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.
If certified by the American Dental Association as plaque fighters, these products can complement dental care by protecting surfaces you may have missed when brushing and flossing.