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What type of toothpaste do I need?

The toothpaste has always been essential for proper dental hygiene and provide fluoride to teeth and to remove bacteria that cause dental plaque and bad breath. The ingredients that make up toothpaste help eliminate food debris and the accumulation of dental plaque, preventing the formation of dental cavities and, in a longer term, periodontal disease.

Until recently, toothpastes were very basic and their main objective was to provide fluoride , prevent cavities and keep our teeth in good condition in general. But today there are different types of toothpastes that help combat various dental problems, from the simplest for proper dental cleaning to those indicated for people with gingivitis or periodontitis. There are also more and more different brands, flavors and textures. But depending on its composition, it can have a therapeutic or preventive function.

The question is to know what type of pasta to use and when among so many variety. Below we explain the different types that there are and the problem or situation for which they are indicated:

  • Anti-tartar paste: this type helps prevent and delay the build-up of tartar, but cannot remove plaque once it has hardened. Only a professional oral cleaning can remove it. Its most common active ingredients are Pyrophosphate or Zinc Citrate.
  • Whitening paste: this type of paste helps remove stains from your teeth and keep them white. But they do not whiten teeth, properly, instead they use abrasive or chemical materials to remove fresh surface stains. The problem is that these materials can contribute to wearing down tooth enamel, so a good solution is to undergo professional teeth whitening.
  • Anti-caries paste: in this type of toothpaste the main thing is that they contain fluoride to a certain extent to strengthen the teeth, remineralize them and guarantee effective protection against cavities. In toothpastes for children the fluoride content should be lower.
  • Desensitizing paste: This type of paste helps create a barrier that blocks the elements that cause tooth sensitivity, preventing them from reaching the nerve. Tooth sensitivity usually occurs due to tooth enamel deterioration or root exposure due to receding gums, exposing the dentin, so that teeth can react painfully to changes in temperature and the presence of sugars. For the use of this type of paste, it is advisable to consult the dentist about the type of sensitivity you have. Its most common ingredients are Potassium Nitrate or Arginine.
  • Anti-plaque paste: this type of paste inhibits the accumulation of bacterial plaque and reduces the toxic effects of the bacterial toxin that surrounds dental tissue, reducing the appearance of cavities and the risk of periodontal diseases.
  • Protective gum paste: This type of paste is used in the presence of gingivitis or periodontitis (inflammation and bleeding of the gums), due to its anti-inflammatory and bactericidal action. Among the components of this type of pastes are triclosan, a substance known for its antiseptic activity, chlorhexidine and hexitidine.
  • Children’s pastes: for children the same pastes should not be used as for adults, since children’s must have a low fluoride content. They come in different flavors and are designed to suit the specific needs of young children. They should use this type of paste until twelve years of age.

The best way to decide what type of paste is the most advisable for you is to speak with your dentist, since not all pastes are equally suitable for all people.

Why do the gums get black?

Maintaining gums in good condition is very important for our oral health and aesthetics since its function is to hold the teeth in place.

An alarming sign a priori, is the darkening of the gums. The causes of black gums can be diverse, but do not panic, most are not harmful to health.

Healthy gums

The gums are made of hard, fibrous and sensitive tissue. They serve as a junction between the teeth and the alveolar bone.

They usually have a pinkish appearance, but sometimes they develop black or dark brown spots, although in most cases, as we will see, they represent a more aesthetic than a health problem .

Sometimes, however, blackheads can indicate a more serious condition . To be sure, it is best to deal with your dentist if you notice the appearance of dark spots on the gums, especially if they are also painful or change in size, shape or color.

The solution to black gums will depend directly on the cause that causes it.

Possible causes of black gums

The reasons for the gums turning black can be of different nature. By maintaining proper oral hygiene, we minimize the risk of associated diseases .

Mouth injuries

The gums can be injured like any other part of your body . Falling flat on your face, eating something with sharp edges, and even brushing or flossing your teeth too hard can damage your gums. Gum bruises are usually dark red or purple, but they can also be dark brown or black.

These injuries usually heal on their own without the need for medical treatment. If with the passage of time the hematoma does not remit, it is advisable to consult a dentist.

Rash bruises

This cyst can sometimes be made up of blood mixed with fluid, which can make it look dark purple or black. When an eruption cyst has blood in it, it is called an erupting hematoma.

They usually go away on their own after the tooth comes in . If the tooth does not come out on its own, the dentist can surgically open the cyst to allow the tooth to come out properly.

Amalgam tattoos

Another cause that can create black spots on the gum are the so-called amalgam tattoos. When filling a cavity with a silver amalgam filling , a deposit of this amalgam may remain on the gums, creating a dark spot.

Amalgam tattoos cannot be removed, but they are harmless and require no treatment.

Blue nevus

A blue nevus is a harmless mole that is round and flat or slightly raised. Blue nevi can appear black or blue and generally look like a freckle on the gums.

The cause of blue nevi is unknown, but they often develop during childhood or adolescence and are more common in women.

They usually do not need treatment. However, if its shape, color or size begin to change, the dentist can perform a biopsy, removing a part of the nevus to analyze it, ruling out the possibility of cancer.

Oral cancer

Cancer inside the mouth can also cause black gums. Other symptoms associated with oral cancer include open sores, unusual bleeding, and swelling in the mouth.

To determine if a spot is caused by cancer, the dentist will perform a biopsy and use different imaging techniques , such as a CT scan, to check if the cancer has spread.

If the spot is cancerous, it can be surgically removed if it has not spread. If it has spread, radiation therapy or chemotherapy can help kill cancer cells.

Drinking large amounts of alcohol and using tobacco are the greatest risk factors for developing oral cancer.