We all know that for keeping our dental hygiene in the best shape possible. We need both toothbrushes and toothpaste to work simultaneously for the greatest benefits. Of course, both have their perks for keeping our pearly whites in shape. But what if you were to pick only one out of both? Using only a toothbrush to scrape the debris off your teeth or going with toothpaste and brushing your teeth with the help of your fingers? It sounds like a hard choice, right?
While it may be mind-boggling to think of using one without the other as it won’t meet your dental routine. Still, when asked, most people opt for going with a toothbrush if they are given a choice. Why is it so? Let’s read and find out.
WHY TOOTHBRUSH IS A BETTER PICK THAN TOOTHPASTE?
A toothbrush is a better choice when picking between toothbrushes or toothpaste. The reason lies in the brushing technique. If you are using a toothbrush as the dentists recommend, you can be better off using it alone without the need to add toothpaste to your routine.
The technique is to keep a toothbrush at an angle that cleans the teeth to the gums on the lip and tongue sides. From both top and bottom jaws! And most dentists will agree that it generally doesn’t matter if the brush is electric or manual. The only thing that matters in preventing decay in the mouth is the physical disruption of plaque. Toothpaste can slow plaque growth, but it is ineffective at removing plaque.
We all have bacteria in our mouths. This bacteria planted itself onto our teeth and multiplied to form what we call plaque. Plaque is a buildup of bacteria around our teeth and gums into a colony, producing a biofilm over the tooth if left to its own devices. Therefore, people who brush with bad technique or do not brush at all are at very high risk of getting decay and having other dental issues.
Without plaque being removed with a toothbrush, the bacterial colony becomes more and more complex as time passes.
Depending on diet, lifestyle, and oral hygiene habits, plaque that has not been removed will begin secreting local acids. These acids start to dissolve the parts of the tooth the plaque covers within a few days. This can lead to a cycle where the plaque invades further and further into the tooth as the plaque is continually producing acids. When left unchecked, this is how decay occurs.
The good news is that it is not difficult to disrupt the plaque and stop this process. You don’t need expensive equipment. It takes some diligence, concentration, and self-awareness to make sure the time you are spending brushing is adequate. And that every surface of each tooth is being brushed. And if you can do this, not only will your teeth love you for it; but your wallet will too!
The toothbrush is essential in keeping the plaque bacterial biofilm from maturing. It is the mature species of plaque bacteria that contribute to periodontal disease. It’s also helpful to reduce the bacterial population to reduce the likelihood of tooth decay. So, yes, a toothbrush is essential to oral health.
WHY NOT TOOTHPASTE OVER TOOTHBRUSH?
The toothpaste (assuming it contains fluoride) is also essential in preventing tooth decay. Your teeth experience acidic conditions throughout the day. This can leech minerals and begin the decay process. However, regular exposure to fluoride can repair these early areas of decay. Use fluoride toothpaste twice a day. And make sure you don’t rinse, as you are providing an opportunity for any loss of mineral to repair.
There is a benefit to toothpaste, and that is fluoride. For this reason, it is advised to brush with water during the day and fluoride toothpaste before bed. Fluoride can also be delivered via mouthwash.
Now using toothpaste without a toothbrush generally doesn’t serve any good to the teeth. We need something with bristles to escape the daily debris that our teeth tend to collect due to food, sleeping, drinking, etc.
Even if toothpaste has valuable benefits, it alone will not suffice oral health. It needs to pair with a toothbrush to show its maximum benefits. And that of course by using the right techniques.
If you’re interested in maximal oral health, you won’t choose either. The best advice is to brush utilizing the Bass technique twice a day for two minutes, clean between the teeth once a day with floss or another option, and use fluoride toothpaste. Don’t rinse after brushing to allow the fluoride to do its most for you!
However, If people had to choose one or the other, they mostly opt to go with the toothbrush. It’s the only feasible way (aided by floss for surfaces between the teeth) to disrupt plaque. Once colonized, these bugs convert the food we eat to acids, attacking your teeth by removing the mineral content. This is what is known as a cavity. Plaque cannot be rinsed off or sprayed off; its removal requires mechanical friction.