The toothpaste looks under three forms: paste, gel, and combination of paste and gel. With the help of the toothbrush, it enables to remove the biofilm (dental plaque), the surface stains, and the food remains from the surface of the tooth, from the gum, and from the tongue, in cosmetic, preventive and therapeutic purposes.

Components of the commercial toothpastes

  • Cleaning and polishing agents: 20 to 40% (e.g.: pyrophosphate of calcium, silica, etc.)
  • Moistening: 20 to 40% (e.g.: glycerol, sorbitol, etc.)
  • Water: 20 to 40%
  • Preservative agents, sweetener (sweetening agent no cariogenic), and colouring (vegetable): 2 to 3%
  • Binder agents: 1 to 2% (e.g.: cellulose, natural gum, etc.)
  • Detergent (foaming agent): 1 to 2% (e.g.: laurysulfate of sodium, etc.)
  • Flavour: 1 to 1.5% (e.g.: mint, cinnamon, etc.)
  • Therapeutic agent: 1 to 2%.

Therapeutics agents of the toothpastes

Prevention of the decay

The therapeutic agents acknowledged to help prevent the decay are the fluoride of sodium and/or the monofluorophosphate of sodium. Several researches showed that these agents are one of the elements of prevention being able to reduce the incidence of the decay from 20 to 30%. At any age, people can benefit from the effectiveness of a brushing carried out twice a day with such toothpaste.

Reduction of sensitivity

The dentinal hypersensitivity was defined like a short and sharp pain which is felt at the level of the exposed dentine, usually in reaction to thermal, tactile, osmotic or chemical stimuli, or in the presence of air, and which cannot be attributed to other type of anomaly or dental pathology.

The agents contributing to decrease dentinal hypersensitivity are the nitrate of potassium and the strontium chloride. The nitrate of potassium decreases the sensitivity to the heat and cold, for example. The strontium chloride reduces the sensitivity to the touch. These toothpastes, used properly, contribute to the reduction of hypersensitivity within a few weeks.

Reduction of supra gingival (above the gum) tartar

The pyrophosphate, the zinc, and the triclosan are examples of agents making it possible to reduce or delay the formation of tartar above gums. However, these agents do not have any effect on the tartar already present in mouth or on the tartar being formed between the teeth and under the gum.

Reduction of the gum disease

The decrease and the prevention of the gums inflammation are one of the purposes of teeth brushing. The addition of a therapeutic agent, such as the triclosan, can also contribute to gingival health, by reducing the gum disease and the formation of the biofilm (dental plaque) above the gum.

Whitening agents

The colour of the teeth enamel may vary from white to grey, or from white to yellow or ochre. Internal or external factors may affect it. The whitening agents act over the surface and light stains, in two ways:

  • Application of a chemical agent on the enamel
  • The mechanical action, using a toothbrush, to remove the biofilm (dental plaque) coloured by beverages or tobacco.

Abrasive agents

The toothpaste combined with the type of toothbrush and the method of brushing must be abrasive enough to clean the tooth surface, without causing damage to the gums or to the teeth. The abrasive factors are the size and shape of the particles composing the toothpaste, its pH, and the quantity of glycerine and water which it contains. The other factors contributing to abrasion are the type of bristles of the toothbrush (supple, middle-hard, hard), the pressure exerted during the brushing, and the exposure of the root which is less hard than enamel.

Quantity to be used

  • As soon as the cutting of the first tooth: Twice a day, just a dash of toothpaste with savour for children. The quantity should not exceed the size of a grain of rice 3
  • From 3 years old: The quantity of toothpaste must correspond to the size of a garden pea 1-4-5
  • For teenagers and adults: Approximately 1 cm (or half an inch1) of toothpaste or less is enough

You apply gently some toothpaste on all the teeth, and then you proceed with technique on all the surfaces. The assistance of a parent is necessary at least until the age of 6 years, in order to make sure that the child does not swallow toothpaste, and that he rinses adequately his mouth. The toothpastes containing therapeutic agents must not be used by the children of less than 12 years old, and all the toothpastes must be put out of the range of the children.

Diets with restriction of salt or sugar

The sweeteners used in the composition of the toothpastes, being not conducive to a glycaemic answer, are safe for the diabetic persons (examples of sweeteners: saccharinate of sodium, xylitol, etc.)

A small quantity of bicarbonate of soda which you can find in some toothpastes may be swallowed during the teeth brushing. The people having a diet without salt or a salt reduced diet, should take account of it.

Fluoride gels for a therapeutic use

The gels with fluoride for a therapeutic use, contain fluoride of sodium, or stannous fluoride in greater quantity than in the toothpastes. These gels which do not contain abrasive agents don’t clean. Their role is to bring an additional quantity of fluoride, according to the recommendations and directives of the professional, for one short period.

Which toothpaste to choose?

Thanks to his training, his knowledge, his skills, and his expertise, the dental hygienist is able to advise you in a customized way, the hygiene products being able to contribute to the preservation and the improvement of oral health.