If you ever sit down and study some adverts for toothpaste then you’ll quickly notice something which they all share. As well as shots of people skiing, crystal clear mountain streams and actors pretending to be smiling as if applying some paste to their teeth was the most hilarious thing ever, adverts for toothpaste tend to feature people depositing a massive length of paste on their brush. The amount used, in fact, would actually be enough to clean an elephants tusk and still have some left over, and the only possible excuse for propagating the idea that so much paste is needed is that you’re a toothpaste manufacturer desperate to sell more tubes of the stuff. Indeed, if you were to mimic the grinning folk in the adverts, then the chances are that you’d create so much foam in your mouth that you wouldn’t even be able to see the teeth you’re supposed to be scrubbing.
Many people tend to assume that the more paste you use, the whiter your teeth will be, and that the same applies to scrubbing as hard as you possibly can. Both of these views are mistaken, however, as any dentist or dental hygienist will be happy to explain. Whilst state of the art treatments such as laser whitening the teeth can produce stunning results, there are few courses of action which are better and more effective than keeping your teeth as clean as possible in the first place. The truth is that you only ever need toothpaste which is the size of a pea on your brush. Any more will simply be wasted, and the main task of toothpaste – to deliver a dose of fluoride to the teeth – can be more than handled by a pea sized blob. The ‘less is more’ approach will mean that the production of foam is kept to a minimum and this will make it easier to see what is actually happening when you’re cleaning your teeth, most notably in terms of observing the gum line to note whether any bleeding is taking place. Bleeding from the gums is an early sign of gum disease and must be dealt with as quickly as possible. Indeed, some dentists recommend using no toothpaste whatsoever, cleaning the enamel of the teeth with a wet brush, removing plaque and food particles whilst taking on the necessary level of fluoride elsewhere. In most cases, however, it is best to use a paste since different varieties can be chosen to perform specialised tasks. Certain pastes are designed to whiten the teeth or to reduce sensitivity, and your dentist or dental hygienist will recommend which is the best in your case. In all cases, as well as using the minimum of paste it is vital to brush in the correct manner – using small, circular motions and working slowly around all surfaces of the teeth using a soft brush. By combining the right brush, the correct paste and the recommended techniques it should be possible for anyone to maintain an extremely effective oral hygiene regime. No matter how carefully you clean your teeth, however, it is still vital to visit your dentist on a regular basis in order to make sure that no problems are making themselves apparent.