Why toothpaste may be bad for your teeth?

Most of us use toothpaste and don’t really give a second thought to the brand or type we use. But do we really need to use it for the health of our teeth in the first place?

The short answer is no. Regardless of what the dental industry tells you about your toothpaste, using it does not remove more plaque. In fact, I know many dental hygienists and dentists that do not use toothpaste on a daily basis. They do not have gum disease or cavities as a result. Your toothbrush and floss used properly and efficiently, is what actually removes the plaque from your teeth.

So, why do we use it and what does it actually do? We use it to feel like we have a clean mouth, strengthen teeth, and keep them clean looking, aka “white”. Let’s see if the ingredients actually achieve these goals:

  • Fluoride-proven track record in strengthening teeth against cavities
  • Abrasives- Studies are showing root wear occurring with high RDA value toothpaste
  • Foaming agent- no benefit other than making you feel like the toothpaste is “working”
  • antibacterial agents- some benefit although triclosan use in toothpaste is controversial
  • Desensitizing agents (some)- Has proven benefit in desensitizing teeth
  • Base-Alkaline- temporarily makes your mouth less acidic but removing plaque would also accomplish this.
  • Flavoring- to make you use it.

The point here is that although toothpaste makes your mouth feel clean, be wary of all of the claims toothpaste companies make. The only ingredient on the list above with a proven track record is fluoride. There has been recent studies that have shown that many toothpastes claiming to be whitening or stain removing actually damage your enamel and root surfaces. In fact, there is an abrasively scale that is used to determine how abrasive a toothpaste is.

Check your teeth. Do you have areas at the gum line that look like this?

Can you feel a “ledge” at the neck of your tooth?

Moral of the story is to make sure the toothpaste you choose is benefiting you teeth rather than harming them. Select one that addresses a special need you have and that is low on the RDA (relative abrasively index). Use it knowing that it is your excellent brushing technique, and not the toothpaste, that is removing plaque and keeping your gums healthy!

Healthy Teeth, Healthy Body………..We wish you both.

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