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New Tooth Brushing Technique and Toothpaste Offers 4 Times More Cavity and Plaque Protection

Tim Boyer's picture

Researchers from the Sahlgrenska Academy at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden have discovered that by massaging the gums with a high-fluoride toothpaste that the war against cavities and plague-causing gum disease could be over for many people.

One of the most proven effective tactics against cavities and plaque formation has been the recommended use of low concentrations of fluoride in drinking water and in toothpastes. However, researchers have recently posed the question of whether the protective abilities of fluoride could be increased by finding an easy way to increase fluoride retention. To increase fluoride retention, the researchers decided to have volunteer test subjects try a variety of tooth brushing techniques using both standard and a high-fluoride toothpaste.

In the study 16 volunteers were put through six tooth brushing regimens using both a standard fluoride toothpaste with a concentration of 1450 parts per million (ppm) and a new high-fluoride toothpaste with a fluoride concentration of 5000 ppm.

Tooth brushing frequency was either 2 or 3 times a day. Furthermore, a novel massaging method was also tested where the study participants would rub the high-fluoride toothpaste onto the inside buccal (cheek) areas of the mouth using their fingertips.

The six tooth brushing regimens were as follows:

(1) 5000 ppm Fluoride; twice a day
(2) 5000 ppm Fluoride; 3-times/day
(3) 5000 ppm Fluoride; twice a day, plus the ‘massage' method once a day
(4) 1450 ppm Fluoride; twice a day
(5) 1450 ppm Fluoride; 3-times/day
(6) 1450 ppm Fluoride; twice a day, plus the ‘massage' method once a day.

After each tooth brushing technique, the researchers measured the Fluoride retention in plaque, saliva and the plaque-pH change after a sucrose rinse was performed following the brushing.

What the researchers found was that:

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• The highest fluoride concentration was found using high-fluoride toothpaste (regimens 1–3) and differed significantly from those with 1450 ppm (regimens 4–6).

• Brushing with high-fluoride toothpaste 3-times a day (regimen 2) resulted in a 3.6-4 times higher fluoride saliva value compared with standard toothpaste twice a day (regimen 4).

• Increasing the frequency of application, from twice to 3-times per day, increased the Fluoride retention in plaque significantly.

• Brushing with the 5000 and 1450 ppm toothpastes twice a day plus the ‘massage' once a day (regimens 3 and 6) resulted in the same fluoride concentrations in saliva and plaque as did when brushing 3-times a day with the same paste.

The researchers concluded from these results that a third daily tooth brushing significantly increases fluoride retention by as much as four times.

"The study revealed that those who used a high-fluoride toothpaste three times a day had four times better fluoride protection in the mouth than those who used standard toothpaste twice a day," says researcher Anna Nordström from the Institute of Odontology at the Sahlgrenska Academy.

The researchers also concluded that using the massage method may be a simple and inexpensive way of delivering fluoride a third time during the day.

"This 'massage' method proved to be at least as effective as a third brushing in increasing the amount of fluoride in the mouth," says Anna Nordström. "Rubbing the front of your teeth with toothpaste can be an easy way of giving your teeth a third "shot" of fluoride during the day, after lunch for example. But this should not replace brushing with a fluoride toothpaste morning and evening—it's an extra."

Image Source: Courtesy of MorgueFile

Reference: “Effect of a third application of toothpastes (1450 and 5000 ppm F), including a ‘massage' method on fluoride retention and pH drop in plaque” Acta Odontologica Scandinavica, 2012; Anna Nordström and Dowen Birkhed.