Dollar stores offer a wide variety of household goods for much lower prices than grocery or department stores. When you're on a tight budget, spending more than a dollar on toothpaste may seem like a waste. However, you may get more than you bargained for if you don't pay close attention.
The Problems With Dollar Store Toothpaste
These stores are primarily supplied from manufacturer overstock, heavily discounted and discontinued product lines and foreign goods. While you often see the same toothpaste brands on the shelf, they may have a formula designed for other countries. You won't see a lot of difference with Canada-based products, according to a Snopes investigation, but you can have problems with regions that don't have similar regulations regarding toothpaste.
You may also run into issues with the expiration date on the tubes. While toothpaste isn't going to go rancid overnight, it could lose effectiveness or have other side effects when it's well past its sell-by date.
If you want to purchase your products from a dollar store still, take the time to read the labels. The expiration date, country of origin, and applicable regulations are referenced on the packaging. If the toothpaste comes from a country with laws that you're uncertain of, put it back on the shelf.
What Makes a Toothpaste "Good" According to Dentists
Many people may choose a toothpaste brand that has the catchiest commercials or the most coupons. However, a good toothpaste that improves your long-term oral hygiene has several key characteristics.
Fluoride, which is also in many water supplies, is a key ingredient in fighting cavities and tooth decay. This chemical helps the outer layer of your teeth protect themselves against acid and bacteria. It also has a remineralization effect that can repair the damage that has already occurred. The only downside to fluoride is that you don't want to swallow it, which is easier said than done, especially if you have kids that are learning how to brush their teeth.
Protection Against Gum Disease
Your toothpaste should also have a formula that helps prevent gum disease. Periodontal disease can be detrimental to your overall health. Your gums can become sore or even bleed when you brush them. You need all the support you can get in making sure that bacteria doesn't build up along the gum-line.
Plaque is the precursor to tartar. If you don't clean the plaque off of your teeth when it forms, it ends up mineralizing and turning into tartar. You can't remove tartar without the help of a professional cleaning, so it's important to stop it before it gets to that point.
Are your teeth heat- or cold-sensitive, or hurt simply being touched? You may struggle with brushing properly when it's painful or uncomfortable to do so. Desensitizing toothpaste can cut down on those sensations so you can go the recommended two minutes for a cleaning.
You don't have to stop being frugal about your toothpaste purchases, but you do need to make sure that you're getting what you need to maintain your oral health. Take a close look at any product you find in the dollar store and make sure that it meets dentist recommendations, as well as the dental regulations in this country.