Toothpaste is widely regarded as a necessity in the daily routine of cleaning our teeth, but perhaps that notion is worth reconsidering. Countless times, dentists are asked which toothpaste brand is right for patients. Indeed, there is a reason why there has yet to be a declared winner. Dental experts maintain that in the path towards cleaner and whiter teeth, it is not so much a matter of which toothpaste to use. That is because traditional toothpaste does not hold a very high influence at all in this regard. Here is why:
The Truth About Toothpaste
1. In reality, toothpaste is only a cosmetic product. It does not whiten your teeth so much as freshen your mouth. While our mouths may feel fresher after a brushing session, it is only due to the intense flavor of the paste; plenty of plaque and bacteria will still be left to continue thriving because most traditional toothpastes lack the ingredients to remove them effectively.
2. With the above in mind, remember: Using more toothpaste does not equal a better clean. Television commercials show a generous amount of toothpaste applied on a brush, but they are not really showing you the correct amount – they are simply encouraging you to be wasteful so you run out quicker and have to buy their brand more often. That equates to marketing dollars for them and no added cleanliness for you.
3. The official website of the ADA (American Dental Association) even has a section devoted to toothpaste, and you will not find anything in it that pertains to cleaner teeth. Granted, it sets fluoride requirements which some studies say can contribute to long-term enamel health and strength. However, there is no mention of any toothpaste’s effect on overall oral cleanliness and hygiene.
4. Here is a breakdown of what most toothpaste brands really contain: Fluoride for enamel strengthening; Sodium Lauryl Sulfate for the foaming action we see in toothpaste; Abrasive particles like silica, calcium carbonate, or chalk whose “grittiness” is used to slightly polish teeth; Desensitizers that help sensitive teeth but still do not clean them; Tartar control agents that can burn mouths that sensitive to a higher pH; and Triclosan, which is claimed to fight against oral infections but is also suspected of being an endocrine disruptor and possible carcinogen.
5. It is not the toothpaste that removes plaque and makes your teeth whiter – it is the actual brushing technique that keeps your teeth clean. Learning and applying the proper brushing technique, and making sure you are brushing for at least two minutes, is more important than debating which brand of toothpaste to use.
Using Holistic Toothpaste Alternatives
There is a wide variety of alternatives to traditional toothpaste, using only ingredients that are not detrimental to our health. Some toothpaste alternatives use natural abrasives like charcoal and bentonite clay – they contain the right amount of grit to polish teeth while also altering the pH in our mouths to neutralize bacteria and make it harder for it to grow. These kinds of alternatives may be worth some invested individual research. Some patients are comfortable making the leap to such unconventional ingredients, while some remain skeptical or reluctant to try an orally applied product with, say, charcoal in it. One thing is certain: regardless of what is on your brush, what matters most is the actual brushing – brush correctly, brush diligently, brush often.
If you are looking for a healthier alternative route to better brushing without traditional toothpaste, it is best to talk with a local holistic dentist about your best choices.