The best, the worst and the unproven for taking care of your teeth

To what extent should you use dental floss? Is it true that the probiotics prevent gum disease?

Researchers from the University at Buffalo have analyzed so many of the things we do to prevent gingivitis and periodontitis They are really effective in addition to brushing your teeth.

And they concluded that only a few provide extra protection for the teeth, but the vast majority They are not scientifically proven.

The researchers hope that the results of this study will help dentists and the general public to identify the best practices for preventing gum disease.

Dental health in Spain

In addition to cavities, gingivitis it’s a disease they suffer from 6 out of 10 adults in Spain.

  • Specifically, the most common gum problem is bleeding, which 63% of Spaniards suffer from.
  • 50% have inflammation gums and 34% report suffering from pain.

There periodontitis (gum infection that can lead to tooth loss) affects 2 million Spaniards and 33% lose their teeth.

What works

According to the study, only the following tools have been scientifically proven to prevent gingivitis and periodontitis:

  • Tooth brushing.“It’s the cornerstone of daily oral hygiene and the best way to control dental plaque”, says Frank Scannapieco, lead author of the study. A good brushing lasts at least 2 minutes. The Spanish Dental Foundation recommends dividing the mouth into four parts, devoting at least 30 seconds to each.
  • Interdental brushes and oral irrigators. The study finds that they work better than other interdental oral hygiene devices in reducing gingivitis, and both should be used in combination with daily tooth brushing to prevent gum disease.
  • mouthwashes. Those containing chlorhexidine gluconate, cetylpyridinium chloride, and essential oils such as menthol, thymol, eucalyptol, and methyl salicylate have been shown to be effective in reducing bacterial plaque and gingivitis.

Of course the toothpick They are not recommended at all, but the study found that they can give clues about the health of the gums since if they bleed when using them, it is a sign that they are not healthy.

bad for your teeth

He triclosana common compound in toothpaste and mouthwash, is the one thing strongly discouraged.

It is true that, as we already knew and this investigation was able to further demonstrate, Triclosan reduces gingivitis and plaque.

But there are studies that suggest that this compound acts as a endocrine disruptor altering hormones and is linked to the development of various types of cancers and reproductive disorders.

Triclosan has been removed from Toothpaste the most popular in the United States.

The European Union does not allow the addition of more than 0.3% triclosan in toothpastes. It is considered that this quantity is not harmful to health.

What is not proven more effective

Some of the things that haven’t been proven to be a plus for caring for your teeth are electric toothbrushes, dental floss, probiotics, and lots of mouthwashes.

  • Electric toothbrushes: they are no more effective at reducing plaque and gingivitis than a basic toothbrush, the researchers found.
  • Dental floss: It is the real king of interdental cleaning, but there is little scientific evidence that it contributes decisively to the reduction of gingivitis and dental plaque. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t use it, the researchers say.

“While there are few studies available that specifically examine toothbrushes or floss alone, both are still essential. Flossing is particularly useful for removing interdental plaque in people who have little space between their teeth. It is also likely that reduce the risk of cavities that form between the teethsays Scannapieco.

  • mouthwashes: Researchers found insufficient evidence that mouthwashes made with tea tree oil, green tea, anti-inflammatory agents, hydrogen peroxide, sodium benzoate, stannous fluoride, hexetidine or delmopinol reduced gingivitis.
  • probiotics: Although they show promise in this regard, their effectiveness in the prevention of gum disease has not been demonstrated.


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