Bedtime and Biofilm: The Best Way to Clean Your Mouth

“Dentists are stunned at this prehistoric cure for cavities and gum disease” (lol)

Wow, when you think you have heard it all; the effectiveness of tooth brushing can be beat by one finger alone.

Our early ancestors had extraordinarily little to rely on when performing oral hygiene. Without access to toothbrushes or toothpaste, they used the best tools that they had which was the finger attached to the hand method. They rubbed their teeth with their fingers and perhaps sometimes added some ashes with charcoal form the fire nearby to the finger to make the brushing more effective.

Lo and behold a recent study has shown that that method was not only amazingly effective in reducing the ‘biofilm’ that cements bacteria to the teeth and tongue, but more effective than a plastic toothbrush and toothpaste!

So, what is biofilm. This is a layer of rubbery cement like material that bacteria secrete which glues bacteria to their environment. The biofilm is present in many locations including the ocean, in drainpipes and in the mouth. The thin layer of biofilm is fragile and easily disrupted by friction and pressure. When disrupted the anchor for bacteria is removed and the bacterial colonies are reduced in number. Biofilm regrows quickly so in 24 hours, it is about back to where it was originally and as a result, brushing needs to be performed every day. Bacteria flourish most rapidly in the absence of saliva, growing about 400% at night when the saliva flow is the least. As a result, pre bedtime tooth brushing is the most important brushing habit of the day to prevent cavities and gum disease.

A recent 2 day study compared different pre bedtime tooth brushing rituals: good old tooth brushing with toothpaste, finger rubbing with toothpaste, and finger rubbing with charcoal as methods of tooth and tongue cleaning.

What a surprise, the findings indicated that finger rubbing the teeth and tongue with charcoal was more effective in reducing bacterial populations than using a toothbrush to do the same thing.

Now the charcoal apparently was effective in absorbing numbers or bacteria present on the tongue and neutralized this reservoir of bacteria which causes bad breath and periodontal disease. For the study, the charcoal size was much smaller than the charcoal found in some toothpastes and therefore much less abrasive than those toothpastes or even regular toothpaste with fluoride.

So, no matter what the commercials say, if you are stuck leaving your toothbrush at home, rub away with some charcoal (if you have some) and rest assured just like your ancestors, that your daily ritual has been performed to a T!