Does a toothpaste of any name leave your teeth white and breath smelling just as sweet? Not necessarily. In fact, not only do many toothpastes fall short when it comes to combating bad breath, some can actually harm your enamel, paving the way for bacterial invasion and discolouration.
Like anything else you put in or on your body, it pays to read the label. Many of these products include a compound called stannous fluoride, which may produce surface staining of the teeth. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration legally requires that any toothpaste containing this chemical must include the following sentence on its packaging: “This product may produce surface staining of the teeth.”
For anyone investing in whitening services and products—this is a deal breaker. What’s the point in investing in luxury whitening treatments or products if the toothpaste you use to fight bad breath is undermining your efforts every day?
A better solution may be to consider using a specialty toothpaste that contains natural compounds that specifically targets the bacteria that cause bad breath. If you are still looking for a safe and effective toothpaste, consider the following.
Effective breath-freshening ingredients include zinc, chlorhexidine, aloe vera, xylitol and sodium fluoride (a non-staining version of stannous fluoride). Each of these substances neutralizes oral odor molecules, improves the thickness of your dental enamel, kills bacteria or removes stains from teeth.
Avoid toothpastes that contain stannous fluoride, saccharin or sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS), as these ingredients can stain teeth, feed bacteria or, in the case of SLS, increase your risk of canker sores. Also, considering staying away from toothpastes containing benzalkonium chloride, which is a known allergen that can leave the mouth feeling raw and irritated.
Many terrific products are available to enhance your daily oral care routine. With a little effort, you can find a terrific toothpaste that beats back bad breath and leaves your smile looking great!
Emma Johnson is the owner of Pearl Boutique, a clinic that specializes in teeth whitening. She is a registered dental hygienist and completed her diploma at Camosun College, which offers one of the best recognized dental hygiene programs in Canada. Emma also holds a health science degree in kinesiology from the University of the Fraser Valley.