Toothbrushing with a dentifrice is the most widely practiced means of oral hygiene and foundational to home care practice. Toothpaste is a cost-effective vehicle for the incorporation of therapeutic agents: historically fluoride for caries prevention, and more recently cosmetic whitening ingredients, as well as chemotherapeutic active agents that target gingivitis emanating from the lack of complete plaque removal common to the average brusher. Despite the widespread perception that toothpastes are relatively interchangeable, their benefits and clinical effectiveness vary, being highly dependent upon active agent efficacy and the precise formulation and compatibility of all ingredients. Deciding between the plethora of marketed toothpastes with competing claims can be confusing to consumers, and even to clinicians who find it challenging to keep up with new product introductions and clinical research.
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