We know about “sipping your teeth away” but do you know about brushing your teeth away?

A picture of a young pretty woman brushing her teeth over white backgroundAlmost every day someone asks me what toothpaste do you recommend? In the past I would answer whatever tastes good to you and is ADA approved. I still agree on the second part of my answer- but I have learned not all toothpastes are created equally.

Toothpastes date back to the Egyptians in 5000BC. However they were neither used nor available to everyone. Much to my surprise my investigation noted that regular oral care in America didn’t really catch on until the soldiers returned from WWII with their daily habit of brushing teeth. WOW!

Many substances have been used for cleaning teeth. Many of them were very abrasive such as oyster shells, burnt eggshells and crushed bones. OUCH! Burnt bread was another item used as well as powdered charcoal and bark. YUCK! Over time improvements were made to taste, searching for a solution to mouth odors. There are documents that were found from the Persians warning of the dangers of hard abrasives in tooth powder.

The Persians hit the nail on the head. Abrasiveness of toothpastes can be very harmful to your teeth. Add an abrasive toothpaste to a hard bristle brush and an aggressive hand that spells trouble. Dental professionals now recommend soft or extra soft bristle brushes.

Abrasive toothpastes in addition to removing food, bacteria and plaque also erode perfectly good tooth structure over time. This tooth removal is especially harmful if you have recessed gums and exposed root surfaces. The root surface is much more easily and quickly abraded away than the enamel. This can lead to cold sensitivity which can be very painful, changing your eating habits –uh- lifestyle. Cold sensitivity had become a major problem in the last several years. Often clients complain about recent sensitivity only to find out a lot of them have recently changed toothpastes and when they go back to their previous paste the problem is resolved. Usually the toothpastes stating they are tartar control and/or whitening pastes are usually the guilty parties.

Did you also know that the abrasives can also remove the shine on your composite bonding and porcelain restorations leaving them dull and lack luster? Often people seek to have their bonding replaced because it just doesn’t look good any more or feels rough. If you’ve had a lot of anterior cosmetic treatment it is also best to ask your dental professional for a low or non-abrasive polish paste when getting your teeth cleaned to avoid damaging your cosmetic treatment.

The American Dental Association recommends an abrasive level of no more than 250 RDA. The FDA is less lenient with its limit being 200. I prefer pastes with 100 or less. ClosysII, Colgate Regular and Tom’s of Maine are great examples with low RDA’s. See www.teethwhiteningreviews.com.

So think twice before you buy whatever is on sale. Reconsider whitening pastes that whiten by removing your tooth. Your teeth will thank you!

Keep smiling successfully,

Dr. Robinson