste preferable.
As for the safety of children using adult toothpaste, or vice versa, this is governed by checking the label for fluoride concentration. Any adult can feel comfortable using any children’s toothpaste. You shouldn’t ever use more than a pea sized amount of toothpaste for a youngster aged 3 to 6 years. For younger than that, simply a smear of toothpaste will suffice. There is also a completely separate range of toothpaste called ‘transition toothpaste’. One prominent manufacturer sells it in 20 flavours alone! They offer only 4 flavours which are fluoride free products.
We hesitate to mention name brands generally, but if you search online like we did, up will pop 162,000 potential listings for your desire topic! The minty taste seem to be the type most people are either sensitive or allergic to, and there are many more obscure products which may be ordered. One interesting tidbit – one government agency did a comparative study between 162 toothpaste manufacturers’, whose tubes ranged from $1.71 – $8.65 per tube. They discovered there were negligible differences other than taste and price.
There used to be a term in the automobile business. They said that $100 worth of chrome sold more cars than $1,000 worth of safety features. People buy what they ‘like’, not what they need.
When it comes to oral health and one’s mouth – many people prefer toothpaste that makes their breath fresh. Numero Uno! You may discover on searching for this product that a number of them are formulated to stop halitosis (bad breath). For bragging rights, one or more of them may indicate that they were formulated by dentists. Hooray! That would be exactly the same as your large supermarket grocery store with a massive sign out front that claimed they sell ‘Milk’! Not terribly unique to boast about a dentist being involved in the toothpaste industry. The primary ingredient in many toothpastes is sodium fluoride, and it may include xylitol for sweetening the breath. What anyone will discover is a slime like coating on the tongue, which can be scraped off with virtually any implement – even a Popsicle stick. There are YouTube videos galore on the merits and joys of brushing your tongue, with specific instructions and various stroke techniques. Simply put – brush your tongue. Use any toothpaste you like. Thank the Advocate for just saving you money on the search for the elusive ideal toothpaste! The product you are working to eliminate is dental biofilm, which is composed of many microorganisms. You can’t rinse it off swishing water in your mouth. It makes your breath stink.
You may have other issues contributing to halitosis, one being dry mouth which may be caused or accelerated by health challenges such as diabetes, sinus infections, liver or kidney problems, or other underlying health problems. Those you can usually do nothing to quickly solve. Smoking is quite another. The dry mouth condition from smoking anything is voluntary, yet some people cannot conquer that habit during their entire lifetime. Fact: it fouls your breath.
We’re not promoting any specific toothbrush, toothpaste, or any proprietary products. Our mantra: 1) Brush with water. 2) Floss your teeth. 3. Brush with water again. 4) Brush those pearlies again with your favourite toothpaste using a correct stroke your hygienist taught you. Keep a small package of floss sticks in your purse, glove box, or anywhere within reach. Use one every time anything except water passes your lips.
Other than your annual checkup and cleaning, you’ll likely spend less time in any dental chair!
Dr. Michael Dolynchuk is a General Dentist practicing in Caroline and Red Deer.