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With so many different types on hand it’s easy to stare in bewilderment when deciding what type of toothpaste to use. It seems that each week there’s a new craze, charcoal toothpaste, bacon and cupcake flavoured toothpaste (not ideal!), you’re not alone in thinking the madness has to end.

So what should we be looking for when choosing toothpaste?

Protect against tooth decay

Fluoride is the most important ingredient when it comes to picking out a toothpaste. It’s a naturally occurring mineral that’s added to drinking water because of its excellent ability to prevent tooth decay. It does this by strengthening your teeth’s enamel and reversing the damaging effects of sugary and acidic foods. Adults should use a toothpaste that contains at least 1,350 ppm of fluoride. Look out for the following ingredients: sodium fluoride, sodium monofluorophosphate or stannous fluoride.

Do you have sensitive teeth?

If you have sensitive teeth, you may want to consider buying a toothpaste that’s specifically designed to help. Sensitive toothpastes can work in different ways depending on their active ingredients. Arginine bicarbonate blocks dentine tubules for quick relief, while potassium nitrate prevents the nerves in your teeth from sending pain signals to your brain.

Whiter, brighter teeth

Toothpastes can’t dramatically whiten your teeth, but they can help to brighten your smile by polishing or dissolving away surface stains. It’s important to choose a reputable brand, because some whitening products, for example activated charcoal, can be quite abrasive and potentially damage enamel. You should also check that your toothpaste is for daily use.

Once you’ve found the right toothpaste, brush using a pea-sized dab, twice a day.