In a prior article we discussed Dirt tooth powder, an alternative to conventional toothpaste. Two other powders that are increasing in popularity recently are baking soda and charcoal. Do these actually have any benefits for oral hygiene? And what do our Sacramento dentists think should be the number one ingredient in toothpaste?
Charcoal on My Teeth?
Can something black brighten and whiten teeth? Tooth powders containing charcoal say they are an effective way to whiten teeth naturally. It is also stated by some that using charcoal toothpastes raises the pH in your mouth, thus neutralizing acids from foods and beverages. For example, one of these products claims: “[it] removes discoloration using activated carbon without abrading or bleaching — while boosting oral health.”
First off, no one should use straight charcoal from the Kingsford bag to brush their teeth. That would likely be abrasive and damaging to teeth and gums, not to mention taste pretty bad. In addition, people with veneers or other ceramic restorations should avoid using charcoal powder for toothbrushing, because small particles of charcoal can stain veneers and crowns. For that matter, charcoal deposits could easily stain any surface level crevice or pocket in the teeth.
So far, the only reviews of charcoal’s efficacy come from bloggers and the like, although charcoal use in tooth cleaning does go back to at least the Roman times, and using ash on the teeth likely goes back even further. Despite this, there are no studies to confirm any benefits from charcoal’s use on the teeth. Of course, wearing white while brushing your teeth with a black tooth powder could lead to serious stains on your clothing, so caveat emptor.
Straight Baking Soda
Baking soda may be an ingredient in some whitening toothpastes, but Emanuel Layliev, D.D.S and director of New York Center for Cosmetic Dentistry, says this about brushing with straight baking soda: “Although baking soda does help to remove plaque, it doesn’t kill any bacteria, and that can actually increase cavity formation in your teeth.” Straight baking soda is also more abrasive than charcoal. Still, it’s significantly less abrasive than silica, a common toothpaste ingredient. Nevertheless, the best solution may be a toothpaste containing baking powder and no silica, but also containing another essential ingredient.
The Important Toothpaste Ingredient
No matter what toothpaste you choose, whether it be a traditional brand or an alternative one, an important ingredient is fluoride, to support oral health and prevent cavities. The Sacramento Dentistry Group recommends using toothpastes containing fluoride and that have the American Dental Association Seal of Acceptance. And if it’s white teeth that you want, the fastest and easiest way to get whiter teeth is simply to come in for a single visit to our Sacramento cosmetic dentistry specialists. Ask us about our in-office whitening procedures, including Boost! whitening for patients wanting immediate results. Contact us today for a free consultation.