Toothbrush, oral rinses, dental floss, supplements and probiotics, everything is recommended for what concerns the health of the oral cavity and gums. But what are the effective methods to protect against gingivitis and tooth decay? A review that appeared a few days ago in the Journal of the International Academy of Periodontology and written by an American team from the University of Buffalo tries to clarify this topic (Volman et al, J Int Acad Periodontol, 2021).
Researchers at the University of Buffalo have collected the results of previous studies to understand which methods commonly recommended and used for oral hygiene are really able to prevent plaque, tooth decay and gingivitis. Being able to understand this is really noteworthy, considering that gingivitis is a condition that affects half of adults over 30 and that, if not properly treated, can lead to bleeding of the gums, infections and weakening of the teeth and finally tooth loss. But let's see the results of this study.
Methods and remedies that actually protect teeth and gums
First and foremost, as we might have expected, brushing your teeth is essential to prevent periodontal disease. Along with this, the combination with water picks and the use of dental floss has proven to be the best and most effective tool to counteract gingivitis. On the other hand, the electric toothbrush is no more effective than the regular toothbrush for combating plaque, cavities and gingivitis. Some types of oral rinses have also been shown to fight dental plaque and gingivitis. In particular, rinses based on essential oils such as thyme, eucalyptus, mint and birch have proved to be powerful allies for oral health. You can make a DIY mouthwash using these essential oils. In 100ml of water add 3 drops of each essential oil, then use to rinse your mouth. In addition, the article notes that even rinses based on some synthetic disinfectants such as chlorhexidine and cetylpyridinium chloride or CPC can be considered useful against plaque and gingivitis.
Here are the remedies, whose effectiveness has not yet been fully proven
The intake of probiotics has shown promise in terms of protecting the health of the mouth and gums, although few studies have yet been dedicated to the subject. Likewise, rinses with green tea and tea tree, while they have been shown to be useful in the prevention of gingivitis, still have little evidence to support them.
What to avoid
Finally, the researchers analyzed the action of triclosan, an antibacterial contained in numerous oral hygiene products. What emerged is that triclosan is indeed capable of significantly reducing plaque and gingivitis. However, it is suspected that the compound is carcinogenic and that it can alter the reproductive system, which is why it is good to avoid this substance.