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Choosing toothpaste and mouthwash

Use toothpaste that has fluoride, the best defense against
decay. Here’s an analysis of some of the claims made by
toothpaste and mouth-rinsing products:
• Plaque control
Some products claim to remove plaque or kill bacteria that
can cause plaque. But all toothpastes remove some plaque if
you brush and floss well.
• Tartar control
Anti-tartar pastes can help prevent a buildup of tartar, but no
toothpaste can remove tartar — that takes a professional
cleaning. In addition, an anti-tartar paste may increase your
teeth’s sensitivity to cold.
• Desensitizing pastes
These products contain chemicals that block pain perception
in your teeth. Sensitive teeth may be a sign, however, of a
problem that needs treatment, not cover up.
• Baking soda pastes
Baking soda is a mild abrasive and stain remover, but when
wet it loses some of its stain-removing power.
• Extra whiteners
Some of these toothpastes contain strong abrasives that may
be harsh on delicate gum tissue.
• Mouthwashes
If certified by the American Dental Association as plaque fight-
ers, these products can complement dental care by protecting
surfaces you may have missed when brushing and flossing.

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