Is Brushing Your Teeth Still Effective If You Have Run Out of Toothpaste?

Posted on: 20 February 2018

If you run out of toothpaste but don't have time to purchase another tube, don't worry. Although brushing with toothpaste is more beneficial than brushing without it, you should still continue to brush your teeth morning and night—until you can purchase some more.

But, you may now be wondering what the point of toothpaste is if you can still brush without it. Although brushing with water achieves the basic aim of oral hygiene, which is to remove dental plaque, toothpaste offers several benefits that water does not.

Most Toothpastes Contain Fluoride

Fluoride, a mineral that can be found in just about every body of water on Earth, helps to protect your teeth from tooth decay. It does this by bonding with other compounds in your mouth, such as calcium, to form a protective layer on the surface of your teeth.

Although the water you drink may also contain fluoride, applying fluoride directly to the surface of your teeth with a toothbrush is more effective than simply drinking it.  

Toothpastes Contain Abrasives

Unlike tap water, toothpaste contains abrasives. These tiny grains, which are sometimes made from sand, help you to remove food debris, plaque and stains from the surface of your teeth while brushing.

Some toothpastes are designed especially to remove stains from teeth. Thus, these toothpastes typically contain a higher concentration of abrasives.

Some Toothpastes Help With Sensitivity

There are also many toothpastes that are designed to reduce sensitivity in teeth. These toothpastes contain minerals such as potassium nitrate and strontium chloride, which work by filling and sealing off the tiny tubules within the dentin layer of teeth. The effect, however, is not instant. You may need to brush for a week or two to allow these minerals to do their job.

Toothpaste Keeps Your Breath Fresh

The most obvious benefit of toothpaste is that it helps to keep your breath fresh. This quality makes brushing more pleasurable and also comes in useful when training children to brush their teeth.

Water and a Tooth Brush is Still Effective

Since the main objective of brushing your teeth is to remove the bio-film (plaque) that builds up on your teeth over time, brushing with water is better than not brushing at all. The bristles of a toothbrush can also reach into the spaces between teeth and this makes using a toothbrush more effective than simply using your finger or wadded tissue.

If you run out of toothpaste, brush anyway. Plaque contains tooth decay-causing bacteria and so by removing it, you help to protect your teeth from tooth decay. Talk to a dentist for more information.