Sunday 26 February 2017

Should you ditch toothpaste? Experts suggest there may be no need for it

Toothpaste carries a whole range of active ingredients which protect the teeth and gums
Toothpaste carries a whole range of active ingredients which protect the teeth and gums

Do we really need to use toothpaste and is brushing enough?

A paper in the Journal of Clinical Periodontology - the official publication of the European Federation of Periodontology - said toothbrushing alone may be as effective as toothbrushing with toothpaste in terms of plaque removal. In response, specialists in periodontology said this is not unexpected since the mechanical action of toothbrushing has for centuries been known to be an effective means of removing dental plaque and food debris.

However, they point out there is more to it than this.

Plaque removal alone is only part of the toothbrushing process. Dental professionals encourage the use of toothpaste as it carries a whole range of active ingredients which protect the teeth and gums:

• fluorides to strengthen the teeth against the ravages of dental decay

• agents which reduce tooth sensitivity

• anti-bacterial agents which kill bacteria in plaque

In addition to these benefits, for which there is abundant evidence, toothpaste use can help with:

• stain removal

• breath-freshening

• making the mouth feel cleaner and healthier

The European Federation of Periodontology said it is important research does not mean that toothpastes have no benefit to oral and gum health - the overwhelming evidence is it provides added benefit.

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