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What is a safe and effective toothpaste?

I think that children 12 years and older should use a fluoride toothpaste unless they are receiving supplemental fluoride. This is a topical treatment rather than a systemic application—toothpaste is not to be swallowed. I believe systemic fluoride should be ingested by prescription from birth through age 12, unless fluoride is in the drinking water or another source. I also think there is a lot of hype directed at the buyer of a container of toothpaste.

When I buy toothpaste for myself, I buy the large 8.2 ounce tube, packaging three tubes together for about $3.50. Right now I’m using Colgate and this product only has 8 inactive ingredients compared to many of the fancy ones with several dozen. The only inactive ingredients listed here are sodium lauryl sulfate and sodium saccharin.  If you have problems with canker sores you may want to stay away from toothpastes with sodium lauryl sulfate because it has been known to link to canker sores. When shopping for toothpaste look for one with fluoride, without sodium lauryl sulfate, with xylitol and/or Stevia to flavor. Remember, fluoride is the active ingredient in toothpaste and the mechanical action of a soft toothbrush and floss, used effectively is what gets the dental plaque off.

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