How Much Toothpaste Should I Use?
In order to sell more toothpaste, a toothpaste manufacturer advertises toothbrushes with an enormous amount of toothpaste, as illustrated in the classic picture shown on the left. In reality, the toothpaste only needs to be a small, pea size amount as shown in the picture to the right.
What are the Major Benefits of Toothpaste?
The major benefit of toothpaste is simply to freshen our mouth. It is the toothbrush that actually cleans the teeth, not the toothpaste. The additional paste is just additional abrasive cleaner and does little to help clean the bacteria off our teeth. The extra abrasiveness of too much toothpaste can also result in increased tooth structure loss and gum recession.
Excess toothpaste also produces excess foam and the need to spit, creating a mess. In fact, we spit most of the extra toothpaste into the sink without it ever touching our teeth. The excess foam fills our mouth and can also make us stop brushing sooner than we should. The proper amount of time needed to brush the whole mouth is about 2 minutes. Try holding a mouthful of foam for 2 minutes without stopping!
In addition, an important fact to know if you suffer from canker sores, the foam producing compound sodium lauryl sulfate, which is found in many toothpastes, has been linked to causing canker sores. So, if you are prone to canker sores, avoid toothpastes containing that ingredient.
Pros and Cons of Fluoride
Without going into a major discussion on the pros and cons of fluoride, which I will save for a later blog post, I will simply say I believe fluoride has health benefits for your teeth and that my family uses fluoride containing toothpastes to protect and strengthen our teeth. The fluoride in toothpaste is antibacterial and helps to remineralize your teeth. You could get the same effect by simply using a fluoride mouthwash.
Perhaps, someone with no gum recession or roots exposed can use any toothpaste they want, but when I see a patient who already has recession, I do think it matters which paste they use because the gum recession causes the soft part of the tooth (the root) to be exposed. The abrasiveness in the toothpaste can cause damage to the exposed part of the root.
So, in summary, save yourself some money and avoid the mess by only using a pea size amount of toothpaste when you brush. And, for those of you who understand the pros of fluoride, make sure the toothpaste you pick to use contains fluoride. Plus, if you have some gum recession or are prone to canker sores, research which toothpaste is best for you or give us a call; we’re here to help.
By following these easy dental tips, you can keep your smile healthy and your wallet happy. To learn more on how to execute proper oral health, schedule an appointment online today. You can also schedule your consultation by phone at (303) 544-9636.
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