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Pick the Right Toothpaste

1. Always go for fluoride, even in natural pastes (like Tom's).  It protects teeth against acid (a cause of decay) and reduces acid made by bacteria in your mouth. 

2. Look for the ADA seal.  It assures the truthfulness of claims on the a label, like whitening or tartar control.

3. Give your teeth the tongue test.  If they're gritty soon after brushing, you're building up plaque faster than average and may need a paste that prevents growth, such as Crest Pro-Health or Colgate Total.

4. Follow the rules.  If a whitening paste says to brush twice a day and you brush five times instead, you won't get whiter teeth, and may wear down your enamel.  Also,stick to a pea-size amount: More will just use up the tube faster.

Source:  Dr. Mark Wolff chair of the NYU Dept. of Cariology and Comprehensive Care