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For some people, achieving that perfect smile means having to get braces first. Naturally, you’ll want those pearly whites to be in excellent condition when they’re all aligned and the metal finally comes off. Using the right toothpaste is key.
The type of toothpaste that is best for braces contains fluoride, has tartar control, has sensitivity protection, and bears the American Dental Association (ADA) seal of acceptance. In addition, this product should not have a teeth whitening formulation.
The rest of this article will guide you in choosing the right toothpaste to help you on your journey towards healthy, aligned teeth.
What Ingredients To Avoid in Toothpaste for Braces
Aligned white teeth — that’s the goal. So, it may come as a surprise to you that the Paul Reveres of the orthodontic world diligently warn against the use of whitening toothpaste or any other whitening products while wearing braces.
Whitening toothpaste typically contains peroxide. This active ingredient dissolves stains and bleaches teeth. Some abrasives also act in the removal of surface stains.
All these are enamel-safe. In fact, there is nothing inherently wrong with whitening toothpaste, but there is a need to warn against using whitening toothpaste while wearing braces.
When your braces are fitted in, you end up with quite a bit of metal in your mouth. There are the small metal squares attached to your teeth called brackets and the wires that bind them together. These all cover portions of your teeth’s surface.
Therefore, when you use whitening toothpaste, the active ingredients work on the exposed areas of your teeth and whiten them. But this formula doesn’t reach the part directly beneath the brackets.
So when your teeth attain the desired alignment and your orthodontist finally removes your braces, you’ll be less than pleased to find that the enamel of your teeth is now in more than one color.
Brushing your teeth frequently is an excellent practice while wearing braces. But when it comes to whitening toothpaste and products during this period, just don’t use these.
What Ingredients To Look For in Toothpaste for Braces
It goes without saying that you should brush your teeth and floss regularly. But if there ever was a time to do this more religiously, it’s when you’re wearing braces.
You’ll need to pay extra attention to your oral hygiene. Otherwise, when your orthodontic treatment period is up, you’ll find that your perfectly aligned teeth are decaying or riddled with tartar.
Let’s look at some important things to consider when choosing what toothpaste to use while wearing braces.
Your Toothpaste Should Contain Fluoride
This almost feels like stating the obvious. After all, fluoride should be a given when it comes to toothpaste, right?
Well, apparently no.
Fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral that is present in our teeth and bones. And while any toothpaste can sufficiently cleanse our oral cavities, the additional fluoride from toothpaste strengthens tooth enamel and minimizes damage wreaked by acid from food and drink.
Dentists unanimously agree that fluoride is essential for the teeth. But they’re divided when it comes to how much of it and from what sources.
Some dentists staunchly stand by toothpaste containing fluoride, whereas others will tell you that drinking fluoridated water should cover your additional fluoride requirements.
For reasons like these, there are fluoride-free toothpastes on the market. And if you’re wearing braces, you’ll want to pass on them.
Fluoride’s enamel-strengthening attributes are vital to the dental brace-wearing population. As with everyone else, their teeth are frequently exposed to acids from food and drink. But in addition, theirs are subjected to continuous pressure from the braces.
Under these circumstances, the importance of fluoride cannot be overstated. If you’re wearing braces, fluoride-containing toothpaste should be non-negotiable.
To that end, Colgate Cavity Protection Toothpaste with Fluoride (available on Amazon) is one of the best products on the market. Its active fluoride thoroughly cleanses the teeth while strengthening the enamel.
It also fights cavities and protects against them. And unlike some variations of this product, it doesn’t have teeth whitening, making it suitable for those wearing braces.
Your Toothpaste Should Have Tartar Control
Dental plaque buildup eventually results in a hard substance known as tartar. This, in turn, can lead to tooth decay and gum infections known as periodontitis.
The areas around the brackets are a suitable environment for plaque buildup when not properly cleaned.
You can get the job done with most toothpastes, but you’ll benefit from using one that particularly promotes tartar control.
Colgate Total Toothpaste and Crest Tartar Protection (both available on Amazon) are two such products. They both provide tartar control and prevent cavities. They also don’t have the whitening formula most other toothpastes that fight tartar buildup have.
As we can see from the two products, some brands will announce their tartar control attribute on their packaging, while others will have a more generalized label.
To be sure that the one you’re picking offers that added tartar control, check whether it includes bicarbonate or potassium nitrate among its ingredients.
Your Toothpaste Should Have Sensitivity Protection
You might be reading this article in preparation before getting your braces fitted. But if you already have them on, you know the pain and sensitivity involved.
The price for having aligned teeth isn’t paid only in dollars. You also have to endure pain and sensitivity in your teeth and gums for several days following an adjustment appointment with your orthodontist.
On these days, toothpaste with sensitivity protection will be your best friend. A great candidate is Sensodyne toothpaste. Their products are formulated for people who suffer from tooth and gum sensitivity.
According to their website, they work by:
- Soothing the nerves inside your teeth.
- Building a barrier over sensitive areas of your teeth.
For people dealing with pain and sensitivity from wearing braces, Sensodyne Pronamel Daily Protection Enamel Toothpaste (available on Amazon) is an excellent option as it addresses these two issues while also rehardening and strengthening enamel.
Your Toothpaste Should Be ADA-Approved
One way to know for certain that you’re getting a toothpaste that’s both effective and safe is by checking for the American Dental Association (ADA) seal of acceptance on the product.
Established in 1859, the ADA is the oldest national dental association in the world. More recently, in 1931, it awarded its first ADA Seal of Acceptance.
Experts on the ADA’s Council on Scientific Affairs evaluate dental products to determine their efficacy and safety before awarding the seal of acceptance and recommending them to dental professionals and consumers at large.
There is an estimate of 350 participating manufacturers with over 200 products on the market bearing the seal of acceptance.
While you’re wearing braces, it’s more important than ever that the toothpaste you’re using is effective. If your current product doesn’t have the ADA’s seal of acceptance, trade it in for one that does.
Having perfectly aligned white teeth isn’t just a statement on your excellent oral health. It also does wonders for your confidence and self-esteem. But before you can entrance others with your smile, you’ll have to take extra care of your teeth while you have braces.
Alignment is only one part of the story. The condition of your teeth at the end of it all is just as important, and the type of toothpaste you use during this period will affect this.
Avoid whitening products and use ADA-approved toothpaste with fluoride and tartar control, and you’ll achieve your objective.