"Rubbing toothpaste onto your teeth increases the fluoride protection by 400%," says Anna Nordström, dentist, PhD and researcher at the Sahlgrenska Academy at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden.
So, you tossed in your favorite mint toothpaste inside your bag but forgot to bring along your toothbrush? Worry not! Experts say rubbing toothpaste onto your teeth with your finger is just as effective as a third brushing.
Researchers at the University of Gothenburg's Sahlgrenska Academy (Sweden) have proceeded to the first scientific assessment of a “high-fluoride” over-the-counter toothpaste that was launched in Sweden thirteen years ago. This particular brand was aimed at those with elevated risk for dental caries.
Sixteen volunteers were tested with a variety of brushing techniques, using either standard toothpaste or the “high-fluoride” brand. Volunteers brushed their teeth two or three times a day.
Another method tested which involved massaging toothpaste onto the teeth with a finger proved equally as effective as a third brushing.
"This 'massage' method proved to be at least as effective as a third brushing in increasing the amount of fluoride in the mouth," Anna Nordström explains. "Rubbing the front of your teeth with toothpaste can be an easy way of giving your teeth a third "shot" of fluoride during the day, after lunch for example. But this should not replace brushing with a fluoride toothpaste morning and evening — it's an extra."
Tips from the researchers include:
- Use toothpaste at least twice a day, after breakfast and before going to bed.
- If necessary, brush a third time or rub on some toothpaste instead.
- If you have problems with cavities, choose toothpaste with higher fluoride content.
- Avoid rinsing out the toothpaste with water.