What ingredients does a good toothpaste need? And which ingredients are best for which people?
“A good toothpaste should always contain fluoride,” says Dr. Sabine Köhler, head of the Medical Advisory Service of Dentists (Medizinischen Beratungsdienstes der Zahnärzte, MZD). Fluoride binds to calcium, which helps protect dental enamel from the effects of acids as well as bacteria that cause tooth decay. Fluoride also helps replace lost minerals in tooth enamel. Alongside fluoride, the abrasiveness of a toothpaste is another important consideration. The more abrasive a toothpaste, the more effectively it removes plaque and other deposits. But toothpastes that are too abrasive can wear away the enamel and do more harm than good. Some people have sensitive teeth and experience discomfort when they consume food or drink that’s hot, cold, sour or sweet. In that case, toothpastes made for sensitive teeth can help. They contain ingredients that temporarily seal the channels that lead to the nerve center of the tooth, which helps reduce discomfort. But whatever kind of toothpaste you use, a pea-sized amount is plenty!