Not Just Mint: Are Flavored Toothpaste Good for Your Teeth?
Are you tempted by wasabi or bacon-flavored toothpaste? Unusual flavors are becoming more popular as toothpaste manufacturers expand their offerings. Uncommon flavors can make brushing a more enjoyable experience if you or your kids don't like mint flavored toothpaste, but there are a few things you need to keep in mind before choosing a new flavor.
Does Toothpaste Flavor Really Matter?
Toothpaste helps your toothbrush glide over your teeth easily and contains abrasives that dislodge plaque, a bacterial film responsible for cavities. Consistent use of the paste is the most important factor in oral hygiene. As long as you brush twice every day, you'll remove plaque and food particles from your teeth, no matter what flavor you use.
The length of time you spend brushing your teeth is the most important factor in plaque reduction. According to a study published in the Summer 2009 issue of the Journal of Dental Hygiene, plaque was reduced by 26 percent when research participants brushed for 120 seconds rather than 45 seconds. Brushing for 180 seconds eliminated 55 percent more plaque than brushing for just 30 seconds.
Are There Any Disadvantages to Brushing with Flavored Toothpaste?
Some flavored toothpastes don't contain fluoride, an ingredient that helps you avoid tooth decay. Fluoride, a natural mineral added to water supplies and toothpaste, remineralizes weak areas of your tooth enamel damaged by acids. Brushing your teeth regularly with fluoridated toothpaste can repair damage and prevent cavities from ever forming.
Before you buy the cupcake, chocolate, eggplant, or rose-flavored pastes, take a look at the list of ingredients. If the toothpaste doesn't include fluoride, you may be putting your oral health at risk.
Your friends may not be quite as enthusiastic about your toothpaste as you are if you choose some of the more unique flavors like bacon, pickle, curry, or Scotch. Although the toothpaste might taste good to you, your breath may not smell very fresh after brushing.
Should I Use Kids' Toothpaste If I Don't Like Mint?
Bubblegum, strawberry, watermelon and other children's toothpaste flavors can be more appealing if you don't like mint or other strong flavors. In fact, you may share something in common with the younger generation if you think that traditional toothpaste flavors are too strong.
As you age, the number of the taste buds in your tongue decreases. As a result, you may find strong or spicy flavors more appealing than you did when you were younger. If you're an adult and still don't like mint and other common toothpaste flavors, you may have more active taste buds than your friends.
Brushing with children's toothpaste may seem like a good idea if you don't like strong flavors, but these products contain lower amounts of fluoride. Mildly flavored toothpaste that contains adequate fluoride levels can be bought online if you can't find them in local stores.
Can Wasabi and Other Toothpaste Flavors Really Help My Teeth?
Japanese scientists discovered that eating wasabi slows the growth of the bacteria that causes cavities. Since eating the spicy horseradish paste was helpful, adding wasabi to toothpaste was the logical next step. While using wasabi toothpaste could potentially be helpful, it's not clear if the products contain enough wasabi to make a difference.
Charcoal toothpaste has also become a popular option in recent years due to its ability to whiten teeth slightly and neutralize acids that cause cavities. Because the toothpaste is very abrasive, it can irritate gums and wear away the enamel layer of your teeth, exposing the darker dentin layer underneath. It's best to limit charcoal toothpaste use to one or two times per week to avoid these problems.
Cinnamon offers a natural way to kill bacteria and reduce inflammation in your mouth. Some people who brush with cinnamon toothpaste develop mucus membrane irritation, although the problem is more likely to occur if you use a homemade cinnamon powder.
No matter what type of flavored toothpaste you choose, it's important to ensure that your teeth receive the fluoride they need. Using a mouthwash that contains fluoride can be helpful if your toothpaste doesn't contain fluoride or only offers small amounts of the mineral. Look for alcohol-free mouthwashes that won't burn your mouth or cause dry mouth.
Whether you have questions about the best toothpaste types or need to schedule a checkup, we can help. Call us to arrange your next dental appointment.
Journal of Dental Hygiene: The Effect of Brushing Time and Dentrifice on Dental Plaque Removal in vivo, Summer 2009
Scientific American: Wasabi Toothpaste?, 12/15/2000
Reader’s Digest: The Hidden Dangers of Using Your Kid’s Toothpaste
Medline Plus: Aging Changes in the Senses
Los Angeles Dental Society: Alternative Toothpastes Are a Thing – But Do They Work?