We recently talked about research showing that hearing your toothbrush could help you do a better job at cleaning your teeth. But how much of a difference would seeing the plaque make?
A big difference, according to a new study of toothpaste containing plaque-revealing dye.
A Corporate Study
Before we get too far into describing this study and its results, it’s important to note that it’s a corporate study, the epitome of biased research. Although the researchers declared that they have no conflicting or financial interest, the manufacturer of the new toothpaste donated the research materials, likely encouraged the study, and helped secure its publication, which occurred in a low-quality journal. And it’s worth noting that the University of Illinois at Chicago doesn’t seem to be promoting the study, just the toothpaste manufacturer.
But that doesn’t mean we have to discard the results of the study, just view them with caution.
Significantly Better Cleaning
The study took 31 adult participants and randomly assigned them to one of two groups. The control group used a generic fluoride-containing toothpaste before two different visits to the dentist. The experimental group used the same generic toothpaste before the first visit and the new dye-containing toothpaste, called Plaque HD, before their second visit.
To determine how well the participants cleaned their teeth, they were all asked to refrain from brushing their teeth for at least 12 hours before their visit. Then they were asked to rinse with fluorescein, which bonds with dental plaque, causing it to fluoresce (glow) under ultraviolet (UV) light. Then a UV light was shone on the teeth, and digital images were taken. Using proprietary computer software, researchers calculated the amount of plaque on the teeth. They found that those who had used the toothpaste with dye reduced their plaque by over 51%, compared to just over 8% for those using the regular toothpaste.
Plaque Removal Is a Key to Healthy, Beautiful Teeth
Removing plaque from your teeth helps protect them from decay and discoloration. It also prevents the buildup of tartar along the gum line and helps you avoid gum disease, the leading cause of tooth loss. Although your regular dental checkups are vital to protecting your teeth, so is your daily hygiene routine, and seeing the plaque on your teeth can help you clean more effectively. This doesn’t mean you need special toothpaste–we can give you chewable tablets that will produce the same effect and allow you to check how well you’re doing.