Swedish scientists have discovered a surprisingly effective way to keep dental decay away: Massaging your teeth with high-fluoride toothpaste after meals.
The technique, reported by researchers at the Sahlgrenska Academy at the University of Gothenburg, is four times as effective as standard brushing at avoiding cavities.
The findings, published in the Swedish medical journal Acta Odontologica Scandinavia, evaluated the benefits of tooth massage with a new brand of toothpaste with more than three times as much fluoride as standard toothpaste.
For the study, 16 volunteers tested a variety of brushing techniques, using either high-fluoride or standard toothpaste, and brushing either two or three times a day. "The study revealed that those who used a high-fluoride toothpaste three times a day had four times better fluoride protection in the mouth than those who used standard toothpaste twice a day," said researcher Anna Nordström.
They also tested the effectiveness of simply rubbing toothpaste onto the teeth with a finger. "This 'massage' method proved to be at least as effective as a third brushing in increasing the amount of fluoride in the mouth," Nordström said. "Rubbing toothpaste onto your teeth increases the fluoride protection by 400 percent."
Researchers noted brushing with fluoride toothpaste plays a major role in combating tooth decay. They advise:
• 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 a toothpaste with a higher fluoride content.
• Avoid rinsing out the toothpaste with water.