You may well have seen the recent surge in adverts for new, improved toothpastes - toothpastes that give you long lasting protection against tooth decay, gum problems, plaque and tartar build up. There is no doubt that toothpaste technology has improved significantly in recent years and we really welcome these innovations: they are making a real contribution to improving our nation's oral health and in our quest to keep gum disease at bay, you'll find many of these toothpastes available in our practices.
But no matter how 'new and improved' the toothpaste is, if you really want to keep teeth and gums healthy, you still need to follow these basic rules:-
- brush regularly, at least twice a day
- brush for at least 2 minutes
- change your toothbrush every
- 3 months
Even with good, regular brushing, you'll find that you can get a build up of plaque and tartar in those difficult to reach places. This build up can result in gum disease and tooth decay - according to the NHS, most people have at least one case of mild gum disease during their lifetime and in the UK it is estimated that 50-90% of the adult population has some degree of gum disease. The only effective way to combat this is a regular check up with your dentist. Your dentist, or the hygienist, can remove these stubborn deposits that cannot be removed through regular brushing to keep your teeth and gums healthy and your breath fresh. In addition to this, at your check up, which is probably your most important dental treatment, your dentist can check for early signs of dental decay and even mouth cancer.
Examples of whitening shades - one shade per tooth
Some of these toothpastes also claim to 'whiten your teeth by up to 1 shade in 2 weeks', which is fine if you just want to lighten your teeth a little. However, when we advise patients on teeth whitening, most want their teeth whitened by between 4 and 10 shades and the OasisOpinion is that there is only one safe, effective way to do this: trust your dentist.
Your dentist will advise you on the shade best suited to you, and be able to deliver the treatment that precisely delivers the result you want. Whilst we may welcome new toothpastes, we are very wary of the range of non-dentist outlets out there where whitening treatment is offered. They can be unregulated and unqualified. Teeth whitening is very safe in expert hands, but in the wrong hands using the wrong, unregulated products, it has the potential to cause substantial, long-term damage. You should also be very wary of products available on the internet. Whilst these may be tempting in their claims and costs, and marketed as 'the same as your dentist may use' - they are frequently not what the dentist uses!
The OasisOpinion is that only a dentist can evaluate your need, select the product that is right for you and ensure that you end up with white and undamaged teeth.
So, whilst we welcome the advances in toothpaste technology, we remind you that they aren't a substitute for a regular check-up with your dentist. As for whitening, please leave that to your dentist.