Is toothpaste really necessary for a good oral hygiene?

Even though dentifrices are not essential for maintaining a good dental hygiene, there are many benefits in using them when brushing teeth There are two main purposes in the use of toothpaste: keep teeth and gums properly clean and prevent tooth decay. The first one is possible to achieve with a good brushing technique and doesn’t really require the use of a dentifrice. The second one, though, is only possible with the action of fluoride, the main active ingredient of toothpaste.

Fluoride is a scientifically proven anti-caries agent which increases the resistance of teeth to demineralization and prevents its decay by incorporating crystals into the enamel, thus strengthening teeth and reversing early decay. Other ingredients of dentifrices work to desensitize teeth and gums, reduce plaque and prevent the formation of tartar (hardened dental plaque), remove stains and kill bacteria that cause bad breath.

A good technique and the use of toothpaste ensure a good dental hygiene and a healthy condition of both teeth and gums. Though there are many of them, all the best brushing techniques agree on five basic aspects:

  • 1) Proper brushing needs to take a minimum of 2 minutes, twice a day.
  • 2) Teeth must be brushed using gentle and short strokes.
  • 3) One must pay attention to both inner and outer surfaces, and particularly to the chewing surfaces.
  • 4) Tongue must be brushed too to prevent bad breath.
  • 5) The brush must form a 45o angle against the gum line and be rolled away from it at every stroke or move in an elliptical motion to clean each tooth.

Following these, a good oral hygiene is ensured, meaning decay and gum problems are prevented. But, what happens with the damage that is already done? That’s where toothpaste becomes necessary to prevent further decay and reverse some of its effects.

Teeth whitening is a good example of that: toothpaste contains ingredients called abrasives, which are essential for helping to remove plaque. These also polish tooth surfaces and remove stains by causing minor erosion on the enamel. Some dentifrices also contain whitening agents, however none of these ingredients are enough to restore the lost colour of a tooth but only erase superficial stains.

For a proper recovering of the white colour of teeth once discoloured and stained, dental professionals such as Perfect Smile’s dentists use a procedure called teeth whitening by laser, which consists of removing discolouration and stains to the teeth so they recover their natural white colour. Even though brushing with toothpaste guarantees a good oral hygiene, drinking tea and coffee or smoking may cause teeth to lose their colour and stain, so teeth whitening can be as well necessary.

However a good brushing technique is the only essential to oral health, toothpaste benefits go far beyond mere plaque removal.

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