This may sound silly, but it ought to have a factual answer. Does toothpaste actually do anything. Would I do worse just to use plain water and brush well?
Until a more authoritative answer comes along, what I’ve heard is that it’s the brushing, not the toothpaste, that’s of primary importance, but the advantages to using toothpaste are
(1) the fluoride strengthens your teeth
(2) the abrasives in the paste help the brushing to clean your teeth better
(3) the taste makes brushing more pleasant (ETA: and helps to freshen your breath)
I left my toothpaste at my sisters on a recent trip and have forgotten to pick some more up. I was brushing without it but when I go in the wife’s cupboard and use hers my mouth feels a LOT cleaner. I think it is actually cleaner too.
I believe it is comparable to the difference of using soap or not.
I think the main thing toothpaste does is lower the acidity of the mouth. Tooth decay happens when the mouth is very acidic so the toothpaste inhibits decay by making less acidic.
I believe some people use baking soda as an alternative to toothpaste.
It’s good for getting pine sap off your hands. Also makes a decent polish for metal and stone. And if they still make Stripe, that was cool to watching it come out of the tube.
From what I’ve read, the primary purpose of toothpaste is better “mouth feel,” whatever that means.
Personally, I think the biggest advantage of toothpaste is that it maintains a wet slurry in your mouth, and thus negates the need to rewet your toothbrush all the time. (If you don’t use toothpaste, you will need to wet your brush five or six times while brushing.)
In addition to abrasives and flavoring, toothpastes also contain foaming agent(s) which will help keep gunk brushed off of your teeth from redepositing on the teeth or other parts of your mouth. This results in a cleaner feel and less stuff for decay bacteria to munch on.
Any value in toothpaste?
Apparently it’s essential the FNGs fully understand its value if they want to survive their time in The Nam. NOW BRUSH YOUR TEETH IN A RAPID VERTICAL MOTION, TROOP!
My dentist advised me to alternate between paste and gel toothpastes. He said I should give my teeth a break from the abrasive ingredients in the paste.
Plain white toothpaste works very well to polish the cloudy lenses on car headlights.
I have started using a toothpaste that contains xylitol (a sugar alcohol) after my kids dentist gave us a bunch of stuff about it. It seems it leaves a coating on the teeth that prevents bacterial growth. Since using it I notice that a I have no morning film on my teeth anymore.
I heard that it’s a good idea to sometimes use a dryish brush with no paste on your teeth, or just rinse and then brush again.
Also, jtur88, it gets small scratches out of helmet visors but I have no idea how.
Toothpaste can be used to clear up spots. Apply overnight.
Toothpaste is a mild base, and it helps cool down your mouth after eating something spicy.
Toothpaste can also be applied to bug bites. As can Clorox. I wonder if it is because toothpaste is a base.
Mainly, it cleans the teeth, but not a lot better than just brushing or brushing with salt or baking soda. If it doesnt have Florine, you might as well get some mint flavored baking soda.
OTHO, toothpaste often contains SLS, aka sodium lauryl sulfate, which can cause canker sores aka aphthous ulcers in the mouth and adds nothing whatsoever to the dental value of toothpaste. It does make it foam.
If you get canker sores a lot, switch to a toothpaste that does not contain SLS. Note that the so-called “natural” Toms products often contain SLS. Biotene does not and also has positive proven dental benefits.
Good to know about pine sap! Thanks! And, while Stripe seems to be gone, they do still make varieties of striped toothpaste. I use Colgate, which comes out with dark blue/light blue stripes.
It’s a fine abrasive, suitable for polishing.
Not a direct answer, but here’s some comments from Cecil on toothpaste.