Need to Know: What’s Inside Your Toothpaste

Demystifying Toothpaste

Toothpaste. You use it everyday, sometimes three times, gets in contact with your saliva. You might swallow a bit of it. More importantly, it cleans your teeth and makes your breath fresh. So, have you ever looked at what your toothpaste contains? Toothpaste is used to promote oral hygiene. In a nutshell, a good toothpaste contains the all-important fluoride, as well as abrasives, detergents, humectants, and flavoring.


Since we know fluoride well enough, let’s focus on the others, such as abrasives. Abrasives are cleaning and polishing agents mild enough to remove stains, clean yet preserve tooth enamel.The degree of abrasiveness depends on how much water it contains, the size and shape of its particles, the source and purity, and how it has been prepared. Abrasives should not form new compounds with other components in the toothpaste. Examples of abrasives are hydrated silica, hydrated alumina, calcium carbonate, and dicalcium phosphates. You must know that these compounds are ineffective without the scrubbing action of your toothbrush.

Flavoring agents make the toothpaste taste better. There are various natural and artificial flavorings and sweeteners such as saccharin; sorbitol also adds a sweet taste. The ADA does not recommend addition of sugar. Additional ingredients may or may not be necessary, depending on your dentist’s recommendation. These are teeth whiteners, which can only remove external stains; pyrophosphates, claimed to prevent plaque formation; potassium nitrate or strontium chloride for tooth sensitivity.

Recommending Best Toothpaste in Downtown Seattle

Know more about the toothpaste you’re using and if it’s your best choice. We make recommendations appropriate for each unique patient because we know what’s in toothpaste.

Is Flossing Still Necessary After Brushing?

To Floss Or Not To Floss

While teeth brushing is the imperative cornerstone of oral health routine, flossing does not seem to share the same perception by most. It’s become a highly debated question in spite of dentists’ recommendation.

Is it really necessary to floss?

Most dentists think so. Daily flossing is a key step in oral health routine. Daily flossing is highly effective in removing the build-up of plaque in hard-to-reach areas that can cause decay. And as if it were not enough, many professionals and their patients as well regard flossing as central to maintaining overall oral health and preventing decay.

What can flossing really accomplish?

While brushing can clean tooth surfaces and give you clean-feeling teeth, flossing reaches the places a toothbrush cannot, removing from between teeth the food particles and bacteria that get trapped before they develop into plaque and tartar. Without flossing, plaque can build up and lead to cavity formation in between teeth and involve the gumline. It can also reach root surfaces and inflame the gums, initiating gum disease.

The ADA recommends flossing teeth at least once a day. The federal government, dental organizations and manufacturers of floss have pushed the practice for decades. Why is there contention regarding flossing? When the Associated Press demanded proof of the efficacy of flossing in 2015, the government responded saying that though there are many studies on the subject, substantive evidence is lacking, weak, insufficient or flawed. As such, the government took out their flossing recommendation. Majority of available studies fail to demonstrate flossing’s effectiveness in plaque removal, and benefits are minute or insignificant.

Still many professionals stick by flossing’s benefits. Flossing your teeth every night can be a hard habit to develop, but it’s one that is worth the effort, dentists and periodontists say. It not only keeps gingivitis and its more serious form, periodontitis, at bay but also eliminates the source of bad breath. When you consider introducing flossing into your health routine, you think of it as inconvenient, messy and unpleasant But if you’ve developed a good technique using traditional floss, it doesn’t become cumbersome anymore. The dentist is the proper resource person to ask.

Technologies continue to evolve and now manufacturers are producing user-friendly devices. Patients should also be educated, those who are afraid to floss if they have sensitive or bleeding gums. If they only knew that flossing will improve the gum health and stop the bleeding.

Advocating Flossing by our Seattle Dentist

Our team at Smile Art, like many other practitioners, educate our patients in the benefits of flossing. Where the perils of gum disease is concerned, flossing’s usefulness cannot be downplayed or ignored.

How Adults Can Keep Their Teeth Healthier Longer

Most Common Dental Issues of Adults

There’s a survey conducted by the University of Michigan National Poll on Healthy Aging that discovered 40 percent of 50 to 64 year olds, including those who are older, don’t get regular dental care. Dental issues increase with age and there is very little that Medicare and other supplementary plans can do to help. Here are some of the most common dental concerns of the aging population and some help being offered so that this vulnerable group can enjoy healthier teeth longer.

Plaque buildup is a tough issue amongst the elderly. As one gets older, it becomes increasingly difficult to remove dental plaque. As gums recede, bone structure changes, teeth can be lost, spaces appear in between teeth where food can lodge. Hand arthritis and tremors make brushing and flossing difficult. The elderly can be taught how to use new devices such as interdental brushes, floss picks, and water flossers that can help with tooth care.

Gum disease can expose root surfaces which are more prone to decay. So to keep gum disease at bay, in addition to brushing and flossing, fluoride mouthwash is recommended. More frequent dental appointments for root planing and scaling will also prevent receding gums.

Tooth sensitivity is often a sign of the presence of cavities. The teeth become sensitive to hot or cold stimuli, and sometimes exposed root surfaces can also be sensitive. Consider using a toothpaste or rinse formulated to ­reduce sensitivity. If one product is ­ineffective, try another one.

Brittle teeth is another dental concern. Long wear and tear can make them prone to fracture, especially so if they have fillings. The diet of these patients must not always include hard-to-chew food. Regular dental visits can detect such teeth and do interventions before the damage becomes irreparable.

Dry mouth is the result of aging as well as taking of certain prescription medications. Decreased salivation makes the teeth more prone to plaque buildup and tooth decay. Sipping water frequently, chewing sugar-free gum, and avoiding mouthwashes that contain alcohol can help.

Fixed bridges and dentures may trap food and bacteria, leading to decay. Use instead floss threaders to floss under a bridge. Water flossers also help clean hard-to-reach spaces.

Keeping Teeth Healthier Longer | Visit our Dental office in Seattle

Why wait when you get older to care for your teeth and gums. As early as possible one must mind proper oral hygiene and regular dental visits to maintain oral health for as long as one can.