Dental Wipes: What They Are And Why They Will Never Replace Your Toothbrush

Dental wipes are not only ineffective at whitening teeth, but they can damage enamel and gums if not used properly. / @jorgejimeneztorresv / dpa
According Oral Surgeon Dentist Dr. Jorge Ortiz Class they won’t be a replacement to the toothbrush no matter how fashionable they are and emphasizes the importance of proper brushing warning against the use of dental wipes as an insufficient substitute since “they’re not effective because you can’t clean them in the first place.”
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Dental wipes promise to go viral due to their convenience and quick use, but they can pose a risk to oral health. Oral hygiene is something that is taken for granted. Brushing your teeth is the main piece and is something everyone knows. Or at least that’s what we thought until dental wipes appeared on the scene . Just by its name you can think about how simple it must be to use if you have as a reference the rest of the wipes for different uses that are known. But all that glitters is not gold.

This is stated by Oral Surgeon Dentist Dr. Jorge Ortiz Class, who emphasizes the importance of proper brushing and warns against the use of dental wipes as an insufficient substitute: “what they say is that with these wipes you can maintain adequate daily hygiene and that is not true. “They’re not effective because you can’t clean them in the first place.”

And he adds: «On a dental level, for example, only the wipe cannot get between the teeth , so it cannot replace dental floss or the oral irrigator. On the other hand, you cannot replace brushing either because with the wipes you cannot get well into the grooves of the molars or teeth . They are deep grooves that can only be cleaned with bristles or filaments that are as fine as possible for easier access. Of course, hygiene is very weak and cannot replace brushing or flossing at any time,” he confirms.

But before going into the benefits and harms that this 21st century invention may have for oral health, we must understand what exactly the dental wipes that have become fashionable are.

These are a type of gauze , like those used to clean jewelry or glasses, which are impregnated with certain liquids. Some of them say that they are whitening, but logically the dose they can apply is not proven by the dental community. In this sense, there are some that are not effective for whitening because the dose does not arrive and others are excessive and are not controlled, so the sale of these products in Europe is absolutely illegal,” warns the specialist.

“That is, some do not whiten and promise whitening and what others can do is not only damage the enamel, but can affect the surrounding gums ,” he adds.

He also says that some of these wipes are partly composed of a dose of hydrogen peroxide, with all that this entails: “Those that are formulated with hydrogen peroxide are too abrasive and may have the risk of causing irritation of the mucous membranes, gum, they can even cause necrosis of the papillae . “If someone uses them frequently, they can damage the tissue irreversibly.”

Furthermore, if they are used as a substitute for brushing or any part of dental cleaning, they can cause plaque formation and the appearance of gum disease , the doctor points out. That is, the one in which the gums are more sensitive than normal, inflamed and bleed very easily due to bacteria. It also warns of cavities.

But it is not a question of demonizing (all) dental wipes either. You just have to avoid those that contain an excessive dose of hydrogen peroxide. In addition, Ortiz Class says that they can be used but always as a complementary part of daily cleaning with dental floss, irrigator and tooth brushing  (in that order).

First, you have to use dental floss to clean the gaps between your teeth. Afterwards, I would recommend using an oral irrigator, which is like an electric toothbrush that sprays water under pressure. It cleans very well and also stimulates the gums because it gives a little massage. This makes them smoother and healthier. The next thing would be brushing your teeth with a toothbrush, and we also have to clean the tongue with a tongue cleaner. And the last thing would be the application of the wipes to, in some way, finish polishing.

Brushing, for its part, is recommended to be done with an electric brush : “The revolutions make it pass the same place many more times, so it cleans better and in less time. And on the other hand, normally the heads of electric toothbrushes tend to be smaller, so they reach the most inaccessible areas, the last molars, the back of the molars more easily than traditional manual toothbrushes,” he explains.

And it doesn’t matter if you have sensitive gums, because, as Ortiz Class confirms, there are many types of brush heads and different bristle hardnesses. In addition, today’s electric toothbrushes allow you to regulate the pressure and intensity, so they can be used even after surgery.

Although they can be used, the doctor does not declare himself a fan of wipes, and recommends the use of gum instead : “The real benefits of these wipes are so minimal that I would not even recommend them,” he points out. “You clean much better than with wipes,” he adds.

Furthermore, in terms of comfort, which is one of the aspects for which these wipes have become famous, it gives compelling reasons to opt for chewing gum and not wipes when you don’t have a brush on hand. of teeth, much less dental floss and irrigator: Gum is something easy to carry in case you don’t have time to brush, but it gives a sensation of freshness and cleans the dental surfaces. In fact, it is much more convenient because it is easier to use at any time, since for wipes you have to go to the bathroom to use them.

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