Is Toothpaste Necessary When Brushing Your Teeth?

Brushing your teeth is an essential part of good oral hygiene and is crucial in maintaining your overall oral health. However, when it comes to toothpaste, many people are unsure if it is necessary or not. In fact, many believe that the chemical ingredients in toothpaste do more harm than good and are turning to natural alternatives to replace the white paste.

Toothpaste is strictly not necessary when brushing your teeth. However, it brings several benefits that can improve your oral health and minimize the chances of oral health diseases and complications such as cavities, periodontal diseases, and oral cancel.

In the rest of this article, we will explore the science behind toothpaste and discuss whether it is possible to maintain good oral health without it. Whether you’re a firm believer in toothpaste or are simply curious about alternative options, read on to learn more about the importance of toothpaste!

What Is in a Toothpaste?

Over the past few centuries, toothpaste have evolved from being a white, tooth powder made of ashes of ox hooves, burnt eggshells, and pumice, to being the thick, white paste that we all know today. Toothpaste now come in a variety of formulations and flavors depending on its intended use and user. That said, they all contain similar ingredient that are used as a base component.

Ingredients in a toothpaste | Source: Swipefile

Toothpaste typically contains abrasive agents which help to physically ‘scrap’ off plaque, food particles, and surface stains from teeth. The more commonly known abrasives are silica, calcium carbonate, and aluminium hydroxide.

Fluoride is another key ingredient in toothpaste, as it helps to strengthen the tooth enamel and prevent cavities. A small amount of humectant is also added to retain moisture and keep it gooey.

To create the foaming effect and allow the toothpaste to coat the teeth evenly, surfactants such as sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) is added. Flavoring and coloring agents like sorbitol and saccharin are added into the mix to give the toothpaste a pleasant taste and aesthetically pleasing look. Last but not least, preservatives like sodium benzoate are added to prevent the growth of bacteria and other microorganisms in the toothpaste.

As seen, there are numerous ingredients in a toothpaste, and these are all designed to clean your teeth, freshen your breath, and prevent tooth decay.

Is Toothpaste Necessary?

Toothpaste are not compulsory when brushing your teeth. This is because the toothbrush is the more important tool when it comes to brushing your teeth; the toothpaste only serve as an add-on to compliment your daily brushing.

In a study conducted on 129 patients who underwent ‘dry-brushing’, the results revealed a 63% drop in the buildup of plaque and a 55% reduction in the bleeding.

Adding on, there are many other options to remove plaque and freshen up your breath. For instance, mouthwash contain antiseptic ingredients that can not only kill harmful bacteria in your mouth but also freshen your breath. On the other hand, flossing helps to remove food particles and plaque between the teeth and along the gum line.

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That said, one cannot dismiss the benefits of toothpaste. As previously mentioned, the toothpaste is formulated with many ingredients to help remove plaque and freshen your breath. As a matter of fact, its benefits are greatly amplified by a toothbrush as the bristles act as a scrub, using the abrasive particles to dislodge the plaque from the surface of the teeth.

You may now wonder if there are other ways to clean and protect your pearly white teeth while avoiding the potentially harmful ingredients found in commercial brand toothpaste. However, many of these elements can be found in other household items such as baking soda, hydrogen peroxide, and even coconut oil. This means that to a certain extent, one can replicate the effect of a toothpaste using natural alternatives.

Will Brushing With Only Water Work?

In general, brushing with only water can help to remove some food particles and bacteria from your mouth, but it is not as effective as using a toothpaste. This is because the toothpaste contains ingredients that are designed to fight tooth decay, remove plaque, and kill harmful bacteria.

Brushing with water alone may not be enough to remove the stubborn plaque that are stuck to the surface of your teeth. This is especially if you consume sugary or acidic food and drinks regularly. If for any reason you are unable to use a toothpaste, brushing your teeth with water is still better.

To get the most out of brushing, make sure to brush thoroughly for at least two minutes, paying special attention to all surfaces of your teeth, including the front, back, and chewing surfaces. However, do not use a mouthwash to substitute water as most mouthwash contains a high level of alcohol. When left in the mouth for an extended period, mouthwash can cause a burning sensation in the gums and cheek and lead to mouth sores.


To conclude, while toothpaste is not strictly necessary when brushing your teeth, it offers several benefits that can enhance the effectiveness of brushing and help maintain good oral hygiene. Toothpaste can help prevent tooth decay, remove plaque and tartar, kill harmful bacteria, and freshen your breath. However, if you are unable to use a toothpaste, brushing with water still better than not brushing at all.

Regardless of whether you choose to use toothpaste or not, it’s crucial to brush your teeth at least twice a day, floss daily, and visit your dentists regularly. By taking care of your teeth and gums on a consistent basis will you be able to enjoy a healthy and beautiful smile!