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A London dentist talks about why patients shouldn’t see the new Oral-B Pro Expert toothpaste as the only weapon in their fight against plaque and tartar.

It looks much the same as any tube of toothpaste. It tastes much the same as any brand of toothpaste. But its manufacturers claim that it does far more than other toothpastes and it certainly costs a lot more than its big-brand rivals.

The new Oral-B Pro-Expert toothpaste, which launched at the start of July, has attracted much fresh attention. Manufacturers Proctor & Gamble know that health-conscious Brits are always on the look-out for ways to improve their dental appearance and dental health; hence the popularity of teeth whitening and clear braces such as Invisalign and Inman Aligner. London dentist Ethicare has received many samples of the new Oral-B toothpaste so I asked Dr. Glafcos Tombolis, who runs the practice, for his views on the new ‘wonder product’.

Question: What are your initial thoughts about the new Oral-B Pro Expert toothpaste?

Glafcos Tombolis: Well, firstly there’s a lot of it about; it’s been marketed heavily. At Ethicare, we’ve been given lots of samples by Oral-B. If anyone can’t find any they know where to come! As with any new dental product, it’s initially hard to verify whether the product does all it claims to do on the tin or the tube. Sorting out the claims which are marketing hype from the claims which are cold, scientific fact can be confusing. It’s too early to report any feedback from customers. Personally, I’m not that keen on the taste and of course I’m sceptical about anything which claims to be the world’s best toothpaste. But if it can improve dental care in any way then I’m all for it.

Q: News reports have focused on the toothpaste’s ‘vital’ ingredients polyphosphate, which whitens teeth and stops new stains building up. Many reviews have suggested no other toothpastes have polyphosphate. What are your views on this?

GT: It’s important to emphasise that polyphosphate is found in other toothpastes. In my experience, this isn’t a unique ingredient. Polyphosphate is used to prevent tartar (severe plaque) from building up.

Q: Pro-Expert costs an eye-watering £3.50 for a medium-sized 75ml tube, compared to £2.39 for a 100ml tube of Colgate Total Advanced and £2.59 for 50ml of Aquafresh’s Complete Care. Is it a question of the more money you spend, the better the toothpaste is?

GT: Not particularly. More specialist toothpastes, such as Sensodyne ones for sensitive teeth, tend to be more expensive. So it’s interesting that Oral-B should bring out an expensive one which claims to do everything well; Colgate Total makes similar claims but is much cheaper.

Q: What should you look for in a good toothpaste?

GT: Different patients require different toothpastes. For instance, if a patient has good dental health with no serious underlying problems then Colgate Total is often a good choice. The new Oral-B Pro Expert could also prove its worth for such patients. For patients with sensitive teeth, brands such as Sensodyne Pro Enamel might be better investments.

Q: Which is more important: toothbrush or toothpaste?

GT: They are both important but don’t forget technique – something which is so important. Brushing in the wrong way with the best toothpaste in the world won’t do much good. I see a lot of patients who are really conscientious about brushing their teeth but brush too vigorously; something which can damage the gums and the enamel. Sometimes the answer to this is to use a soft-bristled manual toothbrush which should be run under warm water to soften the bristles even further prior to washing. Always change your toothbrush when the bristles start to splay and harden. Electric toothbrushes are also excellent ways of getting the right brushing pressure.

Q: Advice about when you should brush your teeth seems to vary so much. So, when is the best time to brush your teeth?

GT: After an ordinary meal, it’s fine to brush soon after eating. However, if your teeth have been exposed to something acidic, for instance a glass of orange juice, it’s best to wait a while before brushing as your enamel will be quite vulnerable. Drinking a glass of water after drinking the orange juice can get rid of the acidity and make it safer to brush your teeth sooner. And there’s no mysterious science to how often you should brush your teeth – two to three times a day is essential!

Author: James Christie
Ethicare Dental is a dental practice in Wandsworth, London
http://www.ethicaredental.co.uk

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