Dr.Hauschka Med

Natural or conventional? The best way to clean our teeth.

What should a toothpaste contain to ensure that our teeth are kept as healthy as possible? Do I need fluoride or various protective systems to help fend off plaque, tooth decay and so on? And is cleaning alone enough? Just a few of the questions we put to our expert, Hans Dieter Schwertfeger.

Dr.Hauschka Med: It is often said that if teeth are kept clean, they’ll stay healthy. But every one of us has been to the dentist at one time or another with caries or other complaints. Is our oral hygiene so poor?

Dr. med. dent. Hans Dieter Schwertfeger: Most dental disease really can be prevented by good oral hygiene. However, we must also recognise that the tooth is part of a larger organism, and its health therefore depends on the health of the whole person – for example on good nutrition.

What do I need to pay attention to when brushing my teeth?

It is important to use the right technique. Furthermore, one should also take care not to overdo dental hygiene.

Do you mean it’s possible to brush your teeth too much?

In a certain sense, yes. Some people have thin tooth-bearing alveolar bones covered with thin mucosal tissue. When these people brush too hard, their gums may recede. This exposes the tooth necks, which is often painful. In cases such as these, the patient should use a very soft toothbrush, a special brushing method and a mild toothpaste without tensides.

Aren’t tensides essential for toothpastes?

In conventional toothpastes, tensides are used to help distribute cleaning and active substances throughout the mouth. However, as tensides also irritate the skin and can damage the gums, it is better to do without them and to clean your teeth thoroughly instead – ideally using dental floss and interdental brushes as well.

Earlier you mentioned good nutrition. How important is this for healthy teeth?

Very. Poor diet can manifest itself in gum diseases such as periodontitis, which is also a metabolic disorder. But lack of a daily rhythm and eating too quickly can also have negative effects on the vitality of our entire body – and therefore on our teeth. The condition of our teeth is a reflection of how well we take care of our overall health.

Is it important to use toothpaste that contains fluoride?

That has to be decided on a case-to-case basis. If you have amalgam fillings in your mouth, you should avoid toothpastes that contain fluoride because it can dissolve the mercury in the fillings. Especially in the case of children, one must be careful when administering fluoride. It stimulates bone-forming cells; excessive doses can cause bones to harden, thereby hampering the growth process. On the other hand, I sometimes advise patients who have very soft teeth to use products that contain fluoride for a while – but in a potentised form. In this case, I highly recommend extract of horse chestnut bark (Aesculus hippocastanum). This is very effective in maintaining a healthy balance in the saliva. The result is a better environment for the teeth, which become more stable and less prone to disease. This extract, which is listed as aesculin, can only be found in certain natural toothpastes.