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Dentists: Home remedies cannot replace toothpastes
For oral hygiene, it is not only important to brush your teeth regularly, but also to use a high quality toothpaste. According to health experts, self-made toothpastes are not an adequate substitute.
Brushing your teeth protects against tooth decay
Regular brushing is the most effective measure to efficiently prevent gum infections, toothache and tooth decay. Among other things, it depends on the right technology. According to dentists, shaking and painting is particularly useful. The quality of the toothpaste used is also important for proper oral hygiene. An expert explains what is important for toothpastes.
Focus on improving dental health
As the University of Witten / Herdecke wrote in a statement, recommendations on how to make toothpaste yourself at home in order to avoid plastic waste have recently been increasingly given on the Internet and in social media.
"We at the German Society for Preventive Dentistry (DGPZM) consider the goal of plastic reduction to be an important social concern and support it," said Prof. Dr. Stefan Zimmer from the University of Witten / Herdecke, President of the German Society for Preventive Dentistry DGPZM.
"We therefore ask toothpaste manufacturers to switch to alternative packaging e.g. switching from renewable raw materials or at least recyclable raw materials, ”explains the specialist.
"As a scientific society for preventive dentistry, we primarily focus on ensuring and improving the dental health of the population and therefore would like to emphasize the importance of toothpastes for their health, the composition of which is scientifically justified and the effectiveness of which has been proven in many international studies," says Zimmer .
Brush your teeth twice a day
As stated in the communication, the twice daily use of fluoride toothpastes makes a decisive contribution to the prevention of caries.
According to the information, if the toothpaste is selected correctly, it can prevent 40 to 50 percent of tooth decay, simply by contact with the teeth.
The effect of removing the plaque is added.
“The development of such high-performance toothpastes has taken place over a decades-long process of constant optimization. The use of old home remedies is not an adequate substitute for it, ”says Prof. Zimmer.
Toothpaste should contain fluoride
The most important caries preventive ingredient in toothpaste is fluoride. According to the experts, the mechanism of caries protection is based on the direct contact of the fluoride with the teeth, preventing the loss of minerals from the tooth structure.
This “demineralization” occurs with almost every food intake, since bacteria on the tooth surface break down sugar into acids, which in turn can extract minerals from the tooth surface.
Fluoride promotes the re-storage of minerals that have already been lost. Therefore, toothpaste should definitely contain fluoride.
"As far as we know, recipes for self-mixing, as currently given in the public media, do not contain any fluoride and cannot effectively protect against caries," explains Prof. Zimmer.
Foaming agents promote gum health
Foaming agents improve the cleaning effect of a toothpaste and provide a feeling of freshness that motivates to brush the teeth longer and therefore better.
There is also scientific evidence that foaming agents in a toothpaste promote gum health.
However, a concentration of two percent should not be exceeded. Common products on the German market do not exceed this limit.
Abrasive materials (hard material grains) are important for cleaning the teeth, but at the same time they must not wear them out too much. Here the type and amount of abrasives, but also the particle size, play a decisive role.
Too much abrasive in a toothpaste that is not adapted to the overall mixture can lead to increased abrasion of tooth substance.
Under the conditions of self-mixing at home, it can quickly happen that wrong and too much abrasive substances get into the toothpaste.
Sludge chalk - calcium carbonate - is also used, for example, in conventional toothpastes as an abrasive, but during the manufacturing process, attention is paid to a uniform grain size and a constant concentration in the toothpaste in order to avoid tooth damage to users.
"Compliance with such quality requirements can hardly be guaranteed when manufacturing under domestic conditions," says Prof. Zimmer.
There used to be toothpastes with microplastics
Other ingredients of contemporary toothpaste prevent bacterial plaque, bleeding gums, sensitive tooth necks, tartar and unpleasant bad breath.
"You shouldn't do without all these important effects," says Zimmer.
"The circulating recipes for making toothpaste yourself are old house recipes, the effectiveness of which has not been proven and from which, according to the recognized state of knowledge, no effectiveness can be expected," says the expert.
Toothpastes are often mentioned as an example in connection with microplastics. In fact, until about ten years ago there were isolated products that contained plastic particles as abrasives. Nowadays there is no toothpaste in Germany that contains microplastics.
Environmentally friendly toothbrushes
In addition to good toothpaste, the right toothbrush is also part of an optimized oral hygiene.
According to Prof. Zimmer, natural products such as miswak (branches of the toothbrush tree) or natural bristles are not a good alternative.
The teeth cannot be adequately cleaned with them and they are also hygienically unsafe because they offer hiding places for bacteria, viruses and fungi.
"However, environmentally friendly alternatives are also in sight here. The first products based on bioplastics made from renewable raw materials are already available, ”said the expert. (ad)