What We Think About The Recent Toothpaste Issue

If you are on Facebook and/or other Social Media I’m sure you have seen the article about some of the Crest Toothpastes you have grown to love or hate having small blue plastic particles in it that may be “harmful” to your oral health.

The article sparked when a Hygienist in Arizona began to notice all of these small blue particles in her patient’s gums.  Much like the photo below.

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Apparently the microbeads in the toothpaste, that I’m sure a lot of us thought were flavor bursts, were actually Polyethylene.  Polyethylene is a type of plastic that is safe per Proctor and Gamble (the makers of Crest Toothpaste) and the FDA.  The company decided to take out the ingredient due to the recent concern of it getting stuck in the space between your gums and tooth (the sulcus) which could in turn harbor bacteria that could lead to gingivitis or worse periodontal disease.

From our experience and when talking to our hygienists we have noticed some of these same blue dots but they are usually found on the outside of our patients gums, not embedded in them, and have been easily removed.  Should you quit using your favorite Crest toothpaste?  That’s up to you.  Our recommendation with your toothpaste – be sure it contains fluoride and avoid too many abrasives, sometimes less is more.

What are Dental Sealants Anyway?

A lot of us remember getting sealants as a child, but what are these so called sealants and why are they commonly recommended by dentists?

Sealants are thin, plastic coatings that flow over and seal off the grooves on the tops of your teeth, primarily your back teeth (molars and premolars).  They are great at decreasing your risk to develop a cavity since these teeth tend to have the deepest grooves and pits which are naturally more prone to getting tooth decay.  No matter how hard you try your toothbrush bristles can’t clean out these grooves and pits completely.

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Ideally we recommend children get sealants when their permanent molars come in since they are most prone to cavities between the ages of 6 and 14.  The sealants act as a protective coating that will shield your enamel from bacterial (aka: sugar bug) breakdown (ie: a cavity).  Children, however, are not the only patients we recommend get sealants.  In certain situations sealants are a great option for adults, especially those with really deep grooves or pits in their teeth.

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Hopefully, the mystical world of sealants has been uncovered for you and now you know why we recommend them! It’s important to have them checked at each hygiene visit to ensure they are still adhered to your teeth.