So let’s talk about toothpaste! (And please stay with me people – it gets pretty interesting, I promise.)
I was asked by Oral-B to trial their new Pro-Expert fluoride toothpaste (R35). It promises to protect your gums as well as your teeth and enamel against cavities, sensitivity, plaque and tartar. It also claims it’ll help whiten and freshen your breath.
Initially, I wasn’t especially excited about it. I mean, hey – the Aquafresh High Definition White I’ve been using costs almost half the price and promises to do much the same, right? Well, as it turns out, Oral-B is a little different in that it uses a stabilised form of fluoride – stannous fluoride – to work its magic. But more on that in a bit…
Each week Oral-B would check in to ask me questions. Did my teeth look whiter? Did they feel a bit let sensitive? Did my mouth feel cleaner? This was kind of awkward because I bleach the shizzle out of my teeth every few days or so with a Crest whitening strip and using their toothpaste never made me feel like I wanted to forgo that. Also, while my mouth did feel clean, it never felt any more so than I’d experience with any other brand. And I never really struggle with tooth sensitivity so ‘judging’ it’s efficacy was getting kind of awkward. On top of this, I didn’t have any way to measure if my teeth were any ‘stronger’. I mean, it’s not like I have a bone density scanner hanging out next to my toaster, you know?
Anyway, I was later flown up to Jozi for the launch where I got to learn more about the toothpaste but nothing I learned realllly sold me on it and I left feeling a little nervy about what I was going to write. That is until I popped into a dodgy Jamaican-themed bar in Woodstock and ran into my friend Leah who’s neighbour, Yvonne, is one of Cape Town’s coolest dentist.
Leah: ‘Ask Yvonne about that toothpaste!’
Me: ‘Nooo, I’m sure she doesn’t want to talk about work shizz.
Leah: ‘Yvonne! Yyyyvonnnnne! Leigh’s testing this new Oral-B toothpaste. Have you heard about it?’
I totally expected Yvonne’s eyes to glaze over but instead they lit up. ‘Pro-Expert? Yes, that’s actually a very good one…’
She then went on to explain the following which I’ve paraphrased for your dental hygiene reading pleasure:
There are two types of fluoride – amine fluoride and stannous fluoride. Nobody used the stannous type because, while it was good for teeth, it had a habit of turning them black or brown. Nasty stuff. However, Oral-B has found a way to stabilise it so now you can get all the good and none of the bad.
Me: Oh! So, do all the other toothpastes on the shelf use the amine type? And if amine is working, why bother with stannous?
Yvonne: Nope. Just about every other toothpaste you’re using is shit. It’s basically soap for teeth so it cleanses but then all the good stuff washes off and none of it clings to your teeth to protect them. This is why I use Elmex as it uses amine fluoride.
It was at this point where I wondered aloud why everybody else wasn’t using Elmex but it turns out its super hard to find in South Africa so Yvonne ends up importing her ‘cos she takes brushing her teeth as serious as a bloody heart attack.
Me: Okay. So what you’re saying is that the new Oral-B is actually a bit of a dental marvel and kind of like chalk and cheese when you compare it to other brands?
And that was that. I’ll now be tossing Oral-B Pro-Expert toothpaste into my trolley with a smile on my dial, price point be damned.