Powder or Paste?

What Should You Put on Your Toothbrush?

The dental industry is no stranger to people wanting alternative methods for oral care. Many people love to try alternative, homegrown, and organic options in taking care of their teeth and gums. Don’t like flossing? Try an interdental brush. Problems with electric toothbrushes? Have a go with the toothbrush tree. Can’t stand the taste of mouthwash? Use a small bit of hydrogen peroxide (but avoid swallowing it). When it comes to toothpaste, there’s an enormous variety of alternatives you can attempt. One such option is tooth powder. What is tooth powder, and how does it measure up to toothpaste?

The Difference Between Pastes and Powders

The main difference between tooth powder and toothpaste is their consistency. Tooth powders are meant to be dry, and typically do not contain a cavity-fighting ingredient like fluoride, which helps with the remineralization of tooth enamel. Tooth powders need moisture added to do their job, often from a dab of water or your saliva. Tooth powders can be made at home with things like baking soda, charcoal powder, flavorings, and instructions from online sources. You can also find a handful of premade versions available on the internet. Such mixtures, however, run the risk of being unbalanced and too abrasive for teeth.

Toothpaste usually has ingredients with liquid components, and that makes them easier to use. Most toothpastes have the Seal of Acceptance from the American Dental Association (ADA). Ordinary toothpastes provide options for whitening teeth, reducing plaque, or preventing gingivitis. It can also be formulated to help with sensitive teeth. Toothpaste is also more readily available than tooth powders.
Interestingly, the use of tooth powders is older than toothpaste. Ancient Greeks and Romans used versions of tooth powders that included charcoal or ash mixed with ground up bones, hooves or other ingredients to provide abrasion. The first versions of toothpaste became available around 1850, and powders eventually faded from notice. Developers also found adding and balancing ingredients in toothpaste more manageable than with its powdery ancestor.

Are Tooth Powders Effective Cleaners?

The ADA and the Placerville Dental Group recommend that you brush your teeth for two minutes, twice a day. Nearly all the studies confirming the importance of tooth brushing have featured toothpaste. There haven’t been many studies that compare tooth powder and toothpaste. Even so, there are research suggestions that tooth powder was more effective for removing surface stains on teeth and controlling plaque-induced gingivitis. But it’s important to look at the whole picture — no tooth powder has approval by dental authorities like the ADA at this time, and powders generally do not carry as many beneficial ingredients to your oral health.

Check with Dental Experts about Tooth Powders

To find out what is the best product to put on your toothbrush for your teeth and gums, please contact the Placerville Dental Group. You can do so during a convenient office visit, so call us by phone, or fill out our convenient online form, to create an appointment for a consultation and dental exam. Our years training, decades, of experience, and knowledge of your individual circumstances give us valuable insight on what product would be best for your dental care. We’re happy to help your find just the right toothpaste — or powder — to keep you smiling wide.


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