Toothpaste not ‘a waste of time and money’

toothpasteA new study has found that toothbrushing alone may be as effective as toothbrushing with toothpaste in terms of plaque removal.

However, while the finding is not unexpected, as the mechanical action of toothbrushing has been known to be an effective means of removing dental plaque and food debris for centuries, 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 that protect the teeth and gums, including:

  • Fluorides to strengthen the teeth against the ravages of dental decay
  • Agents that reduce tooth sensitivity
  • Anti-bacterial agents that kill bacteria in plaque.

In addition, using toothpaste can help with:

  • Stain removal
  • Breath freshening
  • Making the mouth feel cleaner and healthier.

The research, to be published in the Journal of Clinical Periodontology, was carried out by a group of investigators from Amsterdam.

According to the British Society of Periodontology (BSP), the paper is an interesting review of the available evidence and a useful addition to the scientific literature on oral hygiene habits, but it does not mean that toothpaste is a waste of time and money.

The BSP advises that toothbrushing should include the use of toothpaste, as it has multiple actions and benefits that were not investigated in this review.

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