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A new trend among the naturopath community
Posted: 09 September 2014 04:50 AM   [ Ignore ]
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A new trend among the naturopath community is to replace simple tooth brushing with a practice called oil pulling.  The naturists have embraced the idea and reports of oil pulling are now all over the internet.  You can read one account right here.My next thought is “Why?”  Why would someone want to replace brushing their teeth with oil pulling? If it’s to be rid of toothpaste, just be rid of toothpaste.  There are plenty of studies that show that brushing without toothpaste is just as effective in breaking up plaque as brushing with toothpaste is. Toothpaste really just adds some flavor, freshens breath and serves as a carrier for medicaments like sodium fluoride (which I fully support).  If you want to “go natural” please keep brushing.  Just do it without paste.  Brushing takes 2 minutes and has been proven to be the only consistent way to break up the tough plaque biofilm.  Why spend 20 minutes of your life, twice a day, swishing with oil when you can have a better outcome in only 2 minutes?  Try swishing with some water for 2 minutes. Your jaw muscles will get tired and sore pretty quickly. Autoclave Sterilizer 20 minutes seems like total agony.  I know that I could not complete it.  I have a hard enough time getting my patients to spend two minutes twice a day brushing and one minute flossing.  Forgive my skepticism in thinking that people will actually oil pull for 20 minutes twice a day.


Colgate struck with a mighty blow in the late 90’s with the introduction of Colgate Total. Still going strong today, Colgate Total is the first toothpaste to apply and receive FDA approval for treatment of gingivitis.  It was a big deal when it happened and still today remains the only FDA approved toothpaste for treatment of gingivitis.  The active ingredient is an antibacterial called triclosan along with a co-polymer that lets it’s effects sustain in the mouth for around 12 hours.  Triclosan is very well studied and has extensive scientific literature supporting its effectiveness. 

Crest struck back with their Pro-Health line of products.  Crest Pro-Health uses stannous fluoride instead of sodium fluoride like Colgate Total and most other toothpastes.  Stannous fluoride uses the element tin to bind the fluoride.  A side effect of this is that it can stain your teeth.  Sometimes badly.  In addition, some patients can get some sloughing of their gums (where the thin surface layer peels away).  Though gum sloughing is generally not harmful, it can be alarming and can cause an increased sensitivity to spices. 

Triclosan has become a point of contention in the battle between Crest and Colgate.  dental implant machine Colgate currently holds the patent so no other toothpastes can use it until that patent expires.  Crest has gone on the offensive by launching a triclosan “smear campaign.”  The FDA has recently recommended that triclosan hand washes be studied further for their effectiveness.  Crest Pro-Health packaging now has seals proclaiming it to be “triclosan-free!” 

As a man of science, I feel that the literature supports the use of triclosan in toothpastes.  Studies have shown over and over that it is effective at reducing gingivitis.  Because of the staining and sloughing issues, I can not say that Crest Pro-Health is a product I recommend.  I recommend and use Colgate Total.  The science says its a better product.  For my patients, they deserve recommendations based on scientific literature.  Colgate Total offers that.

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