When it comes to cleaning, you typically have multiple options. When you're doing laundry, you can use liquid detergent or powder. When you're showering, you can use body wash or a bar of soap. When you brush your teeth, you can reach for a tube of toothpaste or a jar of tooth powder.
You read that right — you can use tooth powder. While tubes of toothpaste might dominate the dental care aisle at the store, tooth powder is another option. But how does it stack up to toothpaste?
Tooth Powder vs. Toothpaste
If you glance at the ingredients list on a tube of toothpaste and the ingredients list on a jar of tooth powder, you're likely going to see some similarities. Both toothpaste and tooth powder typically contain flavors (like mint), detergents (like sodium laurel sulfate) and abrasives (like silica).
You're also likely to find fluoride in both toothpaste and tooth powder. Fluoride is a mineral that helps strengthen your teeth and protect them from decay. Although a toothpaste or powder needs to contain fluoride to get the seal of approval from theAmerican Dental Association, not every product contains it.
There are a few differences when it comes to what's in toothpaste and tooth powder. Toothpastes often have thickeners and humectants, which keep them from becoming crumbly. Since tooth powders are dry, they don't need humectants. Some tooth powders also contain ingredients such as charcoal, clay or herbs, which are thought to provide additional whitening or cleaning.
You might not find tooth powder at every retailer, but you can easily find it online. Some people make homemade tooth powder, though it's worth noting that a manufactured powder will provide cavity-fighting fluoride.
How to Use Tooth Powder
You can use either tooth power or toothpaste when you brush your teeth. The major difference is how you apply the product to your toothbrush. To use tooth powder, you moisten the toothbrush under water and then shake the tooth powder over the bristles of your toothbrush. Once you have a small amount of powder coating the bristles, brush your teeth as normal with short back and forth movements, holding the brush at a 45-degree angle to your teeth.
Remember to always supervise children who are brushing their teeth, whether they use paste or powder.
Are you going to get cleaner, whiter teeth with toothpaste or a tooth powder? So far, there have only been a few small studies that compare the effectiveness of toothpaste vs. tooth powder.
One study published in the International Journal of Health Sciences tested the effectiveness of toothpaste and tooth powder regarding stain removal on the teeth. Out of the individuals who participated in the study, those who used powder had fewer stains than those who used toothpaste.
Another study published in the Compendium of Continuing Education in Dentistry compared how successfully toothpaste and tooth powder removed plaque and reduced gingivitis. The study concluded that tooth powder removed plaque and controlled gingivitis more effectively than toothpaste.
Now that you've learned about tooth powder vs. toothpaste, should you switch your product of choice? If you're happy with the results you're getting from toothpaste, there's no reason to switch. If you feel there's room to improve your oral health routine, your dentist can help you choose products that will get you the results you're seeking.