Toothpaste study ‘doesn’t tell the whole story’

Review questions its use in removing plaque

A Dublin periodontist has played down reports on a recent systematic review that suggests toothbrushing alone is as effective as using toothpaste in terms of plaque removal, saying it doesn’t tell the whole story.

Richard Lee Kin (pictured), whose specialist practice is limited to periodontology and implantology at the Mint Clinic, welcomed the public debate that the paper has prompted but insisted that clinicians need to be objective when reviewing the evidence.

The review paper’s findings, by a team of researchers from Amsterdam and published in the Journal of Clinical Periodontology, were consistent with previous studies but didn’t measure the efficacy of the active ingredients in toothpaste which offer several advantages.

These include the presence of fluoride which has significant and proven research.

Richard said: “While this paper is invaluable in progressing the discussion, further research is needed, particularly those that measure patient outcomes and long-term clinical end points, such as longevity.

He believed, from his position as a periodontist, that bio-film management was critical. “Toothpaste encourages plaque removal and my concerns would be that this type of publication could lead to a deterioration in oral hygiene care, particularly in the most vulnerable.

“I would continue to recommend toothpaste use during toothbrushing due to the many other beneficial properties and actions of toothpaste.”