A dental hygienist is going viral on TikTok after dropping a surprising truth bomb about toothpaste: It isn’t actually doing what you think it’s doing.
“Toothpaste doesn’t clean your teeth,” says Jessica Potter (@jesspotter_xx) at the start of her jaw-dropping video. “So stop spending so much money on it!”
If that statement has you scratching your head, you’re not alone. A lot of people in the comments were equally stunned, too. After all, what have we been doing all these years if toothpaste isn’t actually cleaning our teeth?
But as the video continues, Potter begins to explain the reasoning.
“I literally have patients that come in and have spent £7, £9 or even £10 ($9-12 in USD) on their toothpaste, and I’m like, ‘Why? They are all the same. Just get a cheap one,'” she says.
According to Potter, the ideal way to clean our teeth is to use an electric toothbrush, some floss and interdental brushes in between the teeth where the brush can’t reach. The main objective here is to remove any plaque build-up that might form on or between our teeth.
So why do we even have toothpaste, then? Apparently, its true function is less about cleaning our teeth and more about protecting them.
“The reason we have toothpaste is because it has fluoride in it,” says Potter, who explains that the naturally occurring mineral actually protects our teeth against both decay and acid erosion over time.
So, the most important thing to look for when shopping for a new tube of toothpaste isn’t whether it’s marked “special” or “new” or has some other cool-sounding perk. And the pricier it is means nothing about how “good” it actually is. Instead, the key is to make sure that it has enough fluoride in it by checking the back of the tube.
The recommended amount for anyone 12 years or older is 1,450 parts per million (or ppm) per tube. Sometimes, this is listed as one whole number and other times it’s split into two parts. But as long as the two numbers add up to 1,450, you should be covered.
Before the video ends, Potter drops another bit of dental wisdom you might not have heard before: Once you’re done brushing your teeth, just spit — but don’t rinse.
“Don’t rinse with water, don’t rinse with mouthwash,” she advises. “We want this fluoride to keep working for 30 minutes.”
Since sharing the TikTok, Potter’s video has received more than 1.2 millions of views. And, because of her slightly controversial advice, the comments just keep on coming.
“I will stick with my toothpaste,” one person said defensively.
“Girl some toothpaste are just terrible and hurts my teeth they ain’t all the same,” said another.
Meanwhile, a lot of others took issue with the whole “no rinsing” thing.
“I can’t not rinse… just can’t,” one person wrote.
“I feel like the bad breath won’t go away if I don’t rinse!” another added.
“The toothpaste stings my mouth if i don’t rinse,” said someone else.
To that, Potter chimed in to say that they should try buying an SLS-free toothpaste instead.
There were also a lot of people who also argued that they needed to buy “pricier” toothpaste because of their tooth sensitivity, crediting brands like Sensodyne with helping them.
To that, Potter clarified her advice.
“I’m talking about every day toothpaste,” she wrote in the comments. “if you need a specific one, then totally. So sensitive toothpastes are great if you have sensitivity.”
There was also a ton of pushback on fluoride in general, as many people said they’d heard it was toxic.
But as Potter responded to many of them, all the negative information swirling around about fluoride is based on myths.
In the end, a lot of people were thankful to the dental hygienist for sharing such practical advice that not many people know about.
“Thank you so much!!!” one commenter wrote. “Toothpaste has become ridiculously expensive. There’s no need!!!”
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