Oral Health Care Zone

Oral Care ProductsToothpaste

A. Function of toothpaste

Toothpastes can help remove dental plaque. Their various functions depend on the active ingredients they contain.

B. Types of toothpaste

There are many different types of toothpaste available in the market. The followings are the common types of toothpaste: Fluoride toothpaste, desensitizing toothpaste, anti-calculus toothpaste, anti-plaque toothpaste, and whitening toothpaste. Their various functions depend on the active ingredients they contain.

Fluoride toothpaste
They contain Sodium Fluoride(NaF), Stannous Fluoride(SnF2), or Monofluorophosphate(MFP2). The fluoride content is about 1,000 parts per million (ppm). They are all effective in preventing dental caries. Children toothpaste contains 500ppm fluoride and is usually fruit flavoured, which is suitable for children.

Desensitizing toothpaste
The active ingredients help seal off the microtubules inside the exposed dentine (such as exposed root surface due to toothbrush abrasion) to reduce tooth sensitivity. Active ingredients such as Potassium Nitrate are used by different product manufacturers. There are many different types of desensitizing toothpastes marketed by different brand names. Their various functions depend on different active ingredients they contain. Therefore, you are advised to consult the dentist and undergo a thorough check-up to explore the cause of tooth sensitivity before using desensitizing toothpaste. You should consult the dentist if the symptoms of tooth sensitivity persist after using desensitizing toothpaste. Desensitizing toothpaste is not suitable for children.

Anti-calculus toothpaste
The manufacturer claims that the calcification of dental plaque could be retarded by this kind of toothpaste, thus it reduces the rate of calculus formation. The active ingredient is Pyrophosphate or Zinc Citrate.

Anti-plaque toothpaste
This kind of toothpaste inhibits plaque accumulation, reduces the toxic effects of the bacterial toxin on the periodontal tissues, thereby reduces the chances of getting periodontal disease. In the market, different anti-plaque toothpastes contain different active ingredients. For example, Triclosan or Zinc Citrate.

Whitening toothpaste
This kind of toothpaste contains relatively coarse abrasives which function by abrading the stains on the tooth surface, giving a whitening effect. However, long term use will result in roughened tooth surfaces, which makes stains deposit more readily.

C. Points to note when using toothpaste

  • Fluoride is effective in the prevention of dental caries. Since we are all susceptible to dental caries, we all need fluoride toothpaste.
  • Children should use children toothpaste which contains a lower concentration of fluoride. This can prevent them from ingesting fluoride accidentally.
  • Desensitizing toothpaste should only be used when there is tooth sensitivity. It is not recommended for long-term use. Hence, we should consult our dentists before using it.
  • Unless it is under the dentist's supervision, we should not use whitening toothpaste. Long-term use of whitening toothpaste will roughen the tooth surfaces, and stains will deposit on tooth surfaces more readily.

D. Amount of toothpaste

A pea-sized blob of toothpaste is adequate.

E. Functions of fluoride

  • When minerals are lost from the surfaces of the tooth, and a cavity is not formed yet, an appropriate amount of fluoride can promote the remineralization (redeposit the lost minerals) of the tooth and repair early dental caries.
  • Fluoride strengthens teeth, and increases their resistance to acid attacks.
  • Fluoride inhibits the growth of dental plaque and reduces its acid-producing capability.