“Buying Toothpaste” by Judith Raices
So does it reallymatter which toothpaste you use?
According to a Wealthy Dentist survey, 65% of dentists say yes.
We say yes. And no.
The key in cleaning your teeth is to thoroughly disturb the biofilm formed by microbes in the mouth. Biofilm (also called “plaque”) is kind of like pond scum: the result of colonizing microbes. (Read more about what dental biofilm is and how it affects your teeth. You can even watch how it colonizes here.) Just as when you twirl a stick in pond scum, the scum breaks up, so brushing, flossing and other cleaning actions break up biofilm in the mouth. Toothpaste acts as a mild abrasive and kind of “soap” for the teeth, thus making brushing more effective. The ideal paste contains no fluoride, sugar or SLS, and you can read more about the subject here.
And it’s that last point that makes us say, yes, the type of toothpaste you use does matter. It matters quite a lot.
But then again, it doesn’t. As one dentist responding to the above survey put it, “In all honesty, you do not need toothpaste. The friction of the toothbrush is the most important thing! You can even use a wet washcloth or a Q-tip.”
It’s all about breaking up the biofilm.