found this on dentalplans.com, on the interwebs, so it must be true...
Brushing your teeth with a product designed to make your mouth feel fresh is a pleasure. But from a practical standpoint, that tasty paste is unnecessary. You can remove food debris and plaque from your teeth without using toothpaste.
Dental plaque is a sticky, colorless biofilm of bacteria and sugars that is constantly in the process of forming on our teeth. Dental plaque is acidic, and can break down tooth enamel and cause cavities to form. Plaque can also irritate your gums, causing gingivitis (red, swollen, bleeding gums), infections and eventually tooth loss.
Plaque is the primary cause of cavities and gum disease. If you don’t consistently remove plaque from your teeth it can harden into an even sticker substance called tartar, which provides a perfect environment for bacteria colonies to grow under your gums and on your teeth.
One of the best ways to control plaque is brushing your teeth thoroughly at least twice a day. But you don’t need toothpaste to do this, just a soft toothbrush and good brushing techniques will remove plaque. Flossing, limiting sugary food and drinks, and regular checkups and professional cleanings should keep your teeth in top shape.
Regular preventive care, including professional cleanings, definitely reduces the chance of serious dental health issues. Dental insurance often pays 100% of the cost of dental checkups, knowing that the investment in preventive care will enable the insurance company and its customers to avoid costly restorative treatments over time.