Dental Care: The Best, Worst And Least Proven Tools To Take Care Of Your Teeth, University of Buffalo Study Finds
Study Suggests Interdental Brushes and Toothpicks Work Best at Preventing Gum Disease, Find No Extra Power in Electric Toothbrushes, List Best Mouthwashes, and More
BUFFALO, NY – Do Probiotics Prevent Gum Disease? Is dental floss necessary? Many patients are unable to confidently answer these questions and more due to the abundance of conflicting medical information. However, new research from the University of Buffalo aims to separate fact from fiction to determine which oral hygiene tools actually prevent gum disease.
The article, published in the October issue of Journal of the International Academy of Periodontology, examines the effectiveness of various oral hygiene devices.
The result: Only a handful of self-administered procedures offer additional protection against gingivitis and periodontitis beyond brushing teeth with a basic toothbrush. At present, all other oral hygiene interventions are supported only by insufficient evidence, says Frank Scannapieco, DMD, PhD, Principal Investigator and Chair and Professor of Oral Biology at the UB School of Dental Medicine.
The findings, he says, will help dental practitioners and the public identify best practices for preventing gum disease, which affects nearly half of adults aged 30 and older in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control. and Prevention (CDC).
âPatients can be confident that research-backed oral care tools and practices, as described in the article, will prevent the initiation and progression of periodontal disease, if performed consistently and correctly. Â», Explains Scannapieco.
Additional investigators include Eva Volman, DDS, first author, UB alumnus and resident dentist at the Eastman Institute for Oral Health; and Elizabeth Stellrecht, Acting Head of Health Sciences Library Services at UB.
âI hope this article consolidates the relevant evidence in a way that is comprehensive, readable, and particularly useful to all oral health professionals as well as to patients,â Volman said.
The proven: basic toothbrush; interdental brush; water pickaxe; mouthwash with chlorhexidine gluconate (CHX), cetylpyridinium chloride (CPC) and essential oils (Listerine)
Brushing your teeth is the cornerstone of daily oral hygiene and is a reliable way to control dental plaque, explains Scannapieco. And according to research, interdental brushes and toothpicks are more effective than other interdental oral hygiene devices in reducing gingivitis, and both should be used in combination with daily tooth brushing to prevent gum disease. .
Of the many mouthwashes reviewed, those based on CHX, CPC, and essential oils (such as Listerine) have been shown to be effective in significantly reducing plaque and gingivitis.
While not effective in fighting gingivitis, toothpicks were helpful in monitoring gum health, says Scannapieco. By gently pushing the gums with a toothpick and watching for bleeding, patients could detect signs of gum disease.
The bad: triclosan
Triclosan toothpastes and mouthwashes have dramatically reduced plaque and gingivitis, however, the compound is linked to the development of various types of cancers and reproductive disorders. Triclosan has been removed from the most popular toothpaste in the United States
What has not been proven: electric toothbrushes, dental floss, probiotics, food supplements and many mouthwashes
Electric toothbrushes are no more effective at reducing plaque and gingivitis than a basic toothbrush, the researchers found. And little evidence has been published to support flossing – the mainstay of interdental cleaning – for reducing plaque and gingivitis. But don’t throw your dental floss right away, says Scannapieco, because flossing is beneficial.
âWhile there are few studies available that have specifically looked at toothbrushes or dental floss alone, both are still essential. Flossing is especially useful for removing interdental plaque in people who have limited space between their teeth. Flossing also probably reduces the risk of cavities between the teeth, âexplains Scannapieco.
Investigators found insufficient evidence that mouthwashes made with tea tree oil, green tea, anti-inflammatory agents, hydrogen peroxide, sodium benzoate, stannous fluoride, d hexetidine or delmopinol reduced gingivitis.
The use of probiotics, while showing promise as a preventative strategy against gum disease, is unproven. Researchers have found little evidence to support the claim that dietary supplements improve gum health. Investigators also found insufficient evidence that professional plaque removal (called scaling, the process of removing plaque with a scraper) prevents gum disease.