Everyday we see advertisements by toothpaste companies on prime time TV with claims like:
“Professional strength whitening!”
However, most of these claims are not supported by dental science and are marketing techniques to differentiate the toothpaste from competitors.
So, the big question is,
Is your toothpaste actually do what they claim to be?
Let’s make one thing very clear, your toothpaste is good at doing only one thing. Toothpaste is helps you in removing a film of bacteria (biofilm) which builds on your teeth over the course of the day & night.
Yup!… That’s about it!
You have been shown continuous ads and marketing and packaging material to believe that your toothpaste has a lot of features.
Actually, toothpaste manufacturers have turned toothpaste into a panacea or a cure for all dental problems. All ads and packaging almost claim that if you brush your teeth everyday, you will never need to visit a dentist. This itself must create doubt in your mind!
With all the claims made by the toothpaste companies many people actually think that a good toothpaste and a toothbrush is the only thing that one needs to do to maintain good dental health.
So, it is very necessary to understand what these claims made by toothpaste companies actually mean.
Claim 1: Whitening
There are generally two types of whitening toothpastes.
Whitening of teeth is possible only by using a chemical which could mostly be hydrogen peroxide or a similar chemical constitution. Any person with a basic knowledge of chemistry will know that hydrogen peroxide is highly unstable. It tends to break down into nascent oxygen and water at the first opportunity. So, its nearly impossible to keep it stable in a toothpaste which needs to have a shelf life of atleast a month even after its opened.
Lets still assume that toothpaste manufacturers have been able to develop a method to keep hydrogen peroxide of a similar chemical constitution stable in the toothpaste formulation. Actually whitening required the peroxide to stay on the teeth surface for atleast 20 minutes to have any visible change in the colour of the teeth.
Hence, this method of whitening through toothpaste is chemically and hence factually not possible. Which also means that your whitening toothpaste is not actually making your teeth whiter.
There are a few toothpastes that use an abrasive powder which works like sandpaper to remove some of the superficial stains on your enamel or teeth surface. Its like a polishing paste. These can work well to remove or atleast lighten the stains of tea, coffee, wine etc. But these too are only removing the stains and not whitening your teeth.
We do not recommend such tooth paste because they could also scrape away the tooth surface or enamel causing damage to the teeth.
The best way to remove stains or cleaning your teeth for the above purpose it to get a professional cleaning and polishing of your teeth. Sabka Dentist offers professional cleaning and polishing of teeth for just Rs. 100/- through our Pro-Clean Program. To know more about the Pro-Clean Professional Dental Cleaning .
Claim 2: Freshens Breath
Some toothpaste keep pushing “Fresh Breath” as the best result of using their toothpaste. Let me tell, the toothpaste is only working like mint or mouth fresher and is not actually solving the root cause of Bad Breath .
These toothbrushes only have the same constituent that breath fresheners like mints, Halls, Polos, chewing gums etc have. These toothbrushes do nothing more than what an Orbit Chewing Gum does.
Basically, Bad breath is a problem that toothpaste can solve!
Bad Breath is usually caused because of two reasons – There are plaque or food deposits in your teeth because you do not floss and brush as required and you aren’t using a tongue scraper. Or you may be suffering from some other more complicated problem with your body which could be causing the bad breath.
So, your toothpaste is not going to solve your Bad Breath problem. If you want to solve this problem, you need to brush your teeth atleast twice a day. Use floss after meals and before going to bed. Scrape your tongue regularly and maintain a good hygiene.
Claim 3: Fluoride
Dental and medical science accepts that topical application of fluoride can help in demineralizing teeth and hence keeping them healthy.
But, your toothpaste is still misleading you, lets see How?
Flouride is generally provided to the teeth by nature via water and not toothpaste. And, fluoride needs to stay on the teeth for effective demineralization.
You brush your teeth with toothpaste to remove the bacterial film and then gargle with water or spit the toothpaste out. Hence, basically you are not keeping the fluoride on the toothpaste for effective remineralization.
Its like, you cannot wash and wax your car simultaneously!
Also, effective remineralization of the teeth, the concentration of fluoride must be approximately 5000 parts per million. However, most fluoride toothpastes have fluoride concentration of approximately 1100 parts per million. This is because the FDA does not allow anything more than that to avoid toxicity complication if ingested by children.
Toothpaste companies are not mandated to show their fluoride concentrations by the regulatory bodies like FDA and DCI. However, the above mentioned details are facts.
Hence, your fluoride toothpaste is not helping you in effective remineralisation.
Claim 4: Plaque or Tartar Control
“Tartar control” usually means that the toothpaste has added some chemical constitution to the toothpaste which prevents tartar buildup. However, gum disease or periodontal problems are caused by tartar that is below the gumline. And, since you toothbrush and hence your toothpaste cannot reach beneath your gums, there is NO tartar control!
The best way to control tartar is to remove the film of plaque or bacteria on your teeth regularly by brushing and flossing. This also does not completely remove the plaque or tartar. The only way to ensure complete removal of plaque and tartar is through a professional dental scaling and cleaning of teeth by a dentist.
Claim 5: Enamel Repair
Many toothbrush companies have lately started to publicize a new claim about enamel repair. Fact, enamel cannot be repaired. Ask any dentist and he/she will let you know why. Enamel cannot be repaired and anybody claiming that it can be repaired using some toothpaste is lying!
So, how to choose a tooth paste?
Consider the following while choosing your toothpaste:
- Minimal use of chemicals, as natural as possible: Don’t get mislead by all these advertisements and claims. Choose a toothpaste with minimum chemicals and maximum natural ingredients.
You must like the taste!: Choose a toothpaste that you like brushing with. Mostly it is due to the taste. Basically, you should look forward to brushing!
- Its OK to brush without a toothpaste: You can at times brush your teeth without a toothpaste. Infact you must keep a brush handy in your bag and even beside your bed. So on days when you are traveling or are very tired and want to get to bed immediately, you can atleast do a dry brush.
- Eat a Healthy & Balanced Diet: Eat foods that are good for your body and teeth. Stay away from acidic drinks, aerated drinks like Sodas, packaged food, etc. Consume a lot of fruits, vegetables and nuts.
- Use the right brushing and flossing technique: Learn how to brush! Most people do not know the techniques of brushing and that’s why do more damage to teeth by vigorous brushing causing abrasion of enamel. Most Indians do not use floss. Flossing is as important as brushing because your brush is incapable to reach in-between teeth and also in the spaces between your gums and teeth. Only floss can do that.
Use a floss after every meal if possible.
- Visit a Dentist every 6 months: While brushing and flossing will help you keep your teeth clean, the only way to avoid dental problems is by visiting a dentist every 6 months for a preventive dental checkup. Also, flossing and brushing do not completely eliminate the possibility of plaque, tartar and hence dental problems. The only way to clean your teeth completely is by a Professional Dental Cleaning and Scaling every 6 months