As an everyday household essential we typically take for granted, most people don’t give a great deal of thought to the humble tube of toothpaste. Instead, they simply reach for whichever paste they prefer and get the job done. Used in conjunction with a high-quality mouthwash and a dentist-recommended electric toothbrush, toothpaste can be quite an extraordinary product.
Nevertheless, evidence would seem to suggest that there are countless myths and misconceptions regarding toothpaste that are still doing the rounds today. In fact, the overwhelming majority of people have been led to believe things about toothpaste that simply aren’t true. Some of which have the potential to be more harmful than others.
So with this in mind, what follows is a brief overview of just a few interesting myths and facts regarding this essential everyday lifestyle product:
Whitening paste = white teeth within a week
First up, it’s actually quite remarkable how some of the biggest names in toothpaste get away with such misleading marketing. You’ll have no doubt come across thousands of these messages yourself – suggestions that after just a couple of days with a whitening paste, you’ll be looking at the kind of teeth that belong on a Hollywood red carpet. In reality, there isn’t a whitening toothpaste in the world that can create this kind of effect. Even if used long-term, whitening toothpastes simply aren’t powerful enough to get the job done as these marketing messages indicate. While it’s perfectly possible for a quality whitening paste to help prevent or reduce surface stains, the difference is always somewhat negligible. If you think you can rely on whitening pastes alone to get the job done, you can think again!
Higher price = better results
This is a myth that perpetuates across the health and beauty industry as a whole. Logically, you’d assume that in order to take home the best possible toothpaste, you’d need to pay a relatively high price. By contrast, opt for something on the cheaper side of the scale and you can only expect substandard performance as a result. In reality, the vast majority of everyday toothpastes on the market contain very similar – if not identical – lists of ingredients. Of course, some will feature all manner of weird and wonderful components that don’t actually do anything of any real value at all. As such, it’s a case of being wary of gimmicks and sticking with what dentists recommend. Paying £7 for a tube of toothpaste doesn’t guarantee better results – it simply guarantees less money in your pocket!
Gel pastes are better pastes
Pretty as they may be in some cases, gel pastes are absolutely no different to any other pastes. The reason being that the formulation is usually identical, only without the addition of calcium carbonate and titanium dioxide which give regular pastes their white colour. And while on the subject, tooth powder likewise doesn’t represent a more effective product than standard toothpastes. It may get the job done, but isn’t the most convenient or hygienic way of cleaning and caring for your teeth.
Adult toothpastes are fine for kids
Some of them are, but it depends entirely on which toothpaste you are talking about and the age of the child in question. There are certain adult toothpastes that are perfectly fine for children of a certain age, just as other adult toothpastes should never be used by kids. It’s not a particularly difficult puzzle to solve – every tube of toothpaste carries its own recommendations and guidelines, with regard to who should and shouldn’t be using it. Needless to say, these guidelines are provided for a reason. If the formula is too strong or simply unsuitable for kids, you could end up doing more harm than good.
The more toothpaste you use, the better
Again, this is a myth that stems from misleading and generally questionable marketing campaigns. Take a look at any toothpaste advert and you’ll no doubt see a huge strip of the stuff being applied to the entire length of the toothbrush. In reality, dentists recommend using no more than a pea-sized amount – or 50% in the case of children. Adding more paste to your brush doesn’t make any difference whatsoever to the effectiveness of the final result. If anything, excess paste can actually be harmful as it may leave potentially dangerous levels of certain residues in your mouth after brushing. Suggesting you need to use more is simply a way of ensuring you buy more toothpaste on a regular basis – a classic marketing strategy not to fall for.
You should change your toothpaste on a regular basis
It’s often suggested that in order to maintain the highest possible oral health and hygiene standard, you need to regularly change your toothpaste. Something to do with your teeth and gums eventually getting ‘used to’ a certain brand and type of toothpaste, after which its beneficial effects are reduced. Irrespective of where this myth came from, it is complete and utter nonsense. Just as long as you use a high-quality toothpaste recommended by dentists, it doesn’t matter in the slightest which toothpaste you use or how often you switch to a different toothpaste. If you like it and it gets the job done, feel free to stick with it for as long as you like.
Charcoal toothpaste is the next big thing
Last but not least, there’s quite a lot of hype right now surrounding a new wave of toothpastes containing activated charcoal. According to those producing said products, activated charcoal represents no less than revolution in removing stains and contributing to whiter teeth. Indeed, there are quite a lot of people who already swear by these comparatively expensive products. In reality however, insufficient time has passed for any real research to be carried out into the effectiveness of charcoal toothpaste. While there’s nothing to suggest it is in any way harmful, there’s also nothing to suggest it justifies its super-premium price-tag. So for the time being at least, you might want to save your money and go for something a little more tried and tested.