Everyone knows that daily toothbrushing is a crucial aspect of oral health. The question is: does it really matter what you brush your teeth with?
Not only there are different types of toothpaste; recently, toothpaste tablets have appeared on store shelves. Some tablet manufacturers claim that this product is better than regular paste, but to which extent is this true?
Let’s explore this topic in more detail.
What are toothpaste tablets?
Toothpaste tablets are an alternative to regular toothpaste. They are small chewable pills that dissolve when they come into contact with saliva or water.
To use these tablets, you just put one in your mouth, chew it and wait a few seconds until it starts to dissolve. Once wet, the tablets turn into a paste and then you can brush normally with a toothbrush.
What are the advantages of toothpaste tablets?
Since tablets are meant to do the same job as regular paste, you may be wondering if there’s any benefit to using them. Below are some advantages that you may want to consider.
1. An environmentally friendly option
Toothpaste tablets appeared in the market when environmental concerns began to play a key role in consumer purchasing decisions.
Traditional paste tubes are made of materials that can be very hard to recycle. The outer part of the tube is usually made of non-recyclable plastic, whereas the inside typically consists of some sort of metallic lining. In addition, it’s hard to separate the plastic from the metallic lining, which means many tubes are simply not recycled.
It’s estimated that every year, 1.5 billion tubes end up in landfills or in the ocean.
On the other hand, tablets can help reduce plastic pollution and waste issues, since they usually come in refillable glass jars or in recyclable plastic containers. When you need to buy a new batch, you just get a refill and dispose of the packaging in the appropriate recycle bin.
Tablets are made of a water-free formula, which means they’re perfect to take with you when you travel, as you won’t have to worry about liquid restrictions.
Also, because they only require a small amount of saliva to be brushable, they’re convenient to have around when you’re on the go and don’t have access to a tap.
3. Fewer harmful ingredients
The fact that these tablets are water-free also means they don’t need preservatives to keep their ingredients fresh.
Regular paste contains preservatives like parabens and SLS to increase their shelf life. However, these ingredients are known to cause allergic reactions in some people, and there’s some debate as to how toxic they really are.
This is not to say that tablets don’t contain any potentially harmful ingredients. Always read the label and if in doubt, as your dentist for an informed opinion.
Are there any downsides to toothpaste tablets?
1. They tend to be pricier
Tablets can be more expensive than regular toothpaste, although this of course depends on which brand you buy and how many people are in your household.
You should keep in mind that whereas you can buy family-sized toothpaste tubes that will last you months, tablets come in small jars that need to be replaced often.
2. A shorter shelf life
Because they don’t contain preservatives, tablets come in small amounts and have a shorter shelf life. The specifics vary from manufacturer to manufacturer, and shelf life will depend on the packaging.
To avoid running out without having a replacement, make a note of how long the first jar lasts you, and set a reminder to get refills on a regular basis.
3. May not suit people with certain oral conditions
As we have said earlier, tablets need a small amount of saliva to turn into a brushable paste. This could be a problem for people affected by dry mouth or for those who produce little saliva due to medical conditions.
To recap: Are toothpaste tablets better than regular toothpaste?
This will largely depend on your habits and lifestyle. Generally speaking, tablets are more appealing to people who prefer sustainable products that have little impact on the environment. So if you’re an eco-conscious consumer, tablets may be a better choice.
For some people it may take time to get used to the presentation and formula of dental tablets, so they may prefer regular toothpaste.
When it comes to their cleaning and plaque-removing ability, some toothpaste manufacturers claim that tablets aren’t very efficient. However, the claim has not been proven, since there’s little research either way.
It’s also been said that their water-free formula makes tablets more abrasive. In some cases, enamel damage may occur if tablets aren’t used as intended (for example if they’re not chewed or dissolved prior to brushing). And remember that brushing technique and the type of toothbrush you use also matter when it comes to enamel abrasion.
On that note, researchers have concluded that their abrasion potential is not significant.
To sum up, tablets can do a good job of removing plaque, preventing cavities, and keeping your gums healthy if you follow the instructions, eat healthy, and have a consistent oral hygiene routine.
In some cases, tablets may not be the best option, so before making any changes to your dental care products, make sure to have a chat with your dentist.