To blot or not to blot: that is the question.
June 29, 2014 9:34 AM   Subscribe

Has anyone tried cleaning their teeth with the Dr Phillips Blotting Technique?

As I'm well into middle-age, my gums have started receding in places and I also have a tendency to over-brush. Today I came across the Phillips Blotting Technique, which is meant to be more effective at removing plaque than normal brushing and so better for gum health. So, I have a number of questions for MeFites who have tried this technique.

1. How effective is it?

2. Do you have to buy the special brush or would any standard toothbrush work? (The blotting brushes look suspiciously like the '10 for £1' cheapies I've seen in the pound shop.)

3. Do you also brush your teeth and/or use mouthwash, or do you only blot?

4. If you had any gum problems before you began blotting, have they improved?

Any other information from tooth blotters about their experiences with this technique is welcome.
posted by essexjan to Health & Fitness (3 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
There do not seem to be any actual studies of the effectiveness of the technique, despite the fact that it would not be especially hard to do (using a plaque stain) and it seems to be promoted almost exclusively by people selling the "wicking" toothbrushes and on highly suspect "natural healing" type sites. That is a huge warning sign that you are in snake-oil territory.

Unless you are just looking for people to provide anecdotal evidence to rationalize your decision to try the technique, I'd say the lack of actual studies by actual dentists is pretty damning.

If you look hard enough, you will, I'm sure, find someone who claims that it's fantastic and works for them. But I think you would be unwise to change your oral care habits on that basis. If the technique was anywhere near as effective as its proponents claim it would be, there would be mention of it in scientific literature. There isn't. And claims of a conspiracy by 'big toothbrush' are pretty silly.

(However the claims that the woo-woo sites make about antiseptic mouthwash being unnecessary are basically true, as told to me by every dentist I've been to in the past decade or two. But there's lots of literature on that.)
posted by Kadin2048 at 11:10 AM on June 29, 2014 [12 favorites]

I haven't tried exactly this method but I did have a dentist who advised something similar. He said to put the tips of the bristles between two teeth and press, while moving the handle back and forth, while not actually brushing the teeth and gums. He said to do the same thing on the gums, to increase circulation. He explained that bacteria in the mouth need twelve to twenty-four hours to get themselves in order and turn into plaque, and if you disturb them, they'll have to start over again.

But he was clear that he expected patients to brush (gently) and floss. The pressing and massaging wouldn't be adequate, in his opinion.
posted by wryly at 11:47 AM on June 29, 2014

Phillips' Blotting Technique is the only proven dental hygiene method that actually removes it from the mouth

this is a pretty bold, and patently false statement, but really, any technique that requires one to spend more time brushing each tooth is going to be more effective than what most folks do, which is swipe the brush around for a few seconds and call it a day.

a toothbrush should work like a broom. the bristles should bend and sweep the plaque and food off of the teeth; not like a wire brush (too damaging). there is no substitute for flossing.

do these 2 things at least twice a day or after meals, eat healthy foods and see a dentist regularly and you should remain cavity free if you don't have decay already. if you have untreated decay you must fix it first or you are swimming upstream all the time.
posted by OHenryPacey at 11:35 AM on June 30, 2014

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