Bits and Bites
A celebration of Oral Hygiene

Oral Exams
Test your dental advertising IQ

Look Ma, No Cavities
A Bite-size history of brushing your teeth

Tooth and Lies
All about toothpaste

Pulling for You
Whole pop dentists' hall of fame and more

Bad Breath
Yours and your dog's

Coming Extractions
Dentists in the movies

Strangers in Dentifrice
From Shanghai to Ceylon to Switzerland

 Tooth and Lies
All about toothpaste

There are a lot of claims about toothpastes and mouthwashes. Consumers’ Union and other research groups have debunked a lot of the obviously bogus ones, but even now assumptions and false claims abound. Let’s go through what’s known so far:

Fluoride Really hardens teeth and prevents cavities. Buy it.

Whitening toothpastes Works only in the sense that a dishrag will whiten your dishes...if you have white dishes. CR found no whitening in any toothpaste making that claim. Only method that works? Bleaching by dentists.

Tartar Control Works, sort of. Doesn’t take existing tartar off, but absorbs minerals in your saliva that could collect on your teeth.

Desensitizing Works sometimes, if you have pain or sensitivity from receding gums. But not if you have pain from cavities, tooth-grinding, etc....which are the sources of most dental pain.

Hydrogen peroxide Doesn’t do any good. In fact, may add more problems with decay and bad breath by drying mouth. Same with the alcohol in mouthwashes.

Triclosan Found in Colgate Total and other pastes: Cautious yes, seems to keep killing decay germs for hours after brushing.

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