Q: Does it matter which toothpaste you pick?
Oz Says: It's worth spending an extra minute among the myriad toothpaste options to get the right one for your smile. Use the decoder below to figure out what all those label claims really mean.
The Claims: Enamel Safe, Restores Enamel, Anti-Cavity, Remineralizes
Translation: The toothpaste has fluoride in it. This compound becomes part of the enamel, making teeth less vulnerable to damaging acids. Also helpful: calcium and phosphate.
The Claims: Fights Plaque, Controls Tartar, Protects Against Gingivitis
Translation: Contains pyrophosphates, antimicrobials that hold back the buildup of tartar, the hardened plaque that can kick-start gum disease. May also contain triclosan, a controversial ingredient. (It may disrupt hormones and the environment.) But research suggests that in toothpaste it might have more benefits than risks.
The Claim: Reduces/Repairs Tooth Sensitivity
Translation: Compounds in these pastes numb touchy nerve endings and/or block tiny canals in your teeth that let irritants scoot through to those nerves. Look for any of three ingredients that do the trick: arginine bicarbonate, potassium oxalate, and potassium nitrate.
The Claim: Whitens
Translation: There are bleaching agents (like hydrogen peroxide) or abrasive particles in the formula. Bleaches can remove even deep-set stains, and abrasive particles work like little scrubbers, polishing off surface discolorations from yellowing substances including coffee and tea.
This story originally appeared in the November 2016 issue of Dr. Oz The Good Life.
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