The structure of tooth enamel is riddled with little weaknesses between enamel molecules – these are where decay starts.
The best weapon to strengthen these weak areas in enamel is fluoride; a small ion that can fit into the space, making the surface more resitant to acid attack and decay.
And that’s why dentists usually recommend a toothpaste containing fluoride.
So which is the best toothpaste?
Sorry to sit on the fence here, but ANY fluoride toothpaste will strengthen your teeth against decay – after that, it’s down to your personal preference; which flavour you prefer, and do you believe any other claims made by the manufacturer?
If you have sensitive teeth (known as dentine sensitivity, since exposed tubes of dentine can be very sensitive) here’s some extra food for thought:
- Whitening toothpastes – especially smokers’ toothpastes – can be highly abrasive. These toothpastes may not be the wisest choice for you
- There are specialist sensitive toothpastes on the market: try Sensodyne or Colgate Pro-Relief or similar
- Your dentist can also apply a gel to help sensitivity in the short term (see video above)
Choosing a toothpaste for children
Children under the age of 3 will usually swallow all the toothpaste, and as a result children’s toothpastes tend to use less fluoride. Once your child starts spitting out their toothpaste instead of swallowing it, they’re ready to switch to an adult toothpaste with higher flouride protection.