Can purple toothpaste help remove dental plaque?

purple toothpaste

Whether you use purple toothpaste or not has no additional effect on removing dental plaque. The mechanical friction of brushing teeth itself is the key to removing dental plaque. Although toothpaste has no additional effect on removing dental plaque, the fluoride in toothpaste is an effective substance in preventing dental caries, so we should insist on using fluoride toothpaste. We understand that toothpaste will not help remove dental plaque. The purpose is to reduce dependence on purple toothpaste and pay more attention to the correct brushing method and choice of brushing tools.

Purple toothpaste
Purple toothpaste

Patients often ask me purple toothpaste is better for brushing teeth. I would like to explain this issue in two articles. In this article, we will first explain whether toothpaste is necessary for removing dental plaque.

What is dental plaque?

Plaque is the only initiating factor of dental caries and periodontitis. Simply put, without dental plaque, there would be no dental caries and periodontitis. Many people know the name of dental plaque, but they confuse it with food residue and dental calculus. Food residue appears in the mouth immediately after eating, and even if it adheres to some tooth surfaces, its adhesion is not very strong. Rinse with it. Mouthwash and an irrigator can wash away most food residues, but dental plaque is slowly formed 2 hours after eating. Mouthwash and an irrigator cannot remove dental plaque, but must be removed by mechanical friction.

After eating foods containing carbohydrates, the sugar and molecules in the saliva combine to form glycoproteins, and glycoproteins are the “foundation” for plaque formation. This layer of glycoproteins adheres to the surface of the clean teeth, and then some streptococci begin to form. Attached to the “foundation”, it slowly combines with other bacteria in the oral cavity until the plaque thickens and matures, forming a “bacterial community” that is difficult to remove, further leading to dental caries and gingivitis.

Explain by pictures

The process of dental plaque formation
The process of dental plaque formation

Figure 1: Some scattered pioneer bacteria begin to attach to this “foundation”. These pioneer bacteria are usually Streptococcus. At this time, the distance between bacteria is still relatively large, and the chemical and physical attraction between them is still relatively small.

Figure 2: Next, the bacteria begin to bind to glycoprotein receptors in the matrix, forming a strong connection.

Figure 3: On the hotbed paved by pioneer bacteria, some Gram-positive bacilli began to adhere, especially Actinobacteria. At this time, the bacterial biofilm could no longer be easily peeled off.

Figure 4: Bacteroides forsythia plays an important role in the formation of biofilms. It is responsible for connecting the underlying Gram-positive bacterial membrane and the surface bacterial flora, mainly Gram-negative bacterial flora. Mature biofilms are difficult to destroy easily.

Figure 5: When the biofilm is fully mature, the bacteria on the surface will continue to fall off and become free bacteria.

Dental plaque
Dental plaque

As shown in the picture above, dental plaque is more “invisible” than food residue and dental calculus. It is difficult to detect with the naked eye without careful observation. If we look closely at a close distance, we will find a layer of milky white dense sticky material on the surface of the teeth. , and the closer it is to the gums, the more obvious it is. If you use a hard tool (such as a toothpick) to scrape, you will scrape off a layer of sticky white substance, which is dental plaque.

Plaque scraped off teeth by probe
Plaque scraped off teeth by probe

What is dental calculus?

Dental calculus is dental plaque that has been calcified and hardened by minerals in saliva. The calcification changes it from organic matter to inorganic matter. Dental calculus itself is not as pathogenic as dental plaque, but it provides a rougher surface. This makes it easier for plaque to adhere and is more difficult to remove. Therefore, dental calculus is not the initiating factor of the disease, but only a promoting factor. The purpose of brushing our teeth is to remove plaque. Tartar is difficult to remove by ourselves and requires regular teeth cleaning to remove it.

The picture shows that dental calculus is covered with a thick layer of dental plaque. This layer of dental plaque comes into contact with the gums for a long time, causing the gums to become red, swollen and inflamed.

Some people’s dental calculus calcifies very quickly. If the plaque cannot be effectively removed within a day, it will already begin to calcify and produce dental calculus. Therefore, in order to avoid the formation of dental calculus, you should brush your teeth even after meals, preferably before the formation of dental plaque. Brush your teeth, that is, within two hours after eating.

If you eat acidic food, you can brush your teeth 30 minutes after eating.

Oral pH returns to normal half an hour after eating acidic foods
Oral pH returns to normal half an hour after eating acidic foods

purple Toothpaste has no additional effect on removing plaque

After clarifying that the purpose of brushing our teeth is to remove dental plaque, let’s take a look at whether toothpaste has an auxiliary effect in removing dental plaque.

Modern toothpastes claim to have a variety of beneficial effects: remove plaque, fight cavities, remineralize, fight acid erosion, fight plaque, reduce gum bleeding, fight tartar, whiten teeth, reduce mouth odor, fight stains, fight gums. inflammation, desensitization, periodontal healing, preventing the progression of periodontitis, etc.

The American Dental Association (ADA) states on its website that toothpaste also improves the mechanical cleaning capabilities of toothbrushes (ADA 2015b). However, conflicting reports have been published regarding the added value of using toothpaste for plaque removal (van der Weijden & Slot 2015).

In 2017, Valkenburger published a systematic review titled “Can Toothpaste Help Remove Dental Plaque?” “ , this systematic review finally included 10 clinical randomized controlled studies related to the topic question. The results showed that the effectiveness of toothbrushing is largely affected by personal compliance and dexterity. The mechanical action provided by a toothbrush appears to be the main factor in the plaque removal process, and the main variable in this process is the person using the toothbrush (Frandsen 1986; Jepsen 1998; Paraskevas et al. 2006; Buunk- Werkhoven et al. 2010). People often do not brush their teeth effectively and may still have large amounts of plaque on their teeth despite brushing once a day (van der Weijden & Slot 2011).

Toothpaste appears to play a small role in mechanically removing plaque, but it can continue to be used for other beneficial aspects, and by far the most common ingredient in toothpaste is various forms of fluoride. Fluoride toothpaste has been widely used for decades and remains the primary intervention for preventing dental caries (Pader 1988; Marinho et al. 2003; Benzian et al. 2012).

Teeth stain

The abrasives in toothpaste do play a role in removing staining from the outside of the teeth (Vallotton 1945). Without abrasives, teeth often become stained (Davis 1980). However, different levels of abrasiveness do not appear to affect plaque removal (Pader 1988; Mankodi et al. 1998; Paraskevas et al. 2006). This finding is also supported by a report from the ADA’s Science Division (ADA 2001), which acknowledged that “plaque removal is minimally related to abrasives.” The effectiveness of plaque removal during toothbrushing appears to depend primarily on the level of contact of the toothbrush bristles rather than the action of the abrasives in the toothpaste (Creeth et al., 2009).

This systematic review concluded that using purple toothpaste does not enhance the cleaning ability of toothbrushes. This finding does not mean that toothpaste, which removes plaque, is not recommended, but toothpaste provides a fresh mouthfeel and pleasant flavor that makes brushing an acceptable or even enjoyable experience for some people ( Pader 1988). A significant number of people would not brush their teeth if toothpaste was not available (Dudding et al. 1960).

Dental associations such as the American Dental Association (ADA) recommend brushing twice daily with fluoride toothpaste (ADA 2015a). This strategy is now part of the daily hygiene routine of most people in Western society (van der Weijden & Slot 2011) and is probably the most important and cost-effective way to maintain or improve oral health (Rosema et al. 2013).

We understand that toothpaste will not help remove dental plaque. The purpose is to reduce dependence on toothpaste and pay more attention to the correct brushing method and choice of brushing tools. purple Toothpaste has different effects based on different additives.

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