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Wednesday, 2 August 2017

Is Your Toothpaste Wrecking Your Teeth?

Dr. Vincent Wan


Recently, I had a patient come in for her 6 monthly checkup and clean appointment who had developed quite a significant stain on her teeth which she never has had before.  After going through the typical diet, medicine and lifestyle related reasons and getting no closer to the source of her stain, we discussed any other recent changes that may be the culprit.

To my surprise, she said the only thing that she had changed over the past 6 months was her toothpaste.  She had switched to a tea tree oil based toothpaste because she claimed it is natural and good for you and was told to do so by a friend who told her that regular toothpaste has many bad chemicals in it and shouldn’t be used.  Surely this new healthy toothpaste could not be the cause of her staining.  After convincing the patient to switch back to a regular toothpaste, the stain did not return and we confirmed it was in fact the supposedly healthy toothpaste that had caused her staining.

Regular toothpaste has been researched thoroughly and proven to be safe and good for your teeth.  The 2 main ingredients in regular toothpaste are detergent and fluoride.  These are supposedly the bad chemicals in regular toothpaste. However, without these, toothpaste has no real effect and if you want to use a toothpaste without these, you might as well not use one at all.

Mild detergent is necessary to thoroughly remove food and plaque from the surfaces of the teeth, while fluoride is antibacterial and repairs and strengthens tooth structure.  If you use a toothpaste without these ingredients then you may not be cleaning your teeth properly and like our patient with the tea tree oil toothpaste, have an unexpected stain covering all your teeth from doing so.  Worse still, you may be putting yourself at risk of tooth decay and other oral infections.