If I had told you to use the tip of a cotton swab to polish the entire thing, yes, then I would have been sarcastic.
The simple thing about CDs and DVDs is that the upper layer is just transparant plastic intended for protection. A scratch that doesn't reach all the way down won't damage the stored data underneath, it only refracts the laser a bit. When it gets bad enough it will make the laser scanner misread some data.
Toothpaste has to be just about the milest polishing agent. Nobody wants to ruin their teeth after all. It will take a lot of time, but it gets the safest, best result.
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