Oral hygiene measures are an important part of our daily lives to maintain our health. As a child I remember my father advising me that he had to use a combination of salt and soot, to clean his teeth. So I felt lucky to be able to use toothpaste. I have used toothpaste ever since because what is the alternative?
Most toothpastes are sold as a semi liquid gel or paste and some are sold as a powder or in tablet form.
More and more we are seeing tablets becoming available. I thought it would be good to look at these to see what is available. There are a mixture of products out there but the main thing to look out for is that they should contain fluoride. Unfortunately many so called healthy toothpaste products don’t contain fluoride. These are marketed as based on Wellness etc. If there is no fluoride, this is the one most important ingredient that we use toothpaste for and renders the paste a thing to just make the mouth taste different and is less safe for dental health than normal fluoridated toothpaste . Tooth decay is one of the most common diseases in the world and simply placing fluoride in the water supply reduces this by 50%. Toothpastes with Fluoride in further reduce the incidence of what can be an extremely painful problem.
So we need to use something. Tablets are becoming more popular because they can be sold in a reusable jar. Many companies selling tablets are not testing them on animals and do not use plastics within the recipe. Toothpastes often contain ingredients based on palm oil which adds to the problem of deforestation, are packaged in single use plastic tubes which take 100s of years to dissolve and millions of tubes are placed in landfill sites annually.
The Ellen MacArthur Foundation have said that by 2050 there will be more plastics in the ocean than fish. Each time we spit out toothpastes that use plastics, we are adding to this problem. By using a toothpaste tablet made locally we can reduce our carbon footprint. We can also reduce the number of plastics being added to our environment.
Many companies offer products on the basis that the tablets are sold as 62 tablets in a jar. You can then use 2 per day and they will last a month. Subscriptions for refills vary but many are in the £5 to £8 per month range. Combining this with a good bamboo brush will do another small thing that will help us to protect our planet.
The problem is that there is very little scientific data to back up any claims that tooth brushing with a tablet or with paste is better or worse for our teeth. If you decide to try tablets, it is worth having a chat with your dentist or with your orthodontist so that they can give you their opinion and watch your oral health if you use them.
Just worth bearing in mind that if you have a fixed brace on, biting into a tablet could risk damage to your brace. So worth looking for a tablet that dissolves well. Still, use a brush and don’t swallow the tablet because this would give you a very high dose of fluoride.
I found this article a useful read: https://www.theguardian.com/fashion/2021/feb/15/down-the-tubes-should-you-brush-your-teeth-with-toothpaste-tablets