The Dangers of Toothpaste
When you think of dental hygiene, a toothbrush and toothpaste immediately come to mind. A thousand different varieties, brands, flavors, and functions exist. Each new commercial touts a different dentist’s recommendation, and consumers are left baffled in the drugstore aisle wondering if whitening specialties really work.
Overuse of toothpaste has been identified as actually causing certain conditions such as thinning of tooth enamel and heightened sensitivity. If you were taught that the more you brush your teeth, the whiter they will become, you could be a potential toothpaste abuser. As you brush your teeth harder and more often, the enamel wears down, the dentine becomes closer to the tooth’s surface, and the tooth appears darker instead of whiter. Mistaken beliefs about toothpaste can lock patients into a cycle of increased tooth damage.
As with all things in life, no singular factor is completely causative. Tooth abrasion is the result of pressure, time, and speed during brushing in addition to the abrasives found in the toothpaste itself. Poor habits such as grinding and drinking excessive amounts of soda further aggravate the situation. However, recognizable patterns have emerged in studies where overuse of toothpaste is isolated.
Remember, you need only a pea-sized amount of toothpaste as an adult. You should brush twice a day, and take care not to be too rough with your teeth! If you have any questions about how much to use, talk to your dental care team at your next visit.
Moore, C., Addy, M. and Moran, J. (2008), Toothpaste detergents: a potential source of oral soft tissue damage?. International Journal of Dental Hygiene, 6: 193–198. doi: 10.1111/j.1601-5037.2008.00307.x
Ferreira, Meire Coelho et al. “Effect of Toothpastes with Different Abrasives on Eroded Human Enamel: An in Situ/ex Vivo Study.” The Open Dentistry Journal 7 (2013): 132–139. PMC. Web. 15 May 2015
Bolay S, Cakir Fy, Gurgan S. Effects of Toothbrushing with Fluoride Abrasive and Whitening Dentrifices on Both Unbleached and Bleached Human Enamel J Contemporary Dent. Practice 2012; 13(5): 584 – 589