Toothpastes and mouthwash

These are two important items, used in a dental hygiene routine. They are essential for preventing the build up of plaque which can lead to tooth decay and gum disease and are easy to do.

Toothbrushing is another important aspect which is discussed in a separate section.

These are two substances/liquids which contain anti-bacterial properties and are designed to help remove food deposits, plaque and tartar as well as ensuring that your breath smells clean and fresh.

What is toothpaste?

Toothpaste is a popular commercial product which is applied to a toothbrush and used to clean and improve the appearance of the teeth. It also freshens up the breath as well.

There are numerous types and brands of toothpaste, most of which are dispensed from a metal tube although they are also available as a gel or a pump action container.

Toothpaste is a soft substance which contains fluoride: this is an important substance as it helps to strengthen the teeth and protects against tooth decay.

If this is combined with toothbrushing and flossing then it acts as a preventative measure against tooth decay and gum disease.

A propriety brand of tooth paste will contain:

  • Fluoride: protects the teeth
  • Flavouring: gives the toothpaste its distinctive taste, e.g. mint
  • Abrasive: helps to remove stains from the teeth
  • Humectant: ensures that the toothpaste remains moist whilst in the tube.
  • Thickener: binds the ingredients together and thickens the toothpaste.
  • Colouring: similar to flavouring. This gives the toothpaste a distinctive colour, e.g. stripes.

There are a range of toothpastes which include toothpaste for sensitive teeth, tartar controlled toothpaste, teeth whitening toothpastes etc. There are toothpastes made with baking soda, toothpaste designed for smokers and toothpastes for children.

Brand plays a part but many people are simply guided by price and choice. There is a wide range of choice in supermarkets, chemists and online which makes it difficult to choose.

How does toothpaste work?

A small amount of toothpaste is applied to a toothbrush and rubbed onto the teeth. The ingredients within the toothpaste help to remove food debris as well as tartar and plaque. The flavouring ensures that your breath is clean and fresh afterwards.

Most people enjoy the mint flavoured taste of toothpaste especially when combined with a mouthwash.

What is a mouthwash?

This is a liquid which is rinsed around the mouth in order to remove any food deposits and protect the teeth against gum disease and tooth decay.

A mouthwash forms part of a daily dental routine and contains antibacterial agents which further clean and protect the teeth.

A typical mouthwash contains:

  • Water: a vital component of all mouthwashes
  • Sweeteners: these help to improve the flavour, e.g. sucrose
  • Flavouring: this gives a mouthwash its distinctive taste, e.g. menthol.
  • Preservative: ensures the longevity of the mouthwash
  • Detergent: helps with the removal of tartar and plaque
  • Colouring: added for aesthetic reasons. Gives the mouthwash its colour.
  • Fluoride: this is also added to toothpaste. Helps to strengthen the teeth.
  • Antiseptic: this has anti-bacterial qualities and stops further build up of plaque.
  • Calcium: essential for growing teeth and bones. Helps to strengthen both of these.

Another ingredient is alcohol which is added to many types of mouthwash. This also has a strong antibacterial effect but must not be consumed by children.

The most popular type of mouthwash is an antibacterial mouthwash but there are others which include cosmetic mouthwashes, natural mouthwashes and home-produced mouthwashes.

How does a mouthwash work?

A small amount of this liquid is swilled around your mouth after brushing your teeth. Rinse this around your mouth before spitting it out.

This cleans and rinses your teeth as well as adding a layer of protection. Plus it has the added benefit of making your breath smell nice.

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