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Regarding the research that backs its effectiveness, more studies cover the effects of toothpaste. Minimal research is available to compare the effects of toothpaste and tooth powder, so it’s difficult to call either product superior.
Toothpaste has continuously been proven effective at protecting against oral issues, which include:7,8,9,10
NewMouth recommends brushing your teeth with toothpaste with the ADA Seal of Acceptance. All toothpaste with the ADA Seal of Acceptance has provided scientific evidence proving the safety and efficacy of the paste.
The ADA Council on Scientific Affairs reviews all applications and determines acceptable products. Any toothpaste that contains flavoring agents that cause tooth decay is rejected.
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There is limited research that has compared toothpaste to powder. However, those published show mixed results on tooth powder’s overall effects on oral health.1,2,3,4,5,6
The main concerns regarding tooth powder are its abrasiveness and effectiveness at removing dental plaque. A buildup of plaque can lead to cavities and tooth decay.
A few studies showed that tooth powder might be too abrasive compared to normal fluoride toothpaste. This can result in dental erosion. However, its abrasiveness can effectively polish stains off the surfaces of teeth.4,5
The findings are mixed regarding tooth powder’s effectiveness at removing plaque. Some studies say toothpaste remains more effective, while others say results are comparable to toothbrush and paste.1,2,3,6
In the 1800s, it was common for people to use baking soda, chalk, or salt to remove mouth odor and polish teeth. Today, we call them tooth powder.
Tooth powder’s appeal includes:
Tooth powders can be purchased from manufacturers or made at home. Common ingredients include:
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Like toothpaste, various kinds of tooth powder are available on the market. Each tooth powder caters to different preferences and oral care needs.
Some common types of tooth powder formulations include:
Remineralizing tooth powder contains ingredients that help remineralize tooth enamel. This can make your teeth stronger and more resistant to decay. Different ingredients’ combined enamel remineralization potential can help protect teeth from further damage.
Whitening tooth powder focuses on ingredients that whiten teeth. They may contain abrasive ingredients that gently whiten teeth and remove surface stains.
As the name suggests, natural tooth powder uses naturally derived ingredients. They won’t contain harsh chemicals and are generally safe for people with sensitive teeth.
Kids tooth powder is specifically formulated for young children. Since kids’ teeth are still growing, this tooth powder is safe for their developing teeth. This tooth powder may contain natural ingredients and be free from harsh chemicals or additives.
Toothpowder has not been studied as extensively as toothpaste. However, there have been a few studies that have examined the effectiveness of toothpowder.
Here’s what the science says:
Plaque is a sticky film from bacteria that forms on your teeth daily. When it builds up, it turns into tartar.
Three scientific studies have shown that tooth powder is equally or more effective at reducing plaque than toothpaste.1,2,3 This is likely due to the abrasive nature of tooth powders.
However, another study from 2018 compared traditional oral hygiene methods to toothpaste users. This study showed contrasting evidence to the other studies. It found that traditional methods, including tooth powder, were inferior in plaque control compared to toothpaste.5
These mixed results show that more evidence is needed to prove whether tooth powder is as effective as toothpaste at reducing plaque.
When plaque builds up on teeth, it can cause inflammation, pain, and infection in your gums. This can lead to gingivitis (early gum disease). If gingivitis goes untreated, it can turn into periodontitis (advanced gum disease).
Current scientific evidence shows that tooth powders may effectively reduce plaque and gum disease.1,2,3 However, more evidence is needed to determine whether tooth powder effectively controls gingivitis.
One study has shown that tooth powder efficiently removes extrinsic (surface) stains from your teeth.5 This study noted that the whitening effects of the tooth powder were greater than that of the toothpaste. However, the toothpaste was just a regular toothpaste, not a whitening toothpaste.
Tooth powder is likely an effective whitening agent due to its abrasive properties. But again, more research is needed to determine the effectiveness of tooth powder in removing stains from your teeth.
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The abrasiveness of tooth powder may help remove surface stains. However, it can also have negative effects on your teeth.
One study found that tooth powder can cause bleeding, gum loss, and damage to your enamel (tooth surface).4 Another study showed that tooth loss was higher in people who brushed with red tooth powder due to its high abrasiveness and chemical composition.5
There are both pros and cons of toothpowder:
Considering this product’s pros and cons can help determine whether tooth powder is right for you.
Tooth powder should be used the same as toothpaste. The only difference is that it needs moisture to spread over the surfaces of your teeth.
Here’s how you should use tooth powder:
Tooth powder has been used as an oral healthcare product for centuries. It’s an effective way to reduce plaque, control gum disease, and whiten teeth.
However, studies are concerned about its ability to cause gum bleeding, gum recession, enamel damage, and tooth loss. More studies are needed to prove claims for or against tooth powder.
In comparison, toothpaste is proven to protect against cavities, lessen tooth sensitivity, whiten teeth, reduce plaque, prevent gum disease and enamel erosion, and reduce bad breath.
NewMouth recommends brushing your teeth twice daily using toothpaste with the ADA Seal of Acceptance. You should also floss once daily and rinse your mouth with mouthwash to maintain a proper oral health care routine.
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Fresher breath, healthier gums, stronger teeth – find it all in 2024's best mouthwashes. Explore the top picks here.