Are you picking the correct toothpaste for your dental needs?
Have you ever found yourself standing in the toothpaste aisle at the grocery store or Walmart thinking which toothpaste should I get this time? Maybe you are the type of person who switches from brand to brand or from whitening to gum care depending on the day. Maybe, you are brand loyal and refuse to step out of what you’ve known. We are here to help you in your decision making process the next time you find yourself in an internal toothpaste debate.
Understanding Abrasiveness and Tooth Strength
Let’s talk about abrasiveness. Did you know; All toothpastes have an abrasive quality about them? You may be thinking to yourself, “Anna, why does that matter? As long as my teeth feel clean after brushing what’s the big deal?” If you are like myself and the millions of other people out there, chances are that you’ve had some dental work done. Dental work that was not inexpensive, dental work that you would like to see have a great ROI (Return On Investment) and that’s why it matters!
Toothpaste makers regularly measure their product’s abrasivity. It is necessary for FDA approval and usually is not something included freely in marketing (A lightbulb should have just turned on in your brain, “Toothpaste makers know the abrasivity of their products but do not want the general public to know”. Stay with us, we will answer that question for you.) Abrasivity measurements are given in what’s known as RDA value, or Relative Dentin Abrasivity.
Before we get deep in the weeds with RDA let’s first go over some definitions that will make the rest of the article a lot easier to understand. First, the definition of dentin is; a hard dense bony tissue forming the bulk of a tooth, beneath the enamel. Tooth enamel is one of the four major tissues that make up the tooth in humans and other animals, it makes up the normally visible part of the tooth covering the dentin. Lastly, a Mohs unit is how you rate the hardness of a crystalline structure (in our case, a tooth), think back to middle school science here; diamonds are hard, talc is soft. Mohs hardness of a diamond is 10 out of 10, hardness of glass is 5. Hardness of tooth enamel is also 5 while the dentin is 2.5.
Any toothpaste with a higher RDA value than 7 which is equivalent to the hardness of dentin has the potential to cut dentin. RDA valuesforcommon toothpaste range from a rating of 0-70 which is considered low abrasive, 70-100 which is considered medium abrasive, 100-150 which is considered highly abrasive and 150-250 which is considered as harmful. Another way to think about abrasiveness is that 0-70 gives a gentle polish, 70-100 gives a medium weight polish, 100-150 provides a more intensive polish while 150-250 can be harmful.
Is your toothpaste causing more harm than good?
For the sake of argument let us assume that you use Colgate 2-in-1 Tartar Control/ Whitening. You use this product because you like the whitening that you see and because you feel as though you have less tartar between your professional dental cleanings. While yes, it is doing what it is marketed to do, which is removing tartar or plaque; at what price is it getting the job done at?
Ah, so that’s why the big companies don’t want to openly share abrasiveness. They know it causes damage, that’s how it’s formulated to work, the more abrasive the product the more tartar removed. With an RDA (Relative Dentin Abrasivity) of 200, all dental professionals would agree Colgate 2-in-1 Tartar Control/ Whitening is considered harmful and because of the abrasivity it is causing more harm than good! Think about it, when you come in to get a professional dental cleaning we are using instruments and a professionally trained hygiest to remove tartar. Well that toothpaste is doing the same thing, it’s scraping off tartar and over time is weakening and destroying your enamel.
Our suggestion to you if you are one who has problematic tartar control is to shorten your professional cleaning intervals from 6 months to 3 or 4 months. This allows for a trained professional to remove the tartar without damaging the enamel.
Porcelain Veneers and Crowns
With proper care,porcelain veneers and crowns can last a very long time. Unfortunately, some people do serious damage to their veneers simply by brushing their teeth. While durable, porcelain (mohs rating of approximately 7) structure can be damaged by abrasive toothpastes which act as a type of fine grain sandpaper that is used on your smile scuffing at the material each time you brush your teeth. While yes, as we have discussed unless you’re going to brush your teeth with baking soda (RDA =7) there is always going to be some abrasiveness to your toothpaste. Which is why it is so important to pick a toothpaste with a Low RDA or a gentle polish which will cause minimal damage to your porcelain.
Suggestions from the Professionals
At McCreight Progressive Dentistry we have always recommended using Closys , especially for those who have porcelain crowns or veneers as the RDA of closys is 53 which is considered low abrasion. This means that it is being gentle while cleaning your teeth, and it’s causing very little damage unlike the competition
CloSYS Sensitive Fluoride Toothpaste provides these benefits:
- Results without abrasive ingredients- CloSYS Toothpaste does not contain Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) which has been linked to canker sores.
- Enamel protection – Fluoride provides exceptional enamel protection and fights cavities better than leading brands
- Ideal for sensitive mouths– naturally activated & pH balanced so it’s gentle enough for sensitive mouths.
- Bright, white smile – CloSYS Sensitive Fluoride toothpaste gently removes stains with proper brushing.
- – Fresh & clean without pain & irritation– Gentle Mint flavored toothpaste kills germs and fights plaque for a noticeably cleaner, brighter and fresher mouth for hours.
As suggested above; should you have difficulty with plaque control or overall gum health it would be most ideal to shorten intervals between professional cleanings from every 6 months to every 3 or 4 months.
Lastly, we understand thatClosys is not for everyone so if Closys is not your cup of tea we suggest staying with a brand that is considered to have a low RDA. Please refer to our provided photo below, pick a toothpaste that is located in the blue section of the graphic.
By: Anna Nierenberg– Director of First Impressions