Every morning and every evening you should do one important thing: brush your teeth. It’s not usually something you think about, as it’s probably been drilled into your head since you were a little kid, but it’s an important step to keeping your teeth and gums healthy.
You might think your toothbrush is the most important component of brushing your teeth, but most of the cleaning action is done by your toothpaste.
Brushing your teeth with toothpaste accomplishes three things:
- Removes food, plaque and bacteria from the teeth and gums.
- Helps to freshen breath
- Delivers minerals such as fluoride and calcium to the teeth and mouth.
These three things are very important to the health of not only your teeth but your overall health as well but how does it work?
We all know that when we eat or drink, particles remain in our mouth as we swallow. As saliva from our mouth begins to break down these food particles, it can produce dental pellicle. Pellicle is a protein that can be absorbed by the enamel on the teeth. It is a thin invisible coating and is responsible for much of the staining from coffee or tea and gives plaque a surface on which to grow.
Plaque, by the way, is the sticky coating that forms in your mouth even when you sleep. Plaque and bacteria produce acids that attack your teeth and start the decay process.
Tartar is a thick deposit of calcium phosphate crystals that form around the gum line. Plaque that is not removed, thickens and hardens into tartar. Tartar interferes with proper brushing and can only be removed by a dentist. But don’t fret! Brushing your teeth with toothpaste greatly reduces the chances of plaque and tartar build up.
Most toothpastes contain a mild abrasive. Pellicle is a thin invisible layer that your tooth brush can’t break through on its own. Abrasives such as calcium carbonate, magnesium carbonate and phosphate salts, gently abrade the pellicle layer and lift surface stains.
Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) is a mild detergent and foaming agent. This helps lift debris from the teeth. Fluoride is another ingredient in most toothpastes. While there has been some debate over the use of fluoride, it has been proven over the past century to help prevent tooth decay. Fluoride enters the enamel and helps reverse small areas of decay in the tooth. For those with concerns over the use of fluorides, toothpastes without fluoride are available.
Toothpastes also contain artificial sweeteners, colors, flavors, water and other additives to keep the paste from drying out. Other toothpastes contain ingredients to reduce tooth sensitivity, whiten teeth or reduce bad breath. There are even natural toothpastes for those who have sensitivities to different ingredients. Many brands have different flavors to choose from making brushing your teeth easier and more pleasant than ever.
This article brought to you by Watts Family Dental, your friendly Overland Park dentist. We’re committed to healthy smiles for the whole family. Please call (913) 338-3384 or visit our Overland Park, KS office. You may also send an e-mail direct to email@example.com at any time.