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News / September 27, 2016

EFP defends use of toothpaste while brushing

by Guy Hiscott

A recent review has found that toothbrushing alone may be just as effective as toothbrushing with toothpaste to remove plaque.

It found that there is ‘moderate certainty that toothbrushing with a toothpaste does not provide an added effect for the mechanical removal of dental plaque’.

The European Federation of Periodontology (EFP) has responded, adding that there is ‘overwhelming evidence’ that brushing teeth with toothpaste provides an added benefit.

It states: ‘There is no doubt that mechanical toothbrushing twice daily provides vital health benefits and that the toothpaste itself may not add to that mechanical removal.

‘However, it is also essential to appreciate that toothpastes also carry other active ingredients, such as fluoride, anti-halitosis agents (good mouth smell), and anti-bacterial agents that may kill bacteria in the plaque.’


Dublin periodontist Dr Richard Lee Kin commented on the recent findings, saying: ‘Clinicians need to be objective when reviewing the evidence. As a periodontist, biofilm management is critical. Toothpaste encourages plaque removal and my concerns would be that this type of publication could lead to a deterioration in oral hygiene care, particularly in the most vulnerable.

‘I would continue to recommend toothpaste use during toothbrushing due to the many other beneficial properties and actions of toothpaste.’

The EFP adds that it does not recommend brushing teeth without toothpaste, ‘due to the many other beneficial properties and actions of toothpaste use.’

At the time of writing, the systematic review paper was waiting to be published in the Journal of Clinical Periodontology.