Recent studies have shown that hydrated silica in toothpaste causes significant wear on any exposed dentin on our teeth1. This is a concern for anyone with either gum recession or spots on the chewing surfaces where the enamel is worn through into the dentin. I myself have some gum recession, so I am in this group.
Simple changes can limit the harmful effect of silica on your teeth. The simplest is to use less toothpaste, therefore, you get less silica. A pea sized amount or smaller is plenty. Additionally, anyone in the above group should NEVER use whitening toothpastes, because they contain the highest amount of silica. If interested, we can gladly send you a list that shows the amount of hydrated silica in many toothpastes. Sensodyne ProNamel is one toothpaste we recommend that has less silica.
I and some of my staff and colleagues have completely stopped using toothpaste altogether. At first hearing this, it sounds radical, but you don’t really need toothpaste. The toothbrush and floss do the cleaning. The ingredients in toothpaste that make it foam up or taste good do nothing positive for your teeth. Furthermore, some people are sensitive to the sodium lauryl sulfate(SLS) in most toothpaste and would benefit from avoiding it. The challenge is merely getting used to not having the taste of toothpaste in your mouth. Honestly, after a short time, you don’t even miss it! And please, don’t worry about your breath; toothpaste (or mouthwash for that matter) only improves your breath for about 20 minutes – then it’s back to normal. I’ll talk more about what effects your breath next time.
The one thing your teeth would miss is the fluoride. I apply a topical fluoride paste called MI Plus once a day. It not only has fluoride, but it also has Calcium and Phosphorus that make the Fluoride more effective. It makes teeth more resistant to decay and less sensitive. We have MI Plus in stock for you at our office. Fluoride rinse available over-the-counter is another way to get fluoride. Some patients prefer to dip their toothbrush in the fluoride rinse to make brushing taste better.
If you have any questions, we will gladly discuss them during your next visit. Contact our Homewood dentist to schedule your next dental appointment.
Deep abrasion of the root surface at the margin of a crown.
Notice the depth of the abrasion on the root of this bicuspid. The enamel is unharmed.
The adjacent tooth is worn too.
The roots of all four of these upper teeth are worn and sensitive.
Wear on the roots of upper molars.
Worn and sensitive bicuspid roots.
1 Dzakovich JJ, Oslak RR. In vitro reproduction of noncarious cervical lesions. J Prosthet Dent 2008;1:1-10.
Dzakovich JJ, Oslak RR. In vitro reproduction of incisal/occlusal cupping/cratering. J Prosthet Dent 2013;109:384-391.