We’ve all been there.
Sitting in the dentist’s chair after months and months of diligent, careful brushing, only to hear those dreaded words.
“You have a cavity. Have you been brushing?”
Of course you’ve been brushing. Your poor toothbrush’s bristles are all falling out from the stress of trying to keep your smile cavity-free all by himself.
So, let’s get to the bottom of this case. Is the defendant, your toothbrush, really culpable for this cavity?
Exhibit A: Scrubbing That Gunk
Lest we be accused of being anti-toothbrush, let’s start with where the toothbrush truly excels: scrubbing away all that nasty gunk that builds up on your teeth over time.
That gunk is what dentists call plaque, and it’s basically a giant housing complex for harmful oral bacteria, including the kind that cause cavities. Your toothbrush is like a twice-daily wrecking ball, knocking that plaque down to rubble, which in turn keeps those bacteria focused on rebuilding instead of tearing apart your teeth.
So, as any dental professional worth their fluoride will tell you, your toothbrush does vital work for your smile that no other tool can replicate. Score one for the home team.
However, if a toothbrush a day was all you needed to keep the dentist away, then what’s the deal with those faithful brushers who keep getting cavities no matter how perfect their technique?
Exhibit B: Bringing a Brush to an Acid Fight
What most folks don’t know is that eliminating plaque, by itself, won’t prevent cavities. That’s because the real cause of cavities is tooth-dissolving acid.
The sad truth is that, exposing your pearly-whites to tooth-eroding acid is an inevitability. After all, one of the primary sources of oral acid is what we eat and drink, and we can’t exactly give that up for good.
So, unfortunately, The bad news is that your toothbrush is woefully under-equipped to deal with this acid during the most critical moments of damage. In fact, brushing right after your meals, snacks, and sodas may actually do more harm than nothing, as you’re just scrubbing this acid all around and into the nooks and crannies of your smile.
What’s more, the other primary source of acid is harmful oral bacteria, for whom a toothbrush is not so much an existential threat as it is a comfortable belly rub.
Exhibit C: Your Mouth’s Icky Villains
We spoke earlier about how plaque was the result of harmful oral bacteria. So, what happens to all that cavity-causing bacteria after you brush?
The answer is: not much. Most of them stick around in your mouth, getting right back to working building up those icky tooth sweaters. Some of them take a vacation on your toothbrush, relaxing until their return flight home right back into your mouth.
Unfortunately, most toothpastes simply aren’t designed to deal with this bacterial menace at all, and your toothbrush can’t do anything other than spread them around. This means that no matter how effectively you scrub away the plaque, the source of that gunk is still there, ready to get right back to work replacing it.
What’s the final score?
Your toothbrush is definitely a powerful tool for disrupting plaque formation and, thus, protecting your teeth from cavities. However, it’s clear from the evidence that a toothbrush is woefully inadequate all on its own.
So keep brushing. But your brush needs the kind of backup that can actually address cavity-causing bacteria and protect you against acid attacks in the moments you need it most.
That’s why we recommend Epic Gum, Mints & Toothpaste to soothe your bacterial ails. Unlike your toothbrush, Epic products are powered by xylitol, the all-natural sweetener that’s known to take the fight straight to the cavity-causing bacterial baddies plaguing your smile.